Today I came across this really great video of Dr. Molly Maloof talking about her experience tracking her health. It’s interesting to have a doctor tracking herself. She takes a different approach than the general self tracking user might do. It also gives some insights into some of the challenges associated with the quality of health sensors. Check out the video to learn more:
The following is a guest blog post by Kelly Everson.
Wearable tech and its purpose
Wearable tech is no more a thing of future times; it’s here, and it can help many people regarding health issues. Go to any store or just go online, and you will realize that fitness bands and smartwatches are all around you. But you are no expert; how will you decide what to buy? How will you know the choice you made will help you with the issue you are confronted?
Well, that all depends on what you need and at what price. Not every single device is the same, even though they look very similar. Wearable technology can be fun in some cases and useful in others. The wearable category is still being developed and each day we can witness a new band or something of the sort.
Up till now, smartwatches have had quite a good impact on personal safety and in the wellness area. The impact related to health has not been very big, but a lot is happening and will continue to happen.
Various giant companies such as Google, Apple, Baidu, and Samsung are working on health platforms. They can aggregate info from different sources and wearables, and promise to gather highly valuable insights based on sets of data.
How to choose a smart band or a smartwatch?
Think about the design, and does it appeal to you. You will also have to find out does the device support a Bluetooth, and what operating system it supports. If you plan to swim while wearing it, it should be waterproof, or at least swim-friendly. It is also very important that the device has a solid battery life and. Search and discover what apps does it run, and are those apps the ones you need. Some devices have screens that are always on, while other don’t. That feature consumes a lot of power and drains the battery, so keep that in mind. You should check if the device supports heart rate monitor and at what level.
Smartwatches and patients with heart problems
Smartwatches are supposed to play a very important role in medicine, especially for patients with heart problems, here is why:
- Continuous monitoring of heart rate and other bodily functions
That will help patients in many ways. Monitoring of heart rate and movement has become state of the art in some of the latest releases of smartwatches, but some other parameters have improved as well. Now people can monitor their blood sugar, blood pressure, nutrition, temperature and more. In the upcoming releases of smartwatches, some other parameters will be introduced. Patients with heart problems will benefit the most, as they are the most endangered group.
Heart patients as said before are the most endangered group and need the most care. Based on diagnostics and monitoring we can conclude that certain wearables will be used solely for therapy. Some smartwatches will have a function of delivering drugs at the right context and time. There are many such programs under way and have received a few million dollars of funding to make it a reality.
- Specific group of patients and corresponding tools
Just think about a specific smartwatch apps for patients with heart problems, or those who suffer from diabetes, blindness, deafness, epilepsy, lung issues and so on and so on. Hundreds of applications are in development as we speak around the world, and have a great potential for the mentioned group of patients.
- Patient records in an electronic form
Smartwatches seem to be a fantastic key for electronic patient records. They are great for recording health data and are on you all the time, even in a case of an emergency. Users will have total control over who gets access to what information and in which particular situation.
Even though the benefits are obvious and splendid, years will pass until smartwatches can reveal their full potential within the medical area. A lot of scientific data will be needed to conquer regulatory hurdles and to get compensated by the systems of health care. Also, people will have to be confident that their details are secure.
Even though, it will take time, by 2020 smartwatches are going to be indispensable and extremely valuable tool throughout a vast number of health care settings.
About Kelly Everson
Kelly Everson is MA in English Literature and an American Author. Her work comprises of articles appearing or forthcoming in over a dozen health care websites and global internet magazine covering technology, future gadgets, beauty skin care and overall men’s & women’s health. When she’s not educating strangers with her writing, she’s most likely researching about new discoveries in technology, health, fitness and beauty industry. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
— 4D Healthware (@4DHealthware) May 21, 2015
Also, I was intrigued by Anne Zieger’s post on the Arrival of the Chief Mobile Healthcare Officer. I don’t agree with her completely that we’ll have a chief mobile healthcare officer. We have enough chiefs in healthcare as it is. I don’t think we need another chief. I do think that every hospital is going to have to have a serious mobile health strategy. However, I think that the CIO and CMO should be capable of addressing mobile. Thoughts?
I think the world has become fascinated by drones. I know I have. I got one for Christmas and it’s really fun to play with. The one I got is really hard to fly, but in many ways that makes it more fun.
What a lot of people don’t realize is how many ways drones are going to be part of our future life. No, I’m not talking about the military drones. In fact, using the term drones is so tied to the military that it’s almost not right to use the term. However, many people have become more familiar with drones thanks to Go pro cameras that are attached and bring us some really amazing footage even from amateurs.
Another thing that has helped people to understand the impact of drones is when Amazon talked about using drones to deliver products. That’s a powerful idea. It’s still a few years away at least, but it’s exciting that some of the smartest people in the world are working on it.
What I love about the Amazon example is that there are many things in life where you need to get a physical object somewhere quickly. As good as UPS and FedEx have become, drones could take this to the next level of speed and efficiency.
In healthcare, I think about emergency incidents. Could drones play a role in getting healthcare supplies to a disaster area that is inaccessible for ambulances and other emergency personnel? If you’ve ever seen the ambulances in Italy trying to navigate traffic, you can see how a drone would be much more effective. If it had a mounted camera with video streaming, those in the hospital could literally see what’s happening and provide remote support to the bystanders at the scene. Is that a new form of 911 experience?
We already know that drones are being used in third world countries to distribute medical supplies as well. It’s a powerful thing. I can’t remember where I saw it, but I once saw a map that mapped out how many drones it would take to cover an entire country. It was amazing to see this map of overlapping circles. Plus, the drone technology is going to get better and better.
There are certainly a lot of challenges and questions about pricing and privacy when it comes to drones and healthcare, but I’m excited about the possibilities. I’m sure there are plenty of more opportunities as well that we just haven’t had time to think of yet.
We’ve been writing about the coming of the Apple Watch for a long time here at Smart Phone healthcare. Remember when we use to call it the iWatch? I must admit that I hadn’t seen many really interesting healthcare applications on the iWatch. They all felt like retreads of things that were basically accomplished on people’s smart phone and weren’t that much better on the watch.
Today, I might have read about the first healthcare IT application on the Apple Watch that could provide value to healthcare. The announcement came from Kareo and here’s a list of key functionality that they’ve included in the Apple Watch from the Kareo EHR:
- Secure messaging that allows the user to send, reply, and read messages via dictation. Messages can be sent to staff or patients using Kareo’s secure messaging system, improving overall patient engagement and practice communication.
- An agenda that allows the provider to quickly reference their schedule and see the status of appointments checked-in, no show, late, checked out, etc., helping reduce wait times and improve practice efficiency.
- Appointment reminders that can be sent five minutes before the next scheduled appointment. The notification subtly vibrates the watch, indicating that the doctor has an impending appointment.
- Appointment information that is accessible within a notification or through the agenda, allowing the provider to review details such as the patient’s name, time of appointment, visit type, and reason for the visit.
- “I’m Running Late” pre-set messages that allow the doctor inform other staff members when they are running behind and how much longer they expect to be. This improves practice communication and enables the front desk to give patients a more accurate wait time estimate.
- Apple “Glances” that provide a quick overview of key practice metrics, including how many patients are scheduled throughout the day, how many patients are waiting to be seen, and which patients are currently waiting in an exam room.
I’d like to see this in action and look forward to doing so the next time I see Kareo (possibly not until MGMA), but the features have some promise. I could see them being used pretty regularly. Especially the status updates on how many patients are checked in and how many are waiting. That’s really great information that is changing constantly throughout the day. The schedule for the day is great as well.
Kareo had previously announced some features for Google Glass. I liked that they were pushing the envelope, but it didn’t feel like something that doctors would grab onto. I think this Apple Watch implementation has a lot more legs to it. I’ll be interested to hear from Kareo doctors how it works in actual practice.
Full Disclosure: Kareo is a sponsor of one of the Healthcare Scene blogs.
— BioMed Central (@BioMedCentral) May 10, 2015
This tweet was talking about mobile recruitment of patients for clinical studies using Apple’s research kit. So far it has signs that it will be a phenomenal success. I think there are still some lingering questions about the quality of the patients that are signing up and whether they really fit the study criteria, but they’re definitely making progress.
What’s interesting to me is that we almost seem surprised that connecting with patients through a mobile device is so popular. This shouldn’t be a surprise to any of us. More and more people are having cell phones and unlike many of the chronic patients who are older and less tech savvy, many of the clinical trial participants are younger people who are very tech savvy.
I’m still not sure if Apple’s research kit is going to be the main answer for this type of recruitment, but I do think we’ll be connecting with patients for clinical trials in a big way going forward. In fact, I think that’s true for a lot of healthcare. There’s still a mindset change that needs to happen for many people (including myself), but the next generation of patient will likely do most of what they do through their cell phone.
What other areas will be impacted by cell phone use? I did a webinar last week with Kareo that talked about the need to have a mobile optimized (likely responsive) practice website. I’m sure there are hundreds of others. Let’s hear them in the comments.
I’m already on the recorder that I don’t think that the Apple Watch is going to be a game changer for healthcare. After it’s launch I still believe that to be the case. In fact, I’m not sure if it will be a game changer for anything (not just healthcare). It’s an interesting novelty item and some elements of the interface are cute. The marketing is great as would be imagined from Apple, but they’re selling the sizzle and not the steak.
With that perspective out of the way, I was intrigued by this MacWorld article that lists 5 outside the box health apps for the Apple Watch. They basically said outside the box was something beyond heart rate (not a very high bar). Here’s what they listed:
WebMD – This is not their database of education. It’s a medication reminder, tracking and medication schedule app.
Skin – This app lets you scan your skin for areas of concern and then you can preview the scan on your watch. The app also evaluates the skin. I guess that’s one way to track changes in your skin over time.
ReSound Smart – This app controls your smart hearing adds and adjusts the volume, noise filters, etc. It also uses geotagged locations to adjust the settings automatically (something that likely works with your phone too).
Clue – This app helps women track their periods and get a full overview of their cycles. The watch app is mostly for accessing the data as opposed to entering the data.
BACtrack – Connects to a smart beathalyzer to give you an idea of your blood-alochol level. Also, reminds you after 15 minutes to do another test to get a more accurate result.
The ReSound Smart app is the most interesting one to me on this list. Although, my biggest problem with it is that it has a limited use case. You have to have hearing aids and you have to have smart hearing aids. I’m sure it’s a great product for people with hearing aids and no doubt I’d love something like it if I was in that situation but I’m not so it’s hard for me to really measure its value.
The rest of them didn’t seem all that interesting. Medication reminders is going to work well on the watch, so it’s good that WebMD is doing it, but we’re going to see that from 100 providers. Plus, is it that much better on the watch than to the smartphone itself?
I love interesting apps like this list provides, but I’m not seeing any game changers on this list of Apple Watch health apps.
I’ve coined a new hashtag I call the #HIMSSHaze. Any reporters, people working at HIMSS, vendors exhibiting at HIMSS, and related professionals know what the #HIMSSHaze is. As a blogger, the biggest challenge is the 400+ pitches (not accounting for duplicates or pitches that contain 10 companies in one email) that land in my email inbox. It’s a bit overwhelming and they don’t stop even right up until the event. Plus, during the event they then send out all their press releases announcing something at the event.
You can imagine that a lot of stuff gets lost in the noise. However, I like to make a sincere effort to go through each pitch I receive, evaluate it, and at least tell them if I have time or not. At least until my schedule is full. If you waited until now to send it to me, I don’t have much sympathy when I don’t have time to meet because my schedule is full. Luckily, most PR people understand that when they pitch you so late. Although, it’s a bit sad when a great pitch comes in late and your schedule is full, but I digress.
My HIMSS blogger experience aside, what going through 400+ pitches provides me is a great view at what’s going to happen at HIMSS. After reading all of the pitches, press releases, and comments, I have a pretty good feel for the topics that are going to be popular at HIMSS.
One thing that’s clear to me is that mobile health is really starting to finally have a strong presence at HIMSS 2015. Sure, we’ve always had a mobile health startup or two spread around HIMSS. Also, every EHR vendor’s been considering their mobile strategy. However, in 2015 I’m seeing mobile health companies starting to really establish themselves in the industry.
I’ll be talking with a bunch of them at HIMSS and trying to assess the impact they’re really having on healthcare. It’s no surprise that communication apps are some of the strongest in the mobile health space. At the end of the day, quality communication can really improve healthcare. The mobile devices provide a whole suite of new communication opportunities.
I’d love to hear where you see mobile health taking off at HIMSS.
— AXA Lab (@AXALab) March 31, 2015
We all know that the potential for mHealth is massive. Everyone is getting a mobile phone and there is a mobile health app for anything and everything. Although, I’ve often asked myself, where’s the money in all the mobile health adoption?
The above tweet and image creates a pretty compelling image of where you can find the money in mobile health: Services and Device Sales.
I guess this shouldn’t be surprising. It illustrates how it’s likely going to be hard to be a mobile health app that’s just an app. Instead, you have to build some people skills (ie. services) or hardware skills (ie. devices). Many people who just want to roll out an app, might want to consider this finding.
What still bothers me is that we have yet to really have a breakout app. I think it’s coming, but I’m surprised it’s not already here. What do you think will be the breakout app?