Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Mobile app educates teens on risky sexual behavior

Mobile app educates teens on risky sexual behavior.

From the 1 June 2015 Carnegie Mellon news release

By Shilo Rea / 412-268-6094 / shilo@cmu.edu

mobile app image

Teenagers, parents, educators and clinicians will have a new tool to help adolescents make more informed decisions about their sexual behavior. “Seventeen Days,” a mobile app based on the interactive movie of the same name, will be available at no cost on iPhone, iPad and Android devices beginning June 4.

“Our goal is to create and make readily available a tool that will help teenagers make better decisions for themselves,” said Julie Downs, associate research professor of social and decision sciences at Carnegie Mellon University who studies how social influences affect decision making and how people can make better decisions by understanding these influences. “For the most part, adolescents don’t want to get pregnant. They definitely don’t want to contract a disease. By building on our research about what goes into their decisions, we have crafted an application that will help them avoid these negative outcomes.”

Seventeen Days — in both the video and mobile app form — are results from a five-year, $7.4 million grantfrom the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to update Downs’ earlier interactive video, “What Could You Do?” which was shown to increase abstinence among teenage girls. Preliminary research indicates that giving young women access to the Seventeen Days film leads to better knowledge about the risks associated with different sexual behaviors and a stronger sense that they can carry out safer behaviors themselves.

In addition to CMU, the mobile app was developed with researchers at West Virginia University, the University of Pittsburgh and Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. The goal of creating the mobile app is to get the interactive tool into as many hands as possible.

“We know that teenagers are having sex, and addressing this is a very important part of their healthcare needs,” said Pamela Murray, M.D., M.P.H., professor of pediatrics at the WVU School of Medicine and section chief for WVU Healthcare’s Adolescent Medicine. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has highlighted teen pregnancy as a winnable public health battle. In the same way that we’ve reduced infectious diseases with immunization, we can reduce teen pregnancy rates and unwanted pregnancies with better communication.”

The mobile app’s release coincides with the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) annual conference. Beginning June 4, download the Seventeen Days mobile app.

This project and film were made possible by Grant Number TP1AH00040 from the Office of Adolescent Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Related Links:

Watch the 30-second trailer.

Visit the Seventeen Days website.

Follow Seventeen Days on Twitter.

 

July 20, 2015 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | , , , , | Leave a comment

Press Announcements > FDA launches drug shortages mobile app

Press Announcements > FDA launches drug shortages mobile app.

From the 4 March 2015 announcement

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration launched the agency’s first mobile application (app) specifically designed to speed public access to valuable information about drug shortages.

The app identifies current drug shortages, resolved shortages and discontinuations of drug products.

Drugs in short supply can delay or deny needed care for patients. Drug shortages may also lead health care professionals to rely on alternative drug products, which may be less effective or associated with higher risks than the drug in shortage.

“The FDA understands that health care professionals and pharmacists need real-time information about drug shortages to make treatment decisions,” said Valerie Jensen, associate director of the Drug Shortage Staff in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “The new mobile app is an innovative tool that will offer easier and faster access to important drug shortage information.”

App users can search or browse by a drug’s generic name or active ingredient, and browse by therapeutic category. The app can also be used to report a suspected drug shortage or supply issue to the FDA.

The agency developed the drug shortages app to improve access to information about drug shortages, as part of the FDA’s efforts outlined in the Strategic Plan for Preventing and Mitigating Drug Shortages.

The app is available for free download via iTunes (for Apple devices) and theGoogle Play store (for Android devices) by searching “FDA Drug Shortages.”

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

March 28, 2015 Posted by | health care | , , , | Leave a comment

[Report] Most Consumers Encounter Challenges Using New Types of High Tech Devices, Accenture Survey Finds | Full Text Reports…

Most Consumers Encounter Challenges Using New Types of High Tech Devices, Accenture Survey Finds | Full Text Reports….

From the press release

NEW YORK; Jan. 5, 2015 – Most consumers experience challenges using several new types of smart high tech devices, according to a new report from Accenture titled Engaging the Digital Consumer in the New Connected World.

Overall, 83 percent report various problems when they use new device types such as wearable fitness monitors, smart watches, smart home thermostats, in-vehicle entertainment systems, home connected surveillance cameras and security systems, and wearable health products.

The biggest challenges consumers face are that the smart devices are “too complicated to use” (21 percent), “set-up did not proceed properly” (19 percent), and “did not work as advertised” (19 percent).

“For these new connected device categories, high tech companies need to go back to the drawing board and rethink their product development approaches to focus on the entire customer experience,” said Sami Luukkonen, managing director for Accenture’s Electronics and High Tech group. “They should make fundamental strategic changes that no longer focus on product feature differentiation but rather holistic, digital experience differentiation.”

 

Related resources

      • 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
  • Sources of Trusted, Reviewed and Evaluated Apps
    iMedical Apps   –Mobile medical app reviews, commentary by medical professionals
    Gallery of Mobile Apps and Sites – from the US National Library of Medicine
    Mobile Resources Selected by the MSKCC Library for Patients and Families   from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center LibraryInformation For Patients from the University of Michigan LibraryGuide-Health Sciences Mobile Device Resources – Resources by Subject
     Scroll down in the right column of this guide until you get to Information for Patients

     

March 3, 2015 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , , | 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

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

The problem with transformative technologies in medicine

http://www.healthxchange.com.sg/healthyliving/HealthatWork/Pages/top-5-health-apps-to-download.aspx

Yesterday I reflagged an item about the  Free UMSkinCheck Mobile App.
While these self check apps are wonderful consumer and patient tools, they are not without “problems”.
This KevinMD.com post outlines health app use challenges as folks gathering data without knowing what to do with and reimbursement issues (physician consultations outside of the office).

Article ends with statement “Until our system puts more value on avoiding unnecessary treatment and keeping people well we will be stuck in this struggle between patients who want to avoid seeing the doctor and doctors who can’t afford to let patients do that.”.

The problem with transformative technologies in medicine

by (KevinMD.com post, 17 July 2012)

Eric Topol wrote a post on The Health Care Blog where he looks to a future enabled by emerging technology: “Just as the little mobile wireless devices radically transformed our day-to-day lives, so will such devices have a seismic impact on the future of health care. It’s already taking off at a pace that parallels the explosion of another unanticipated digital force — social networks….

large number, if not the majority, of ear infections are undiagnosed and clear on their own at home without intervention.  Now add to this a technology which gives us the ability to see all of those undiagnosed ear infections, and we have to muster even more willpower to resist the urge to treat them all.  This is the same problem as we have encountered with PSA testing: be careful gathering data you don’t know how to handle.

But even without considering this important objection to improved data-gathering, there is another problem which stands in the way of this type of technology: reimbursement.  It sounds great to enable people to avoid visits to the doctor’s office by having tools that previously were only accessible at an office visit.  It sounds like a very good way to save money and wasted time spent in waiting rooms with outdated magazines.  But this technology presumes that doctors will be willing to act on this information without seeing the patient in the office.  It presumes we will be willing to offer free care.  If the time I spend sifting through patient-collected data rises exponentially, the payment I get for that time cannot remain at the present level: zero.

If our goal (as it should be) is to spend less money on unnecessary care, we will get to it much faster if we somehow give proper incentive.  Our encounter-based payment system stands in the way of any progress in this area.  The only way most of us get paid is to see people and deal with problems.  This makes doctors reluctant to offer any care outside of this setting, and puts undue pressure on intervention (to justify the encounter to the payors).  Until our system puts more value on avoiding unnecessary treatment and keeping people well we will be stuck in this struggle between patients who want to avoid seeing the doctor and doctors who can’t afford to let patients do that….

What is significant about the finding cited above is that patients at least get it.  They understand the value of a having a relationship with a knowledgeable physician or similar health care provider.  In spite of, and for some, because of the plethora of health information outlets on the web people want to know that they always have access to your family doc when the chips are down.”

“Here’s what I mean…based upon some 20+ years working in health care:

From the get go…going back to Hippocrates…health and health care delivery has been about the relationships between people starting with the  physician-patient.relationship.

The most important diagnostic tool a physician has at their disposal is not a smart phone…but their ability to talk with and observe  patients verbal and non-verbal behavior.

 “Talk” is not only how physicians diagnose problems and recommend the appropriate treatments…talk is also how patients are able to engage in the health care.  Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of talk (and touch) during the medical exam is the therapeutic benefits patients derive from being able to express heart-felt fears and concerns to someone who hopefully cares.”

July 18, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Can’t App Our Way Into Better Health or Healthcare – Health Is Social

We Can’t App Our Way Into Better Health or Healthcare

From the 9 March 2012 post at Health is Social

It’s cool and all that we can track our every step, our every weight, our every heartbeat, our every glucose reading.

Cooler still is to receive relevant feedback based on all the tracks.

Cooler yet is to gain proper interpretation of what the feedback means.

Even cooler is for us to get healthier and to deliver better care with all this tracking.

That last sentence – it’s not *just* cooler: it’s crux.

We can build all kinds of mobile applications. We can track all sorts of things.

But if we track the wrong things, we’ll simply railroad ourselves – or at least hop on the wrong train.

It’s not enough to track all those pushups and all those marathons.

In fact, how do you know that all those sweaty visits to the gym aren’t slowly making invisible tears in your muscles – how do you know that all those tears aren’t inducing a chronic state of tiny inflammatory processes that one day will lead to a myocardial infarction?

You see, the problems in front of you aren’t the problems in front of you: for an app that tracks your gym activity *might* be blinding you to some other problems.

Building and using more and more apps won’t convey us into better health or healthcare. Yes, they can help nudge and guide us – and that’s important as long as the contexts and processes into which those nudges and guides are the right ones.

An app is a module.

Health is a whole.

 

April 11, 2012 Posted by | 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

Springer Unleashes Free SpringerLink App for iPhone, iPod Touch

From the 3 January 2012 blog item at eContent

 

Springer’s SpringerLink science platform is now available in a free mobile app for iPhone and iPod touch, which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store. The app contains articles from over 2,000 peer-reviewed journals and chapters from 49,000 books, totaling over 5.4 million documents that span multiple areas of science, technology, and medicine.

Free content in the form of article abstracts, over 127,000 open access research articles, plus book and journal covers and other document details are included in the app. The SpringerLink app includes features like personalized notifications; “save” and “share” capabilities, including enabled sharing via email, Facebook, and Twitter; advanced search options; document details, including abstracts; and full-text views, which are available to institutional subscribers.

Springer publishes nearly 500 academic and professional society journals and is a part of the Springer Science+Business Media publishing group.

(www.springerlink.com)

January 4, 2012 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Finding Aids/Directories, Professional Health Care Resources | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

   

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