Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Reblog] Cancer Tracking Goes Mobile – Free UMSkinCheck Mobile App

[Reblog from Taubman Health Science Center Newsblog]

Cancer Tracking Goes Mobile

July 12, 2012 by irinazey

The sun is definitely shining brightly outside – do you know how your skin is affected?

University of Michigan Medical School and University of Michigan Health System have developed a free app to photograph your skin and monitor any suspicious moles or lesions in an effort to make skin cancer screening cheaper, faster, and more convenient for the average person.

Screenshots from UMSkinCheck

Under the supervision of lead developer Dr.  Michael Sabel, UMSkinCheck walks you through a full-body skin self-exam, lets you track moles/lesions for change over time, and set up notification reminders for recurring self-exams. It also comes loaded with information on sun safety and a risk calculator to help determine individual risk based on personalized data.

Read the full story from UMHS here or download the app free from the iTunes storehere.

On a related note, from A blog I follow ,As Our Parent Age- Timely Topics for Adult Children

“Yet another friend has skin cancer. She always used sun blocking lotions, but also enjoyed staying out in the sun for long periods. (I have her permission to write this much.)
My friend tells me that she now understands that sun blocks, no matter how effective or powerful, are only one piece of a skin protection puzzle. Staying out of direct sunlight during the the most intense times of the day is another large puzzle piece.”

This is a good blog to follow, I can’t express it any better than what the author states on the about page

 “As Our Parents Age is my effort to record the experiences of loving and living with aging parents, but it is also a vehicle to help my husband and me understand and learn more about aging parent caregiving. I am highlighting interesting issues, identifying high quality web resources, and sharing memories. Other posts are on topics that my husband and I would have liked to know more about at the beginning of our foray into the aging child – aging parent phase of life.”

July 14, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Best Time For A Coffee Break? There’s An App For That

From the 16 February 2012 Medical News Today article

Caffeinated drinks such as coffee and soda are the pick-me-ups of choice for many people, but too much caffeine can cause nervousness and sleep problems.

Caffeine Zone software app developed by Penn State researchers, can help people determine when caffeine may give them a mental boost and when it could hurt their sleep patterns. The software takes information on caffeine use and integrates it with information on the effects of caffeine to produce a graph of how the caffeine will affect the users over time. …

The app is available on iTunes for free with advertisements and for purchase without ads. It only works on Apple devices – the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
Penn State

 

For information on how to select health apps (with links to select health apps), please visit my Health Apps Web page

February 18, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Finding Aids/Directories | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Study: For Now, Web-Based Healthcare Tools [and Possibly Health Apps] Are Mostly Ineffective [With Links to Reviewed Health Apps For All]]

Health apps designed for the general population have potential in tracking health indicators (as food eaten, glucose levels) and also  communicating information and support among users. For example, Spark People  provides answers from dietitians & fitness trainers on message boards. One may connect with other members in support teams.

While it is very easy to find Health apps (iTunes, I believe,  is the largest supplier), it is very challenging to find easy to use apps that have been professionally reviewed.  The article below highlights one drawback of most present web-based healthcare tools- usability. It seems highly likely, that by extension, that health care apps are largely lacking in usability also.

Here are a few resources I used to create short lists of reputable easy to use health apps.

  • Hasman, Linda An Introduction to Consumer Health Apps for the iPhone Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet2011 Oct-Dec, 15(4):322-329.  “The 19 apps listed in this article are culled from approximately 350,000 total apps”.
     [Article available by subscription only,  I got this (for free!) through the interlibrary loan dept at my local library, it contains about 19 good sites, some I will add to my health apps page]
  • iMedicalapps – Medical Librarians corner iMedicalapps includes medical app reviews and commentary by medical professionals
    The Medical Librarians corner included these great resources

Study: For Now, Web-Based Healthcare Tools Are Mostly Ineffective

From the 13 January 2012 ReadWriteWeb column

study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association accents the limits of web-based health management tools that are currently available.

Researchers focused specifically on tools for managing diabetes, but the drawbacks could extend to other tools designed to help patients do everything from lose weight to quit smoking. The study concluded that “despite their abundance, few practical web-accessible tools exist.” In many case, the tools suffered from poor design that made them difficult to use….

….Of the 92 web tools analyzed in the study, 60% had three or more usability errors, included limited use of visual interaction and navigation that was not intuitive. Just 6% had no usability errors..

..The study recommended companies offering such tools work on improving attrition, standardizing quality indicators and making indicators transparent for patients and doctors choosing the best web-based tool.

“Web-based tools have the potential to improve health outcomes and complement healthcare delivery, but their full potential is hindered by limited knowledge about their effectiveness, high prevalence of usability errors and high attrition rates,” Yu wrote….

One of the biggest problems facing web-based health tools is patients often use them inconsistently.

January 25, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , | Leave a comment

App Store – Winter Survival Kit

App Store – Winter Survival Kit (iTunes free download)

 

Description

The Winter Survival Kit app can be as critical as a physical winter survival kit if you find yourself stuck or stranded in severe winter weather conditions. This app will help you find your current location, call 911, notify your friends and family, calculate how long you can run your engine to keep warm and stay safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.

You can use the Winter Survival Kit app to store important phone and policy numbers for insurance or roadside assistance. You also can designate emergency contacts you want to alert when you become stranded.

If you become stranded, the Winter Survival Kit app will help you determine your geographic location and contact emergency services. The app’s “gas calculator” will help you estimate how long you can run your engine on your remaining fuel.

Winter Survival Kit will alert you every 30 minutes to remind you to periodically turn off your engine and to check your exhaust pipe for snow buildup. These alerts are critical in helping you avoid deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.

Winter Survival Kit also provides NDSU Extension Service information on how to put together a physical winter survival kit and prepare your vehicle for winter driving, and how to stay safe when stranded in a winter storm.Description

The Winter Survival Kit app can be as critical as a physical winter survival kit if you find yourself stuck or stranded in severe winter weather conditions. This app will help you find your current location, call 911, notify your friends and family, calculate how long you can run your engine to keep warm and stay safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.

You can use the Winter Survival Kit app to store important phone and policy numbers for insurance or roadside assistance. You also can designate emergency contacts you want to alert when you become stranded.

If you become stranded, the Winter Survival Kit app will help you determine your geographic location and contact emergency services. The app’s “gas calculator” will help you estimate how long you can run your engine on your remaining fuel.

Winter Survival Kit will alert you every 30 minutes to remind you to periodically turn off your engine and to check your exhaust pipe for snow buildup. These alerts are critical in helping you avoid deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.

Winter Survival Kit also provides NDSU Extension Service information on how to put together a physical winter survival kit and prepare your vehicle for winter driving, and how to stay safe when stranded in a winter storm.

January 15, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NIH Radio – National Institutes of Health (NIH) – good info when on the go or in a waiting room

Something to consider when waiting in the doctor’s office or elsewhere, or just in the mood to listen to health news at home or on the go…..

NIH Radio – National Institutes of Health (NIH)

From the description

NIH radio is a 24-hour audio news service designed to provide broadcast radio stations and networks, as well as podcasters and the public with the latest information about NIH research findings, highlights of press conferences, and health campaigns.

NIH Radio has three distinct audio programs, each with different formats and styles for various audiences and uses. They are available in script and MP3 audio format online, and can be heard via telephone.

[NIH Radio is also on Facebook , Twitter, and also through a listing of all NIH newsletters and feeds 

Need RealPlayer? It’s here and free]

“NIH Research Radio” Podcasts

Listen to “NIH Research Radio” Podcasts online
or dial 301-276-3384 and press 3 for the most recent podcast.

Posted on our site and on iTunes every other Friday, each “NIH Research Radio” podcast contains a news summary, two or three audio reports, plus an extra, in-depth interview. Each episode is designed for a general audience and is exactly 25 minutes long, making it “broadcast ready” for radio or streaming.

NIH Audio Reports

Listen to NIH Audio Reports online
or dial 301-276-3384 and press 2 for the latest Audio Report.

NIH audio reports are short-form, news stories posted roughly twice a week. Each report is usually based on a current press release and typically contains a selection of soundbites from NIH experts. They are one to four minutes long and health-related. They can be broadcast as is, or can be used as source material for journalistic purposes.

NIH “Health Matters” 60-Second Spots

Listen to this month’s series of NIH “Health Matters”
or dial 301-276-3384 and press 1 for today’s feature.

Once a month a series of generic, consumer-oriented stories are posted; one 60-seccond feature, complete with expert soundbite, for every weekday of the month. Each report is “broadcast ready” for radio outlets across the country to use in their local news and information programming. The NIH Radio phone line is updated each weekday with a current “Health Matters” feature.

NIH Radio is a reliable, trusted radio news service that produces hundreds of audio reports, has been posting podcasts since 2006, has distributed broadcast edits to thousands of radio outlets and has an estimated audience of more than 78 million listeners per year.

Recent podcasts include

Episode #0149 (MP3 – 00:24:59, 23.4 MB)
December 16, 2011 

  • News Update
  • NIH study finds broad spectrum of cancer risk for organ transplant recipients in US
  • Intestinal stem cells respond to food by supersizing the gut
  • Discussing your family health history during family holiday gatherings
  • Women in Science

Transcript - Episode #0148

Recent Audio Reports include

Recent 60 second spots include

December 27, 2011 Posted by | Health Education (General Public) | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Apple Makes Finding Medical Apps for Professional A Little Easier

From the Krafty Librarian post Apple Makes Finding Medical Apps for Professional A Little Easier.

According mobihealthnews, Apple quietly launched a new section on the AppStore directed just towards healthcare professionals.  The section which was referred to as an “iTunes Room for Healthcare,” has apps for both the iPhone and iPad intended specifically for healthcare professionals. (There appears to be about a dozen apps that are also for consumer use.)

Not only will this section be dedicated to apps for healthcare professionals but it will also internal categorization as well.  There are six categories for the medical apps: reference, educational, EMR and patient monitoring, imaging, point of care, and personal care (for consumers).  Mobihealthnews thinks that the “personal care” apps may have been included “as a means to help care providers recommend popular health apps to their patients.”

Finally!!!!!  That medical/health section had a lot of junk apps that people had to sift through to find good stuff, it is nice to see this professional section come about. My only question is how/who is adding and vetting the apps?  I hope it isn’t a free for all where app developers can just add their app if they feel like (meaning we could return to problem of chaff out numbering the wheat) but I would like it to be open enough that something that was good but accidentally left out or something newly created could be easily added.

November 16, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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