Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[News article] mHealth still untapped resource for docs

From the 18 April article at Healthcare IT news

mHealth still untapped resource for docs
People cite privacy concerns for lack of adoption

For the most part, providers are still wary over the mHealth movement. And this caution just might be preventing them from big care improvement opportunities, say the findings of a new study.

The study, commissioned by mobile professional services firm Mobiquity, finds some 70 percent of consumers use mobile apps every day to track physical activity and calorie intake, but only 40 percent share that information with their doctor.

[See also: mHealth market scales to new heights.]

Privacy concerns and the need for a doctor’s recommendation are the two factors hindering the use of mobile and fitness apps for mHealth reasons, say officials with the Boston-based Mobiquity, which produced “Get Mobile, Get Healthy: The Appification of Health and Fitness.”

That, officials said, means the healthcare community has to take a more active role in promoting these types of apps and uses.

“Our study shows there’s a huge opportunity for medical professionals, pharmaceutical companies and health organizations to use mobile to drive positive behavior change and, as a result, better patient outcomes,” said Scott Snyder, Mobiquity’s president and chief strategy officer, in a press release. “The gap will be closed by those who design mobile health solutions that are indispensable and laser-focused on users’ goals, and that carefully balance data collection with user control and privacy.”

[See also: FCC creates mHealth task force.]

The study, conducted between March 5 and 11, focused on 1,000 consumers who use or plan to use health and fitness mobile apps.

According to the study:

  • 34 percent of mobile health and fitness app users say they would use their apps more often if their doctor recommended it
  • 61 percent say privacy concerns are hindering their adoption of mobile apps. Other concerns include time investment (24 percent), uncertainty on how to start (9 percent) and not wanting to know about health issues (6 percent).
  • 73 percent said they are more healthy because they use a smartphone and apps to track health and fitness
  • 53 percent discovered, through an app, that they were eating more calories than they realized
  • 63 percent intend to continue or increase their mobile health tracking over the next five years
  • 55 percent plan to try wearable devices like pedometers, wristbands or smartwatches
  • Using a smartphone to track health and fitness is more important than using the phone for social networking (69 percent), shopping (68 percent), listening to music (60 percent) or even making/receiving phone calls (30 percent).

“We believe 2014 is the year that mobile health will make the leap from early adopters to mainstream,” Mobiquity officials said in their introduction to the survey. “The writing is on the wall: from early rumors about a native health-tracking app in the next version of Apple’s iPhone operating system to speculation that Apple will finally launch the much-anticipated iWatch, joining Google, Samsung and Pebble in the race to own the emerging wearables market.”

[See also: Realizing the mHealth promise.]

 

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May 6, 2014 Posted by | health care | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Physicians discuss willingness to write prescriptions for health apps

From the 18th January 2014 at Scope (published by Stanford Medicine)

By   

health_appsThe mobile health market is rapidly growing, and it’s estimated that within five years 50 percent of mobile device users will have downloaded mobile health apps. While past surveys haveshown that patients are eager for doctors to recommend such apps, it remains unclear if physicians feel comfortable prescribing them.

Over on MedPage Today, writer Kristina Fiore explores the potential of physicians prescribing health apps, such as BlueStar, which is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and helps patients monitor diabetes. Several of the clinicians contacted for the story said they are open to the idea, assuming that patients are comfortable using the app and that data shows the app to be effective. From the article:

Sue Kirkman, MD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said a prescription app could be helpful, but its usefulness may be limited in that the patients “who want the app and are willing to enter data and respond to prompts may already be the more proactive ones.”

Kirkman added that she hopes potential insurer reimbursement for apps opens the door wider to support of reimbursement for self-management tools such as contact with diabetes educators.

“Right now, pretty much only face-to-face visits are covered, not the ongoing contacts by phone, fax, email, etc., that are really needed to help someone sustain behavior changes and self-manage their diabetes optimally,” she said.

Previously: Text message reminders shown effective in boosting flu shot rates among pregnant womenTexts may help people with diabetes manage care, Why physicians should consider patients’ privacy before recommending health, fitness apps and Designing a mobile app to help patients and doctors identify personalized food triggers
Photo by Intel Free Press

Will Docs Write Rx for Apps?[Medpage Today]

Doctors can now write scripts for the first prescription-only app — but the question remains whether they’ll pick up a prescription pad to write for mobile technology.

The app, BlueStar, is a tracker for patients with diabetes. It analyzes logged blood glucose data and offers advice based on trends it detects — such as telling patients to adjust their diets based on sugar levels after meals. Clinicians also receive a report on their patients’ progress.

Parent company WellDoc just won $20 million in venture financing for the app, and the company has a track record of success with online disease management tools and applications. WellDoc’s argument is that better blood sugar control will lead to better patients outcomes, and, thus, less spending on healthcare in the long run.
   Read entire article here

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January 21, 2014 Posted by | Consumer Health, health care | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Improving Health Care through Mobile Medical Devices and Sensors

From the 22 October 2013 Brookings Report

Health care access, affordability, and quality are problems all around the world and large numbers of individuals do not receive the quality care that they need. Mobile technology offers ways to help with these challenges. Through mobile health applications, sensors, medical devices, and remote patient monitoring products, there are avenues through which health care delivery can be improved. These technologies can help lower costs by facilitating the delivery of care, and connecting people to their health care providers. Applications allow both patients and providers to have access to reference materials, lab tests, and medical records using mobile devices.

Complex mobile health applications help in areas such as training for health care workers, the management of chronic disease, and monitoring of critical health indicators. They enable easy to use access to tools like calorie counters, prescription reminders, appointment notices, medical references, and physician or hospital locators. These applications empower patients and health providers proactively to address medical conditions, through near real-time monitoring and treatment, no matter the location of the patient or health provider.

In this paper, part of the Mobile Economy Project, Darrell West looks at specific applications and inventions, and discuss how mobile is transforming health care in the United States and around the world. He argues that mobile health helps frontline health workers and health care providers extend their reach and interactions – enabling them to be more efficient and effective in their provision of medical assistance. And in the conclusion, West recommends several steps that will speed the adoption of mobile technology in health care.

  • Policymakers should encourage the use of mobile devices for health care. Moving to electronic systems for service delivery will save money, improve access, and provide higher levels of quality in both developed and developing nations.
  • Nearly three-quarters of medical expenditures takes place on a small number of chronic illnesses including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and asthma. We should encourage the use of mobile systems that monitor patient symptoms and provide real-time advice on treatment and medication because they have the potential to control costs, reduce errors, and improve patients’ experiences.
  • We should work to remove barriers to adoption of mobile applications that aid in chronic disease management and make these tools much more widely available.
  • With growing knowledge about diseases, genetics, and pharmaceutical products, the practice of medicine has become far more complicated. Health providers need access to as much accurate data as they can get on how to treat various ailments.
  • One of the barriers to cost containment and quality service delivery has been the continued reliance in many locales on paper-based medical systems. In a digital world, one cannot imagine a costlier way to run a health care system.
  • On the issue of government regulation, the FDA has finalized its guidance on how mobile applications and regulated mobile medical devices are to be treated in an effort to clarify some of the ambiguities and help further innovation. Having clear rules that encourage desirable behavior is the best way to move forward in mobile health.

Editor’s Note: This paper is released in tandem with the panel discussion: The Modernization of Health Care through Mobile Technology and Medical Monitoring Devices on October 22, 2013.

 

October 23, 2013 Posted by | health care | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mobile Healthcare Information For All

Janice Flahiff:

This is one noble cause!  However, I think that education should go hand in hand with this.
It is one thing to have access to healthcare information. Another thing to understand and be able to use information.

Still, I am hoping that telecoms get on board, and give back to their communities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally posted on Soumyadeep B:

exclusive HIFA 2015 – the global NGO aiming to make a world where no one is dying due to lack of knowledge has come up with a a smart goal to achieve it.

It wants that  “By 2015, at least one telecoms provider, in at least one country, will endorse the vision of Healthcare Information For All, and will provide free access to essential healthcare knowledge in the local language, pre loaded on all new mobile phones they may sell and freely downloadable to all those who already have a mobile phone.”

The idea called as the mHIFA smart goal is specifically “concerned with the health information needs of citizens, parents and children, in recognition of the huge (and largely unrealized) potential of mobile phones to meet basic healthcare information needs of citizens, parents and children. ”

It builds up on the concept that in in low and middle income countries the top…

View original 84 more words

July 31, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, health care | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Future of Healthcare is Already at Your Fingertips [INFOGRAPHIC]

From the 8 August 2012 post at Mashable Lifestyle

The mobile healthcare industry has made significant strides within the healthcare provider community. Rock Health found 75% of small and medium size medical and dental offices will purchase tablets within the next year. And almost 40% of physicians use medical apps on a daily basis.

The digital healthcare field is also alleviating the costs of patientcare and increasing the scale at which doctors and nurses can help people. The healthcare industry is already strained, Ziegler says, and a shortage of primary care physicians in years to come will only exacerbate the problem. She says mobile apps can bridge that gap.

But patients have been slower to realize the impact apps could have, Ziegler says, potentially because the apps force people to take notice of their health.

“No one wants to actively track what they are always doing, so we really want to make the experience passive,” she told us, adding, they are working to make tech and apps that “provide incentives for people to manage health more efficiently.”

Consumers are also generally unaware of how quickly the space of mobile health is growing, David Tao, Chief Research Officer at Greatist, tells Mashable. He says once consumers realize the vast industry already accessible, more consumers will begin utilizing the products.

“Mobile health isn’t a replacement for healthcare, it’s a supplement,” Tao says. “These companies aren’t replacing doctors’ keen eye or experience, but the apps are just bettering communication between doctor and patient.”

Related Resources

  • Health and Wellness Information and Tracking Apps (Flahiff’s Health/Medical Resources site)
  • Health and Fitness Tracking Apps (Flahiff’s Health/Medical Resource site)
  • And these may be helpful when selecting health apps
    • How to Choose A Better Health App (by LEXANDER V. PROKHOROV, MD, PHD  at KevinMD.com on August 8, 2011) contains advice in the following areas
    • Set realistic expectations
    • Avoid apps that promise too much
    • Research the developers
    • Choose apps that use techniques you’ve heard of
    • See what other users say
    • Test apps before committing
  • iMedical apps has mobile medical app reviews and commentary by medical professionals. Most apps are about  apps geared toward professionals and are not free.
  • The iMedical app forum now includes a medical librarian corner, with some patient/consumer apps
  • Evaluating Health/Medical Information
    • The Penn State Medical Center Library has a great guide to evaluate health information on the Internet.
      • The tips include
        • Remember, anyone can publish information on the internet!
        • If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
        • If the Web site is primarily about selling a product, the information may be worth checking from another source.
        • Look for who is publishing the information and their education, credentials, and if they are connected with a trusted coporation, university or agency.
        • Check to see how current the information is.
        • Check for accuracy. Does the Web site refer to specific studies or organizations?
    • The Family Caregiver Alliance has a Web page entitled Evaluating Medical Research Findings and Clinical Trials Topics include
        • General Guidelines for Evaluating Medical Research
        • Getting Information from the Web
        • Talking with your Health Care Provider
    • Additional Resources
    • And a Rumor Control site of Note (in addition to Quackwatch)
      • National Council Against Health Fraud  National Council Against Health Fraud is a nonprofit health agency fousing on health misinformation, fruad, and quackery as public health problems. Links to publications, position papers and more.

October 30, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

NINIH-funded study examines use of mobile technology to improve diet and activity behavior

From the May National Institutes of Health (NIH) press release

A new study, supported in part by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health, suggests that a combination of mobile technology and remote coaching holds promise in encouraging healthier eating and physical activity behavior in adults. The study focused on the best way to change multiple health behaviors.

The study results will appear Monday, May 28, in the Archives of Internal Medicine, with an accompanying commentary authored by William Riley, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and program director for the NHLBI.

Scientists from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, along with colleagues from other institutions, studied 204 overweight and obese adults. Prior to enrollment, participants had a diet high in saturated fat and low in fruits and vegetables. They also engaged in little daily physical activity and had high amounts of sedentary leisure time.

Each participant was assigned to one of four groups:

  • Increase fruit and vegetable intake and increase time in moderate/vigorous physical activity
  • Increase fruit and vegetable intake and reduce time in sedentary leisure activities
  • Decrease fat intake and increase time in moderate/vigorous physical activity
  • Decrease fat intake and decrease time in sedentary leisure activities

All participants received mobile devices and were trained on entering information about their daily activities and eating patterns. Coaches studied the data received and then phoned or emailed participants to encourage and support healthy changes during the three-week study. Participants were also asked to continue to track and submit their data over a 20-week follow-up period. Financial incentives for reaching study goals during the study and continuing participation during the follow-up period were offered.

All four groups showed improvements in reaching the assigned health goals, with the most striking results occurring in the group asked to increase fruit and vegetable intake and reduce sedentary leisure activities. The researchers found after 20 weeks of follow up that this group’s average daily servings of fruits and vegetables increased from 1.2 to 2.9; their average minutes per day of sedentary leisure activity dropped from 219.2 to 125.7; and the percentage of saturated fat in their daily calories went from 12 to 9.9.

In his commentary, Riley noted that the use of mobile technology to improve cardiovascular health is worth further study of the effects on health outcomes and costs. Mobile technology offers the chance to deliver key health messages without waiting for intermittent visits with health care providers, he said.

June 4, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, health care | , , , | Leave a comment

[Report] Mobile Social and Fun Games for Health – Summary with Links to Examples of Games

Illustration of the Amazing Food Detective

From the Web site The Incredible Adventures of the Amazing Food Detective  – a free online health game about how to eat right and exercise sponsored by Kaiser Permamente thrive

The report Mobile Social and Fun Games for Health, free through registration, is sponsored by  mobi health news research.

While it focuses on industry trends, it does give some good overviews of how the public views and uses social media and health gaming.

Some insights from the report

  • “Game designer Jane McGonigal argues in her recent book, Reality is Broken, that “games are already improving the quality of our daily lives, fighting social problems such as depression and obesity, and addressing vital twenty-first-century challenges.” McGonigal believes that gamers “will be able to leverage the collaborative and motivational power of games in their own lives, communities, and businesses” to change the world. “
  • There is a growing clinical trial evidence base that shows that games can improve players’ health behaviors and outcomes in areas such as addiction control, healthy eating, physical activity, physical therapy, cognitive therapy, smoking cessation, cancer treatment adherence, asthma self-management and diabetes self- management.
  • “Kaiser Innovation Center’s Dr. Yan Chow  [states] “game thinking gives people permission to fail, and that is new and important in healthcare.” “
  • “The provider community is in need of better educational tools to improve efficiency and lower costs. Care providers of all stripes are interested in employing new ways to help patients understand their diseases and regimens to help them better take care of themselves. to new technology, they see a pressing need to identify and market a new suite of offerings that will function together to improve health outcomes. “
  • The report gives examples of two companies which use multidisciplinary teams to develop and market games.
  •  Tw0 of some examples of games for health in development

“Beating Heart,” which “introduces heart health to young adults by letting them get their heart rate when they touch their iPhone and also allowing them to share this information with friends.” scientists, exercise scientists and physicians working together,” Patrick said. “No one discipline owns more than a minority share.”

“The Magic Carpet” game where the harder the user blows into their phone, the more an interactive magic carpet pictured on the user’s phone moves.

  • Some examples of health games now availableMindbloom – Grow the Health You Want  [uses]a tree metaphor to represent the different branches of a person’s life — health, relationships, lifestyle, leisure, finances, spirituality, creativity and career. Users focus on making small meaningful changes to improve the quality of their lives. There are five elements that drive consumer engagement within this game

    MeYou Health—everyday wellbeing with small actions using community support

    “MeYou Health promotes everyday wellbeing by  encouraging small actions and fostering social ties that drive meaningful behavior change. Daily Challenge is the application that encourages users to take small, achievable steps toward healthy living every day. Getting started only takes a few minutes. Once you sign up, you get an email at 7 am to do one small task, across a wide range of wellbeing domains, from physical activity to eating well to emotional health and more. Feedback includes social proof of action from your personal connections.

    OneRecovery is an online support network for individuals in recovery from alcoholism, drug abuse and eating disorders.  It is a place for members to share stories, work on their recovery and mutually support one another in real time.  The web and mobile program combines social networking technology, game mechanics and evidence-based clinical principals to support sustained engagement and behavior change.

    Vive Coach – A  corporate wellness application.Vivecoach team wellness challenges combine the convenience of mobility, the power of community and the appeal of gaming to get employees excited about doing something good about their health.  Vivecoach challenges include step count competitions, weight loss challenges, and exercise challenges that may appeal to large groups. They also include smaller group or niche challenges called “Cold Turkey” challenges focused on giving up things like soda, sweets, junk- food, or cigarettes. Challenges for flossing and sleeping have also been used. Vivecoach encourages the company administrators or any employee to create new challenges.

    The Amazing Food Detective: Based on a skit developed internally at Kaiser and then produced by an outside game designer, the game utilizes eight short mysteries and 24 fun arcade mind-games. Kids play the role of detectives fighting childhood obesity.Escape from Diab is a sci-fi adventure and video game developed to prevent kids from becoming obese and developing related illnesses as diabetes.”Medical device developers are looking at gaming elements to bring deeper customer engagement with their products to increase sales.”

January 7, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Education (General Public), Nutrition | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five Ways mHealth Can Decrease Hospital Readmissions by David Lee Scher, MD

Five Ways mHealth Can Decrease Hospital Readmissions   by Dr. David Lee Scher

From the column…

Patients who are discharged from the hospital after a heart attack, congestive heart failure, or pneumonia have high rates of short-term readmissions. As per a provision in the Affordable Care Act, a Medicare patient with one of these diagnoses who is readmitted within 30 days for the same will trigger a denial of reimbursement for the subsequent admission.  There are many things which need to change to limit these events, though not all readmissions can be prevented, as nothing in medicine is absolute.  Identification and intensive interventions (inpatient and post-discharge) with high risk patients, better communication/care coordination, discharge processes, and patient education have been shown to produce results.  I would make a case for mHealth to become an integral part of all these components of a multi-faceted solution . here are a few ways that mHealth may be incorporated in the process:

  1. The use of bioinformatics to determine the patient’s low, moderate, or high risk of readmission can be put into a hospital app to be shared among members of a multidisciplinary transitional team, which will formulate a discharge and post-discharge plan based on this data, while rounding on the patient daily….

...Click here to read the entire article

Related articles

 

Related Resources

  • Get Mobilized! An introduction to mobile resources and tools in health sciences libraries (Medical Library Association)

    Archived 2011 online class including “lecture notes”, resources, class discussions, and related slides/videos

  • Health Apps (in Health and Medical News and Resources selected by Janice Flahiff)
    a short list of information and tracking apps derived from the above Get Mobilized class

December 17, 2011 Posted by | health care | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

mHealth Moving Fast, Raising Hope, And Questions

mhealth summit logo

mHealth Moving Fast, Raising Hope, And Questions 

From the 6 December 2011 blog item by Elsevier Global Medical News

Hopes, ideas, and hundreds of apps, are floating in the hallways during the third annual mHealth [Mobile Health] Summit***, marking the beginnings of a field that is still in its infancy and carries with it more questions than answers.

The federal government is pushing mHealth, launching programs like theHealthy Apps Challenge, which Dr. Regina Benjamin, the U.S. Surgeon General, introduced in her keynote speech. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, introduced the SmokeFreeTXT program, a text messaging service that helps teens quit smoking. Ms. Sebelius has also established theText4Health Task Force last year to look at other uses of texting in promoting healthy behavior.

“As our phones get more powerful, they are becoming our primary tools for doing everything from getting directions to deciding where to eat, Ms. Sebelius said during her keynote speech on Monday.  “And increasingly, that includes using our phones to track, manage, and improve our health.  In the iTunes store alone, there are nearly 12,000 different apps related to health – a number that will probably have gone up by the time I finish speaking.”…

…we sometimes come away from a conference, such as this week’smHealth Summit, with the feeling that the only ones making a living with mHealth are conference organizers. Maybe it was the format…That being said, however, the mHealth Summit, now in its third year, is the best conference one can attend in the US if one wants to get the global pulse on all things mHealth.

That is not to say they are no advances occurring here in the US. One of the keynote speakers, cardiologist Eric Topol, gave several live demos during his talk of the mHealth tools he is already using including stating that he has not used a stethoscope in two years, instead preferring to use mobisante’s ultrasound wand and iPhone App.  Then there was our conversation with WellDoc’s CTO who informed us that they are currently being deployed at a number of institutions and hope to have a host of CPT codes that doctors can bill against in late 2012. And there was the small start-up we spoke with who has done the hard work of first identifying what the value proposition is for all stakeholders in a community (payers, providers and consumers) and then developed an extremely compelling solution (think analytics & automated quality reporting, tied to reimbursement, tied to consumer engagement) that has a lot of promise in a market where physicians’ pay will increasingly be based on outcomes and ability to meet pre-defined quality metrics…

…Addendum:
For a slightly different take, check out the post by VC firm Psilos’ Managing Partner Lisa Suennen’s. Well worth the read.

Read the entire news item with a link to a video interview

Press releases may be found here

mHealth Summit 2011 – Videos Available


Related Resources

  • Get Mobilized! An introduction to mobile resources and tools in health sciences libraries (Medical Library Association)

    Archived 2011 online class including “lecture notes”, resources, class discussions, and related slides/videos

  • Health Apps (in Health and Medical News and Resources selected by Janice Flahiff)
    a short list of information and tracking apps derived from the above Get Mobilized class

***”The largest event of its kind, the 3rd annual mHealth Summit brings together leaders in government, the private sector, industry, academia, providers and not-for-profit organizations from across the mHealth ecosystem to advance collaboration in the use of wireless technology to improve health outcomes in the United States and abroad.”

December 7, 2011 Posted by | health care | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Study: 26 percent are mobile health users

From the 19 November 2011 mobilehealth article

Tags:  |  |  |  |

 

iTriageiTriage: One of the relatively few health apps that boasts millions of users.

 

Some 26 percent of US adults used their mobile phones to access health information in the past year, according to a new Cybercitizen Health study by Manhattan Research. The number has nearly doubled from the 12 percent reported in 2010.

According to the study, looking up health information or reading health-related news remains the most popular mobile health activity. The survey polled 8,745 adults online and via phone during the third quarter of 2011.

Another interesting metric: 8 percent of consumers used prescription drug refill or reminder services on their mobile phones, up from 3 percent in 2011.

“Growth in mobile health is impressive, but still in line with our and several health stakeholders’ expectations,” stated Monique Levy, VP of Research at Manhattan Research in a press release. “The interesting part is when, how and from where mobile phones are being used. Getting these details will impact the success of mobile investments in 2011 and 2012.”

While not specifically mobile-related, worth noting that the report found some 56 million US consumers had accessed their medical information on an electronic health record (EHR) system maintained by their physician, with an additional 41 million expressing interest in doing so in the future.

November 13, 2011 Posted by | Health News Items | , , | Leave a comment

   

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