Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Reblog] Could mHealth Apps Be a Reprise of the EHR? The Need For Clinician Input

From the 14 February 2014 item at The Health Care Blog

……

“…. many app developers have little or no formal medical training and do not involve clinicians in the development process and may therefore be unaware of patient safety issues raised by inappropriate app content or functioning.”

Without the insights of seasoned real-world doctors and nurses, apps could end up with the same safety issues that are plaguing electronic health records, many of which were also developed with little regard to physician or nurse input.

In other words, just because it’s a “health” app doesn’t mean its necessarily so.

February 15, 2015 Posted by | health care | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How mobile is transforming healthcare: Report

Immediately thought of my Liberian FB friends, a nurse and dean at a community college, a healthcare screener upcountry in a small town (my Peace Corps site back in 1980/81), and a Methodist deacon (one of my former students). All went above and beyond the call of duty during the Ebola crisis.
Back in 2009 I participated in a service project group in Liberia. Was taken aback by noticing that at least half of those over 18 seemed to have cell phones. Believed this was quite good. The roads overall are pretty bad, unpaved, and nearly impassible during the 3 month rainy season. So the cell phones really keep people connected, and relay information well. I get rather irked when I read comments (FB, editorials, etc) that say poor people should not have cell phones. Well, I strongly disagree, overall I believe they save money (think transportation costs for many information needs at the least!). How arrogant for some of “the haves” to believe “the have nots” are not using their scarce resources wisely.
Not sure what I can do to advance mobile health in Liberia, but I will do what I can.
Thanks for posting this, I have forwarded this to my Liberian FB friends. Most likely stuff they already know. The deacon obtained his PhD in theology in DC, the nurse/deacon is very aware of technology, and the healthcare screener is from Nigeria and has a good education and is very much a world citizen.

ScienceRoll

The Economist came up with a report about How mobile is transforming healthcare including infographics and analyses. You can download the report here.

According to a new survey, mobile technology has the potential to profoundly reshape the healthcare industry, altering how care is delivered and received.

Executives in both the public and private sector predict that new mobile devices and services will allow people to be more proactive in attending to their health and well-being.

These technologies promise to improve outcomes and cut costs, and make care more accessible to communities that are currently underserved. Mobile health could also facilitate medical innovation by enabling scientists to harness the power of big data on a large scale.

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February 7, 2015 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[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

[Press release] In search of a few good apps

In search of a few good apps.

New JAMA article suggests review and certification process for mHealth apps

BOSTON–While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released guidelines for the regulation of mobile health (mHealth) apps that act as medical devices or as accessories to medical devices, the vast majority of mHealth apps remain unregulated and unevaluated. In a Viewpoint article, “In Search of a Few Good Apps”, published in JAMA on March 24, 214, co-authors, David Bates, MD and Adam Landman, MD of Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Adam Powell, PhD, president of Payer+Provider Syndicate, call for the creation of mHealth (mobile health) app review and certification organizations to evaluate apps that are not regulated by the government.

“This article gives health care providers, patients, policymakers and mHealth app developers a perspective on how the issue of determining which apps are most useful might be addressed,” said Bates, who is Chief Quality Officer at BWH and chaired the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) Workgroup that made recommendations to the government about regulation of HIT and mobile apps. “Establishing an unbiased review and certification process is a key step in helping mHealth apps achieve their potential.”

The concept for this Viewpoint article was conceived by Landman and Powell after discussing their mutual concern about the lack of oversight over the accuracy, quality, and security of mHealth apps at the BWH Hackathon, an event sponsored by BWH’s Innovation Hub (iHub).

“Dr. Powell and I examined numerous mHealth apps and it was difficult to assess app credibility,” said Landman, Chief Medical Information Officer for Health Information Innovation and Integration and an emergency medicine physician at BWH. “The currently available reviews of mHealth apps have largely focused on personal impressions, rather than evidence-based, unbiased assessments of clinical performance and data security. With more rigorous certification criteria and unbiased accrediting bodies, both clinicians and consumers could be more confident in their selection and use of mHealth apps.”

In the article, authors describe the potential for multiple organizations to be created that could review and objectively certify mHealth apps for quality, accuracy, security and safety, similar to the role that Health On the Net Foundation (HON), a non-profit, non-governmental organization, plays in evaluating the quality of online medical content.

“People are increasingly turning to their smartphones for assistance in improving their health, but are having difficulty determining which apps are the securest and most effective. We hope that our article will instigate action that will enable clinicians and patients to make more effective use of mHealth apps,” said Powell, lead author of the article. “We foresee a potential future in which physicians will be able to confidently prescribe apps to their patient, and will have the tools that they need to interpret the resulting data. The establishment of an unbiased app certification and review process will play a key role in getting us there.”

 

Related articles

Wellocracy aims to help trackers choose and use health apps and devices

 

Related Resources

Free and low cost Health Apps sources include

And these may be helpful when selecting health apps

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

  • iMedical apps has mobile medical app reviews and commentary by medical professionals. Most apps are about apps geared toward professionals and are not free.

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March 28, 2014 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , , | 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

Wellocracy aims to help trackers choose and use health apps and devices

From the 25 October 2012 blog post by Patrick J. Skerrett, Executive Editor, Harvard Health

Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 8.27.09 AM

Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 8.30.10 AMScreen Shot 2013-10-26 at 8.31.14 AM

There’s something satisfying about getting immediate feedback about exercise, sleep, and other activities. That’s why more and more people are joining the “quantified-self” movement. It involves formal tracking of health and habits, usually using apps and devices that feed data to them—from heart rate, activity, and sleep monitors to Bluetooth connected scales. I haven’t yet become a full-fledged member, partly because having so many apps and connected devices on the market makes it hard to decide which ones are worth trying.

I’m hoping that Wellocracy will help. This website, launched by the Harvard-affiliatedCenter for Connected Health, aims to give people like me impartial information about fitness trackers, mobile health apps, and other self-help technologies.

Wellocracy lists dozens of sleep trackers, wearable activity trackers, mobile running apps, and mobile pedometer apps, each with a mini-review and a “what we wish it had” listing. The site lets you compare apps and devices in each of the four categories. The compare feature isn’t yet as helpful as those from Consumer Health Reports, but that may be coming.

The site also provides a guide for beginners like me, and offers tips for adding activity “bursts” throughout the day.

“There are millions of people struggling to eat well, exercise, manage a chronic disease or decrease other health risks. Wellocracy will help them select and use digital health tools, understand their individual motivations, and make incremental lifestyle changes that can easily be incorporated into busy schedules,” said Wellocracy founder, Dr. Joseph C. Kvedar, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School.

One theme the site promotes is “stickiness.” That means finding motivational strategies, apps, and devices that help you stay on track to achieve your goals. You can calculate your “stickiness factor” on the website.

Maybe the information on Wellocracy is enough to nudge me from contemplation to action.

Related Resources

 

 

These may be helpful when selecting health apps

 

  • 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

 

 

October 26, 2013 Posted by | Health Education (General Public) | , , , , | 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

Let’s help patients with the tradeoffs in medicine

Hillary Clinton Health care elderly

Hillary Clinton Health care elderly (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

mHealth and mobile heath technologies are all the rage these days. (See my previous post,The Future of Healthcare is Already at Your Fingertips [INFOGRAPHIC]

 

While mobile devices are useful in diagnosing and gathering information (as tracking devices), it is probably best to use them wisely and not let them distract you from all life has to offer.

 

 

 

From the 27 October 2012 article at Kevin MD.com

 

…we need to consider our own tradeoffs as researchers and practitioners when talking about health communication and engaging everyone in their own health. The tradeoff for aiming to engage people more and more is that we run the risk of overwhelming people.

Some of us are like e-Patient Dave: we want full access to all of our data, and, indeed, we should have it. But as someone living with chronic autoimmune illnesses and immersed in a never-ending data stream of self-tracking, monitoring, and constant, moment-to-moment tradeoffs, I acknowledge that I don’t always want to be engaged. I already spend plenty of time dealing with my health data, and sometimes, I would rather find a new hike to do with my kids this weekend than upload more data or peruse more graphs.

In short, let’s help people choose between the butter and the butter money in smart ways, and on their terms.

[Read the entire article here, “butter and butter money” is more or less the translation of a French saying…akin to having cake and eating it too]

Found this comment to be succinct and on target

 

carolynthomas • 20 hours ago

 

Merci bien, Prof Witteman. Despite BuzzKillerSmith’s odd comment here, it seems to me that you have hit upon a critically important link between reality and wishful thinking, between homeowners and your father-in-law contractor, between both patient and physician. (And if these tradeoffs were being as effectively addressed in day-to-day health care as BKS seems to believe, we wouldn’t have stent-happy cardiologists implanting all those unnecessary stents, would we now?)

Your quote “designing for the way people are, not the way we wish they were” seems especially appropriate in the discussion of health care and emerging technology. When I attended Stanford University’s ‘Medicine X’ conference last month, I was astounded by the number of young, tech-savvy “Quantified Self” proponents gushing over The Next Big Thing in health care technology – particularly all those self-tracking smartphone apps. (I shouldn’t have been astounded – we were in the epicentre of Silicon Valley, after all!) Completely missing was any insight from the health tech startups onstage that the demographic most likely to “need” this kind of technology (especially older users living with multiple chronic diseases) is clearly the group least likely to actually use it.[My emphasis] More on this at: “When The Elephant In The Room Has No Smartphone” – http://myheartsisters.org/2012…

So the tradeoffs in emerging health technology are, just as you are doing in both your career and in your diagnosis, to respect the fine line between what’s out there and what we need to do.

 

 

 

 

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

Self-Tracking May Become Key Element of Personalized Medicine

 

Allan Bailey

Allan Bailey brought his type 2 diabetes under control for the first time by using a continuous glucose monitor.

 

From the 5 October 2012 article at UCSF News Center

A steady stream of new apps and devices that can be synced to ever-more sophisticated mobile phones is flowing into consumers’ hands, and this technology is revolutionizing the practice of self-tracking, in which individuals measure and collect personal data to improve their heath.

Self-trackers are using these tools to monitor sleep, food intake, exercise, blood sugar and other physiological states and behaviors. In some cases, they are using the data to identify what triggers or worsens flare-ups of chronic health disorders on their own, or with the help of an online community. In others, patients are even working together with physicians and scientists to conduct experiments, pooling their data for analysis that may shed light on the cause or best treatment for their disease.

This phenomenon was explored at a Sept. 28 symposium at Stanford University, where attendees and presenters — including two UCSF physicians — asserted not only that self-tracking can help patients to improve their lives, but also that self-tracking has the potential to change medical practice and the relationship between patients and their health care providers. The event was part of Medicine X 2012, a three-day conference on social media and information technology’s potential impact on medicine..

Already 60 percent of U.S. adults are tracking their weight, diet or exercise routine; one-third of adults are tracking some other indicator or symptom, such as blood sugar, blood pressure, headaches or sleep patterns; and one-third of caregivers are monitoring health indicators for loved ones, Fox said…

..

Self-tracking may not be for everyone, Abramson said, but it may be especially helpful for those who are diagnosed with medical problems for which conventional treatment typically offers little benefit; for those with symptoms and syndromes that are not adequately diagnosed through conventional medicine; for those who want to change their behavior; for those who want to identify environmental, dietary, contextual or social contributors to their symptoms; or for those who simply want to be more involved in their own health care.

 

 

October 10, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Now Indians Can Compare Prices of Branded Drugs on Mobile Phones

 

Now Indians Can Compare Prices of Branded Drugs on Mobile Phones

From the 19 July article at Digitial Medicine

Consumer mHealth is here. There has been a spurt of entrepreneurship in this field and some Indian phone/ mobile based start-ups have been launched over the past couple of years. Mainly, they have been services meant to connect healthcare consumers with doctors via phone (like Ask a Doctor from Vodafone, Mediphone by Religare technologies,  Dial UR Doctor  and Mera Doctor). Most of these tools are voice based and sometimes don’t even fit the rigid definitions of mHealth. Further, they are all healthcare professional specific and have pointedly ignored patients in any decision making process.

Not that all mHealth projects in India are in the private sector. The government of India has also been active in harnessing the reach of mobile phones in the country with some projects in Public health like in ensuring treatment compliance in DOTS Program and in healthcare reporting at grass roots level. …

..

The latest mHealth project by the government of India looks to strike at the alleged root of costly medical care : the widely variable costs of branded drugs. The Indian government has taken the initiative to use simple messaging services (SMS) to educate the public on drug prices.

Here is how it works: Once the person sends a text message of the prescribed brand of drug to a particular number from his mobile, he will receive two to three options of the same medicine, along with the price differential. Say, a patient is prescribed a popular anti-infective like Augmentin (GlaxoSmithKline). He types in Augmentin and sends the SMS to the designated number. He would get a return SMS, possibly mentioning Moxikind CV (Mankind), which is substantially cheaper. But sources said that all responses would come with a caution: please consult the doctor before popping the alternative (pill).

 

September 17, 2012 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , | 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

Global Observatory for eHealth – World Health Organization Initiative

From the WHO Global Observatory for eHealth Web site

eHealth is the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for health. It is recognised as one of the most rapidly growing areas in health today….

…[in 2005] WHO launched the Global Observatory for eHealth (GOe), an initiative dedicated to the study of eHealth—its evolution and impact on health in countries.

Mission and objectives

The Observatory’s mission is to improve health by providing Member States with strategic information and guidance on effective practices and standards in eHealth.

Its objectives are to:

  • provide relevant, timely, and high-quality evidence and information to support national governments and international bodies in improving policy, practice, and management of eHealth;
  • increase awareness and commitment of governments and the private sector to invest in, promote, and advance eHealth;
  • generate knowledge that will significantly contribute to the improvement of health through the use of ICT; and
  • disseminate research findings through publications on key eHealth research topics as a reference for governments and policy-makers.

 

Accomplishments of the observatory so far…

Safety and security on the Internet: challenges and advances in Member States

Safety and security on the Internet Challenges and advances in Member States

mHealth: New horizons for health through mobile technologies

mHealth

Telemedicine – Opportunities and developments in Member States

Telemedicine – Opportunities and developments in Member States

 

December 14, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | 2 Comments

Ten Facts about Mobile Broadband

Michael Philip O'Malley - Smartphone in hand.

Great summary by Darrell M. West, Vice President and Director, Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution.

Here’s just one of the facts… (others topics  include  their outnumbering of personal computers next year, increase in overall use by Americans, job creation, reshaping of education, political engagement, public safety, and disparity reduction)

 

7. Mobile Helps Patients and Health Care Providers

Health care today is dominated by physicians, hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry, insurance companies, and government agencies. Patients seek to navigate their health care by moving across a variety of providers, ordering prescription drugs from pharmacies, and seeking reimbursement from either public or private insurance plans. They spend hours connecting the dots and working out the best health care for themselves and their families.

Imagine a different system where, with the aid of the Internet, electronic medical records, and smartphones, the patient is in charge.[xviii] People monitor their own weight, blood pressure, pulse, and sugar levels, and send test results via remote devices to health care providers. Patients store their medical records online and have access regardless of where they are in the United States or around the world. They get personalized feedback via e-mail and reminders when they gain weight, have an uptick on their cholesterol levels, don’t take their medicine, or have high blood pressure. Social networking sites provide discussion forums and the benefit of collective experience from other people suffering similar problems. Patients take responsibility for their routine health care and rely on physicians and hospitals for more serious medical conditions.

This system is not a futuristic vision, but is within our grasp. It would cut costs by reducing professional responsibility for routine tasks and record-keeping, while also making it possible for patients to receive higher quality care and be more satisfied with the end-result. The technologies for this kind of system transformation currently are available through cell phones, mobile broadband, remote monitoring devices, video conferencing, and the Internet.

Smartphones offer advanced features such as mobile e-mail, web browsing, and wireless communications. The sophistication of these devices has spawned a variety of new medical applications that help doctors and patients stay in touch and monitor health care needs.

For example, there is a mobile application that allows physicians to get test results on their mobile device. They can look at blood pressure records over time, see an electro-cardiogram, or monitor a fetal heart rate. AirStrip Technologies markets an application that makes it possible for obstetricians remotely to monitor the heart rates of fetuses and expecting mothers. This allows them to detect conditions that are placing either at risk.

Work by Prgomet and colleagues has found that mobile handhelds have positive impacts on hospital physician work practices and patient care.  When equipped with such devices, researchers discovered benefits in terms of “rapid response, error prevention, and data management and accessibility”.[xix]  These benefits were especially profound in emergency room settings where time is of the essence in treating patients.

Mobile devices offer help for developing nations.  A majority of sub-Saharan Africa residents are served by cellphones with texting capabilities.  A non-profit organization called Medic Mobile seeks to use text messaging in that part of the world to track epidemics and help disaster relief personnel find those in need.[xx]

These applications make doctors more efficient because they don’t have to be in the physical presence of a patient to judge his or her condition. Digital technology allows people to overcome the limitations of geography in health care and access information at a distance. This makes it possible for patients to get a second opinion by sending that person relevant medical tests. If a personal conference is required, doctors can use video conferencing to speak to patients located in another locale.

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 12, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a 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

Mobile Health Slideshow and Infographics (with related resources)

From the November 28th 2011 Science Roll blog item by Dr. Bertalan Mesko

Since around 2009, it has been quite clear that mobile phones would not only change the way we check healthcare information online, but the way we do anything online so relevant statistics and analyses are crucial in order to be able to analyze the situation and draw useful conclusions. I’ve recently come across a great presentation focusing on mobile health by Daniel Hooker, health librarian.

And Andrew Spong shared an infographics by Manhattan Research that presents the state of mobile health. 85% of people use social media for health-related reasons on mobiles. Click on the image for larger version.

Related Resources 
  • Health Apps (free and low cost) at jmflahiff.wordpress.com

November 28, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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