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Combating Mobile Health Threats: 13 Tips Everyone Should Read

There is a common theme I’ve noticed while I’ve been researching mHealth over the past few months: a great concern for safety and security. No one wants to download an app, or have their doctor use some kind of technology, if the information could somehow be leaked. A few months ago in Utah, there was a huge security breach where Medicaid and CHIP recipient’s information (birthdays, social security numbers, addresses…you know, all that information no one wants a hacker to have) was stolen. This kind of opened my eyes to how there needs to be security measures in place to make sure things like that don’t happen. While that didn’t have to do with security within mHealth, I feel like similar things could happen with patient information being transmitted within mobile devices.

So is there anything that can be done to protect this information? Well, I think for apps, it starts with the creator making sure there is a secure network. However, apps aren’t the only mobile health devices. There’s USB devices, laptops, and tablets as well. Michelle McNickle, New Media Producer for Healthcare IT News over at mhimss.com, posted 13 tips from ID experts on how to fight mobile device threats:

  1. Consider USB Locks
  2. Try geolocation tracking software or services
  3. Brick the device if it gets stolen or lost
  4. Encrypt, encrypt, encrypt
  5. Forget about “sleep” mode
  6. Recognize that employees will use personal devices
  7. Use strong safeguards to permit access to PHI through mobile devices
  8. Educate employees on the importance of safeguarding their mobile devices
  9. Implement electronic protector health information (EPHI) security
  10. Work to get ahead of the BYOD upgrade curve
  11. Have a proactive data management strategy
  12. Keep in mind transparency and end-user consent opt-in.
  13. Remember that the mobile Web and “app” landscape is not your father’s Internet

While some of this tips didn’t really pertain to me, overall, I found the list to be very helpful. Awhile back, I downloaded an app on my phone that allows me to “brick the device”, as was mentioned in step three. While the only part of the app I’ve (thankfully) had to use was the feature that sets off a very loud alarm because I couldn’t find it (we’re talking ambulance siren loud), I’m glad I would be able to wipe data if I truly did lose it and didn’t want my personal information stolen. Whether you are a consumer, employer, or a creator of apps or technology, reading through this list is important. More detailed explanations of each of the points can be found here.

June 29, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

New Technology Being Designed to Better Diagnose Mental Health Problems by Observing Emotions

Sometimes, when a patient suffering from a mental illness talks with their doctor, they may say that everything is going well, even if it’s not. How does a doctor know if this information is correct or not? Without talking with a family member or close friend, it might be hard. According to mhimss.com, “the premise behind a new wave of startups and entrepreneurs looking to make an impact in healthcare” is mobile technology that will, essentially, be able to analyze emotions through a variety of factors, such as vocal, visual, and psychological cues. The hope is for this analysis of emotions will be administered a long side other vital signs.

The article at mhimss.com said that upwards of 85 percent of people who are “diagnosed with a chronic condition aren’t correctly diagnosed with depression.” And of those that are experiencing depression, less than 1/4 are getting the correct treatment for their condition. This technology that is being developed will hopefully help with this problem.

There have been several companies developing different things. One company, Cogito, is focusing on “vocal clues in phone conversations or visual signals in face-to-face meetings.” Another company, Affdex, are using webcams to read facial expressions. Other systems that will be available will involve mobile sensors that will sense physiological responses to different situations.

While these innovations will hopefully help better diagnose people and monitor their condition, it is important to remember that the technology is not a lie detector or mind reader, said Joshua Feast, CEO of Cogito:

What this technology can do is replicate the observations of an observer. You’re focusing on how people speak and interact, not what people say.

Love this idea. I could see how it could be extremely useful. I mean, if it’s mobile and can monitor someone for a long period of time, that would probably a lot more accurate in determining a person’s mental status than just visiting with them for a few minutes, as some doctors might. I couldn’t believe that so many people are mis-diagnosed and given the wrong treatments for mental illnesses. Having known many people with mental illnesses, I have observed  how people act when they have the correct treatment versus one that might not be quite right. It’s drastic. The companies that are developing these sensors and monitors could help increase the quality of life for patient’s dramatically if the technology actually works. With so many developments coming forth with medical technology, I agree with what Dr. Joseph Kvedar, the founder and director of the Center for Connected Health, said.

It’s the dawn of time for that particular technology. There’s so much sensitivity to the role that mental health plays in our healthcare.

The possibilities are endless. Feast said that he could see it being used to diagnose PTSD and mental disorders, to spotting stress in employers and preventing work-burnout before it begins. I’m very excited to see where this goes in the near future and makes me grateful that we live in a time where so many developments for the bettering of life are being made.

June 28, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

WebMD.com Goes Mobile With Well-Developed App

One of my favorite health-related websites is WebMD.com, so of course I had to download the app when it became available. While I was disappointed that the WebMD Baby app isn’t available for Android, there is a WebMD app for both Apple and Android platforms. Here is the description provided on Google Play Store:

WebMD for Android helps you with your decision-making and health improvement efforts by providing mobile access 24/7 to mobile-optimized health information and decision-support tools including WebMD’s Symptom Check, Drugs & Treatments, First Aid Information and Local Health Listings. WebMD the App also gives you access to first aid information without having to be connected wirelessly — critical if you don’t have Internet access in the time of need.

For the most part, I really like the app. It is easy to navigate and has a lot of different features. You can sign up for an account with WebMD if you don’t have one, or link an already existing account. Either way, it doesn’t take too long to get into the app.

There are five main sections to the app, which were mentioned in the description above. They can be accessed from the front page of the app, which looks like this:

When selecting the “Symptom Checker” for the first time, I was asked my age, zip code, and gender. I’m not sure if it would ask this if any of the other sections were accessed first. I’m guessing this information is asked just so results can be more customized to your demographic.

I really like the symptoms checker. A digital figure of a body (male or female, depending on what you selected originally) where you select the part of your body that is currently of concern. From there, a list of potential diagnoses come up. Unfortunately, this portion for the app rarely works for me. It says it cannot connect without an Internet connection, even though my phone is connected through the Internet and my data plan. Because of this, I can’t really vouch for the usefulness of this, but if I ever can get it to work, I think it would be kind of neat. As such, I typically select the “list” view, where a list of body parts comes up. It’s nice to be able to scroll through and see different illness and read more about them, including the symptoms. However, as I mentioned in my post about the Internet and hypochondriacs, I have spent far too much time browsing the symptoms. That’s not the apps fault though!

Under the conditions tab, there are a few options. First, My Conditions. Here, you can login to a WebMD account and save conditions you are currently diagnosed with, drugs being used, and first aid information. Then there is the top searches tab, which shows just that — the top searched conditions. And finally, there is an A-Z list of all conditions that have available information on WebMD.

Drugs and treatments has the options as My Conditions does, but there is an additional section called Pill ID. I think this is a pretty neat little feature. You can figure out what type of pill something is (like, maybe you have to take several different pills and you’ve put them into a pill box, only to forget later on which pill is which) by selecting the shape, color, or imprint. There are a lot of different shapes and colors to choose from, and the option is available to type in any letters or numbers on a pill.

The First Aid section gives detailed information on how to treat various things, from asthma attacks to heart attacks to jellyfish stings. These are, of course, only supposed to be used as guidelines, and if there is a true emergency, it says to call 911 immediately. This is a great reference guide though, even if its an emergency, because I believe that its important to try and do something while waiting for medical assistance to arrive. I like this feature a lot.

Finally there is the local health listings. Here, you can search for a physician, pharmacy, or hospital near you. You must have a name or speciality in mind when selecting either of these, but from there, it will bring up a list of names, hospitals, or pharmacies nearby with all the necessary information (phone number, address, map, etc.). Having traveled a good amount in the past few months, and in some cases needed to find a pharmacy in an unfamiliar area, this would have been really helpful to have!

Overall, its a great app. I’d even go as far as saying its a necessary one for everyone to have on their phone. I think it is unfortunate that, beyond the first aid section, an Internet connection is required, but beyond that, I don’t have any complaints!

Download here for Apple devices

Download here for Android

June 27, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Another Migraine App Enters the Market

There’s a whole host of apps for migraines becoming available. After reviewing Migraine Meter, I was asked to review another migraine app. Over at EMRandHIPAA.com, John wrote about a start-up company called Ubiqi Health, which has both an online platform and app to help monitor and help with migraines. Since I wasn’t a big fan of Migraine Meter, I was excited to see how this one works. The website says:

We know that understanding and managing your migraines takes a lot of effort and can often feel like an uphill struggle. Ubiqi Health makes it easier for you with simple tools that can be used anywhere to track your progress and, ultimately, gain more control over your health.

For the purpose of this post, I will be focusing on the mobile app.

First off, the app is free. Awesome, awesome. It’s available for both Android and Apple users, which is great news for everyone.

For both Android and Apple devices, it currently has almost 5 stars.  Just looking at the information listed on there, and the screen shots, makes me feel like it is better than Migraine Meter already. The colors are nice, mainly just white and blue, and it looks like it was designed well. After looking around the website and the description, I decided to try it out myself.

Basically the app has four main things it asks you to track: When the migraine happened, how sever it was, what treatments were used, and any possible/noticeable triggers. The app was created by talking to people who suffer from migraines and finding out their needs. Smart move. Anyways…

First off, when the app is first opened, a registration screen pops up. It asks for basic information, such as email address, age, location, and gender. Pretty simple, and I was able to register pretty quickly.

After registering, you are brought to the home page. Here is a screen shot of it:

As you can see, there are six different sections. Let’s start with “Track Episode” (I think the picture that goes along with that tab is fairly accurate in depicting a migraine, yes?). You simply enter the date/time it started, ended, and intensity. You can also add treatments and triggers, if any of that information is available. For treatments, it has three preset ones (abortive medicine, darkness, and inactivity), but you can enter anything else you did, and for triggers, it has quite a few common ones as well. Entering date and time is really easy, as is entering the other information. For some reason, it bothers me that the triggers/treatments aren’t capitialized, it just seems kind of unpolished. But that’s just personal preference.

Next, there are the track triggers and track treatments. Basically, you enter in the same information you put in the track episode section, and because of that, it feels a bit repetitive. The only part is new, is entering the time of the treatments/triggers. I feel like if these are going to be separate sections, it shouldn’t be included in the track episode section. I think I would only put that information in one of the places, rather than both.

I have the same feelings about the note section as I did about the separate treatment and trigger sections. You can add notes in track episode.

Next, there is view feed. Basically, it just puts all of your activity here. Not much else to say about that.

Finally, when all is said and done, you can select get report, and have a report sent to your email about migraines. This report can be useful for doctor’s appointments, or just for finding patterns in general. I think this could be very useful.

Overall, I like the app. It’s super simple and easy to use. It doesn’t have any “extra” stuff like Migraine Meter (I just didn’t really care for the migraine news section that was the front page of the app), and it’s easy to navigate. It’s also really fast, and information can be input quickly. My only complaints are, as I’ve already mentioned, that the information was a bit repetitive. I get that the “track episode” section is supposed to have all the information in it about each episode, but I just don’t like that you have to enter triggers and treatments in different sections. I think it would be nice to just have to enter the date, time, and intensity here, and somehow have it get linked to the other sections.

This app can be downloaded for Android products here, and Apple products here.

June 26, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

App Created to Connect Patients With Doctors Immediately

Have you heard of Consult a Doctor? Well, if you haven’t, here’s a little bit of an overview:

MYHEALTHPLAN24/7 is Consult A Doctor’s revolutionary cloud-based telemedicine platform that offers health plans the freedom to dramatically improve access for their members, and offer a significant convenience and revenue benefit to their provider network, all while reducing cost of care by ensuring that members stay healthier with the right care, in the right setting as soon as possible.

Consult a Doctor offers cloud-based telemedicine services to its users. It teams up with hospitals, providers, employers, and consumers to provide affordable health care and advice to everyone. Patients connect with their doctors via the Internet and are able to get care faster, easier, and less expensive over all. On June 6th, Consult a Doctor announced their new app, iDr 24/7. Anyone who is currently subscribed to Consult a Doctor, either through their employer or health plan. iDr 24/7 is the first of its kind is available for the iPhone. Users will have the opportunity to be instantly connected with a doctor, no matter where they are. The press release from Consult a Doctor described the app:

The mobile app will enable members to connect with network physicians via phone and secure messaging for live, on-demand medical consultations, including medical diagnosis, treatment, and if appropriate, prescriptions to certain medications to treat non-emergent conditions.

Sometime this year, the app will be available to other groups as well, including providers and patients.

It’s pretty incredible how far seeking medical attention has come. I mean, someone used to have to ride horseback miles and miles just to find a doctor, and now a doctor can be reached almost instantaneously. While yes, in a true emergency, you should go to the emergency room, I think this is a great option for those just needing to talk to a doctor about some basic concerns, or who needs to get a prescription filled. Last week, David talked about a tricorder being developed called Scanadu, which also would give medical advice instantly. I wonder what type of technology will be developed next to make reaching a doctor even easier.

Consult a Doctor offers both individual and group plans. Pricing for the plans can be found here. Beyond access to iDr 24/7, membership benefits are:

  • Licensed physicians available 24/7/365.
  • 100% Approval — No one is ever turned down!
  • No Limitations on Usage
  • Great alternative for the uninsured or underinsured
  • Store and share your EMRs (Electronic Medical Records)
  • Immediate access to Consult a Doctor’s health related interactive tools/service
  • HIPAA-compliant

A free trial is available, and enrollment can be done here or by calling 1-800-362-2667.

June 25, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Control Your Dreams With the Remee Sleep Mask

How many times have you woken up after a good nights rest with the remnants of an amazing dream in your mind?  Your heart aches to go back to sleep for just a few more minutes and enjoy whatever it was that you were dreaming about.  Whether it was flying, memories from your past, or fantasies for your future, it just sucks when it suddenly comes to an end.

While there isn’t much you can do about waking up when your alarm goes off, there is a new device that is designed to help you control your dreams.  The Remee Lucid Dreaming Mask from Bitbanger Labs, looks a lot like your traditional sleeping mask, but it aims to do a lot more than just keep your eyes in the dark.

Lucid dreaming is an interesting skill that the developers claim can be developed over time.  According to their website it is a pretty simple process:

– Put on the mask before you go to sleep.

– The mask senses when you enter REM sleep activating 6 red LEDs in certain patterns.

– This alerts your mind to the fact you are sleeping while not waking you up.

– With practice you can train your mind to dream about whatever you want.

They go into much more detail on their website, but that is the general gist of it.  While it is interesting to think of controlling your dreams in fun ways, it could also serve a practical purpose.  Someone with a difficult problem to solve, or a piece of music they are writing, or any number of other issues may be able to find solutions while their mind is at ease dreaming.

It would be interesting to see how well this device works, and at $95 it really isn’t that unreasonable.  They are currently taking pre-orders, and they should be shipping in August.

I would definitely want to try something like this because I have a whole lot of things that I would love to dream about, and it is always fun to play with a new toy.

June 22, 2012 I Written By

Does Access to the Internet at All Times Make Us Hypochondriacs?

In one of my first posts here at Smart Phone Health Care, I talked about how my doctor told me not to look online about medical conditions. As much as I would like to say I took that advice, I’d like to keep myself an honest woman, and admit that I didn’t. I’m sure there are tons of articles out there about how the Internet has made this generation into hypochondriacs. However, sometimes I feel like the ability to access the Internet from a phone, and even have apps to check symptoms, is making that even more true.

For example: Recently, I have been experiencing some different health problems that don’t indicate any clear diagnosis (and since I’m currently out-of-state, and my insurance only really works in my home state, I can’t really go to a doctor without rocket high fees), I’ve been tempted to try and self-diagnosis myself (note: bad idea). Well, the other night, I started having some of my symptoms in the middle of the night. However, because I leave my computer down stairs at night, I couldn’t determine if it was serious or not. So, what do I do? Pull out my smart phone and type the symptoms into an app I had downloaded. Well, after a few minutes, I was convinced that I had Leukemia. There was a list of about 20 different sicknesses I could have, but, of course, my eyes shifted directly toward that one. Upon further investigation, I also decided that I had anemia, gall stones, an ulcer, and a few other things.

Do I have any of these things? No, I’m pretty sure I don’t. However, in my pain-induced panic, with my phone an arm length away, I thought I did. Had I not had access to my symptom identifier app (the free Web MD app — I’ll have to do a review on it later. It’s pretty handy) so quickly, and just waited until the morning to investigate, I probably would have had a more restful night and not jumped to such big conclusions. Even if this happened in the middle of the day, most of the time I’m not right next to my laptop and when I am, I have probably forgotten about it. However, having my phone nearby almost 24/7, I can look up things easily, and fast (most of the time, too fast).

On the flip side of things, the other day my husband mentioned that he thought it was pretty cool how we can get almost immediate feedback on certain topics. I got a painful spider bite while we were walking into the county health building, and, since the pain didn’t subside for about an hour, we decided to see what normal side effects to spider bites were. Since we were out and about, it was nice to be able to quickly look this information up on one of our smart phones and find out what was normal, and what should be watched for.

So having this quick access can be a good thing, because information can be accessed quickly, but also has the definite potential to create worry where worry is unnecessary. I guess it all comes down to knowing limits, and not taking the results from an app or internet search as a diagnosis. No matter how advanced mHealth gets, I don’t think anything can ever replace getting actual results from an actual doctor. I’m just grateful that self-diagnosing through mobile apps or the Internet isn’t always super accurate (especially when I’m the one doing the diagnosing!)

Just something I’ve been thinking about lately. What do you think? Have you looked up symptoms more often since  having a smart phone?

June 21, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Response to “App Store Becoming a Virtual Pharmacy?” From Happtique’s Ben Chodor

I recently wrote a post about Happtique, which I misidentified as an app creator. Fortunately for me, Ben Ch0dor, commented on the post and provided some more insight into the company, which according to Happtique’s website, “is the first mobile application store for healthcare professionals by healthcare professionals.” I decided to post the comment, so anyone interesting in the idea of “prescribing apps” can get a better idea about what Happtique’s mission is, and what it has to offer.

At Happtique, we love a good debate and welcome comments about our initiatives. We would like to clarify that Happtique is not an app creator. The apps in our catalog are from the Apple App Store — we’ve organized them with an extensive classification system in an effort to make it easier to find relevant health apps. The further assist in identifying quality apps, Happtique is developing a program that will validate the operability, privacy, security, and content of health apps.

For our mRx app prescribing trial, we are working with physicians, physical therapists, and trainers to select apps that are currently in the marketplace (none of which we developed). We agree that app prescribing should not replace pill prescribing. Instead, we see mRx as an enhancement to the continuum of care. It allows physicians to connect their patients with relevant, appropriate mHealth apps. This should improve outcomes, since educated and involved patients are far more likely to follow treatment recommendations, use preventative series, comply with medication regimens, and choose healthier lifestyles.

I appreciate that Chodor took the time to better explain the company. As I mentioned in my previous post, I didn’t think that apps should replace pills, and I’m happy to hear that Happtique hopes that mRx will just become “an enhancement to the continuum of care.”

It is pretty neat that Happtique is creating a catalog of already-existing apps so it easier to find health apps that are relevant to particular conditions. If mRx does become more mainstream in practices around the country (and maybe even world), this would be extremely helpful for healthcare providers, in my opinion. I mean, there are sure to be a bunch of health apps floating around that shouldn’t be prescribed, so if a doctor can just view this catalog and trust that the apps are reputable, it would make the process of mRx prescribing a lot easier. I feel like a lot more doctors would be wanting to prescribe apps if they didn’t have to try and find the reputable ones themselves. Of course, John pointed out that Happtique’s app certification could also go very wrong. We’ll see how it plays out.

June 20, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Go From Couch Potato to Runner with Couch-to-5K App

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m no runner. When I met my husband, he told me that he wanted to run a 5K that summer (which, I have to admit right now, never happened). Trying to impress him, I told him I wanted to as well. He then suggested a podcast he had heard of called Couch to 5k — because he probably guessed I wasn’t a runner. I found the podcast online somewhere and uploaded it to my mp3 player. I probably used it for about 2 weeks, and then life got in the way for awhile. While I continued to run, I kind of gave up on the podcast. After I got pregnant, I pretty much never ran because I was sick just about the whole 9 months, and since giving birth, haven’t really gotten back into it.

So when my sister suggested that we run together, I mentioned the couch-to-5k series. At first, I started searching for the podcast online, but then I decided to see if there was an app created for it. And lo and behold, there is, for both the iPhone and Android phones. You’ll have to fork out 1.99 (or .99 for the iPhone), but I think it’s worth it.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Couch-to-5k (otherwise called, C25k) program, here’s a little description from the website, written by the creator, Josh Clark:

C25k, is a fantastic program that’s been designed to get just about anyone from the couch to running 5 kilometers or 30 minutes in just 9weeks. With the help of the Couch to 5k program, in less than seven months, I went from a 47 year old, 104kg, 30 cigarettes a day sort of guy to an 82k, 0 cigarettes, running 45 to 40 kilometers a week sort of guy. Ten months after finishg C25k I completed my first marathon. Since then I have run another 5 marathons, as well as 8 ultra marathons including a 100km race. . . Its secret is that it’s a gentle introduction to getting the body moving, starting off alternating between walking and running small distances, and slowly building up until after 8 weeks, you’re ready to run 5 kilometers or 30 minutes non stop.

Although I have never completed the program, I definitely did notice my endurance building during the time I did it. I’m excited to use this new app though and see if it can help motivate me even more. Even though I haven’t had time to use it yet, I figured I’d do a little overview of it.

First off, I love the color schemes. I don’t know why, but the colors of an app really matter to me. The color scheme depends on which “trainer” you select. Here are the three options:

I decided to select Constance for the time being…though if I need a little more tough love, I may select another one. Each of the workouts is led by whichever trainer is selected, and the color scheme changes accordingly as well. Below is the one for Constance. It’s light and easy to look at. The other ones are a bit more intense, but they are still nice.

The above picture is also the front screen of the app. It shows up with whatever date you are on, and you can skip ahead (or go backwards) if needed. Your “trainer” gives a bit of advice or encouragement at the bottom of the screen. The top of the screen features a status bar, to show how far into the program you are.

Once you click on “Go To Workout”, you will be brought to this screen:

At this point, you can choose to listen to music that is already loaded on your phone, or enable GPS. I love the GPS feature, because I always like to see where I ran, and how long I ran for. One thing I wish was included is the background music that was on the original podcast. It just seems like you are told every so often when to change up the pace. It is nice that you can use your own music, but I really enjoyed the pace of the music on the podcast.

Once you press start, this screen pops up with the time left, which stage you are at, distance, and average pace. It’s easy to read, and you can pause the workout if you want to.

There is another tab called “Log” where you can select a smiley (or sad) face depending on how the workout made you feel, plus write down some thoughts from the workout. You then have the option to post to Facebook or Twitter, if that’s your style.

Next, there is a tab with 5k events near you. It lists all the ones that are coming up and some even give you a discount for registering on select races.

Finally, the settings tab lets you adjust certain futures such as the trainer, voice volume and music options.

Overall, I like this app a lot, from the limited exposure to it I’ve had. Once I’ve used it for a few weeks, I’ll be back with my experience, but for now, I’m excited to use it.

Download here for the iPhone (.99)
Download here for Android (1.99)

June 19, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Connecting With Other Doctors Now Easier Than Ever, Thanks to docBeat Physician Network

A few months ago, an app was released to help better connect physicians with one another. docBeat, created by Sunny Tara and Dr. Dhiraj Narula, is free and available for the iPhone. The app is secure and can only be accessed by licensed physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. However, docBeat is currently working on an app and web version that will allow clinical staff to have secure text messaging with doctors, nurse practitioners and PA’s as well.

Medical professionals who use this app are given a second, private number that is shown to other doctors but is connected to the smart phone they are using. This allows a doctor to maintain privacy of their personal line. One of the cool things about this app is that the user will be able to tell immediately whether the doctor  (or nurse) they are contacting is available, and, if not, a number to reach them is made available. The app has a directory with information about every single physician and hospital in the United States.

With so many doctors turning to social media and smart phones, it only makes sense for doctors to use this tools to communicate with one another. However, Sunny Tara said this isn’t necessarily the case, and a lot of time is wasted trying to get in contact with one another.

There is a big gap in the tools doctors use to communicate. If you look at what they use, it’s still 1950s switchboard technology. Even though 90 percent of doctors have smart phones, they will use switchboards and pagers.

Tara believes that this app will improve efficiency in clinics and hospitals, which will in turn improve care:

If you make doctor’s more efficient, it will improve patient care. In the end we will all be winners.

Just to get a better feel for what a user of this app will see, here are a few screen shots provided by Apple:

This is the basic directory for the app. It looks easy to navigate. Notifications show up whenever a text or call from another doctor or nurse is sent.

This actually shows what a contact card  looks like. As you can see, “Lisa Smith” is busy and has another doctor on-call for her. It’s nice because users are able to add personal messages, describing why they are busy and when they will be back.

I definitely agree with Tara; the way those in the medical field communicate could be improved. Not only would this decrease the amount of time waiting to see if someone is busy (because, even when  a doctor isn’t busy, it seems like they are sometimes impossible to get a hold of), but other details, such as the on-call doctor, is readily available. What might have taken a significant amount of time in the past can be done in only a matter of a few minutes. I’d love to see more doctors grasping this idea. It does seem like it would increase efficiency and making certain processes go more smoothly in the office.

The app is free for certified medical professionals, however, the company is planning on releasing a more “premium app” in July that does have a fee. docBeat was created to be HIPAA compliant and to avoid potential liability issues. The app can be downloaded here for the iPhone.

June 18, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.