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Is mHealth Poised to Explode? Infograph Showing Growth of mHealth

The more that I discover, the more I love infographics. There’s just something about them that draws me in. I mean, some of the information listed on different infographics would probably be less-than-interesting presented by itself, or jumbled together with a bunch of other textual facts. However, adding some pictures and some colorful text makes it so much easier to read.

I found this as I was perusing Pinterest (it’s not just for finding meals, or sewing projects. A post on mHealth in Pinterest coming soon.) As you can see, this infographic poses the questions “Is mHealth poised to explode?”

These stats are crazy. There are more than 10,000 health apps in the iTunes App store? Sure, some of those are useless, but even after weeding those out, there’s so many. I think mHealth has a huge potential to change the way we view and access health care. The possibilities are endless! It was interesting, however, that 88 percent of doctor’s want their patients to monitor vital stats at home. How accurate could this be? This raises the question, will people actually do that? People don’t always do what their doctor’s advise, either because they don’t feel like it, or they forget. So what makes doctor’s think patients will actually track their vital stats? Maybe if they are using a mobile app, it will be easier, especially if there are reminders embedded into the app.

I’m interesting in finding out more about the apps listed at the end of this. They all seem pretty cool, and show just how innovative mHealth is becoming. Look for some posts on those in the future.

I definitely agree with the 40 percent of doctors that believe mobile technology will reduce the number of visits to the doctor. I’ve seen this to be true in my own life, as I’ve been able to find answers to some of my questions without having to call and bother my doctor in the middle of the night, or going to the doctor unnecessarily. If mHealth can safely reduce the number of visits to the doctor’s office, I feel like everyone would benefit: Less people would be paying unnecessary co-pays, doctor’s offices would be less crowded, resulting in less waiting time for patient’s that actually need to be there.

I love this time that we live in there. There are so many opportunities available, and ways to better how we live. To answer the questions asked by this infograph, we are just at the beginning of the mHealth explosion. It will be exciting to see what will come about in the near future.

July 31, 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.

5 Must Have Mobile Apps for Runners

There are a lot of apps out there for runners. The question is, which ones are worth downloading? I’ve gone through quite a few different map trackers and I think I have a pretty good idea of my favorite ones. However, there are also a lot of other great apps that extend beyond map trackers. So here is a round-up of apps every runner should download:

1. Instant Heart Rate: Keeping your heart rate within an appropriate range for your age, height, and weight is essential in obtaining an optimal workout. Heart rate monitors can be pricey, however, so not many people have one. Luckily, there is a heart rate monitor that is available for your phone! Instant Heart Rate, which has an almost 5-star rating from almost 81,000 reviews. The description in the Google Play Store says that its “accuracy is constantly tested by fitness coaches, nurses, doctors, EMTs, and 5 million users.” It’s very simple to use — the user just puts their finger onto their phone’s camera and the heart rate will display in a few seconds. It’s actually a pretty neat app, and I like using this a whole lot more than trying to find my own pulse. If you are looking to optimize your runs (or other workouts!), this is a great app to have on your phone.

Download for Android phones here for free

Download for the iPhone here for .99

2. MapMyRun: This app is one of my favorites, and is part of the MapMyFitness suite. It simply tracks where you run using real-time GPS. I’ve found it to be very accurate, and I love being able to see exactly where I ran and how far I ran for. It can be connected to your MapMyRun.com account, which is an awesome website in itself. I like being able to search other runners routes that are near you, because it helps me find some variety. If you like bragging about your workouts, you can post directly to Facebook how fast and how far you ran. However, if your MPH is rather embarrassing like mine, you can just leave that information out! There are a lot of GPS running trackers out there, but I’ve found this one to be the easiest to use, and the cleanest interface.  It also tracks calories burned, information on nutrition, and more. Another very popular one is RunKeeper, which boasts of having no advertising.

Download for Android phones here

Download for the iPhone here

3. Adidas miCoach: One of the hardest parts of running, at least in my opinion, is getting the motivation to do it. Quite often the thought goes through my head “Go outside in the hot, sweat a ton, and feel sore the rest of the day or stay home in my air conditioned house and catch up on my reality TV shows”, and I want to pick the latter. However, that’s not a good way to stay in shape. So, for anyone out there who needs an extra boost, the Adidas miCoach is a great app. It uses real-time voice coaching to encourage and educate you on parts of your workout, lets you select a workout plan that is ideal for your personal  goals and body type, and many other interesting features. It even has a “shoe usage” feature that sends you alerts on how worn out your shoes are getting. So if you want your own personal trainer talking you through your runs, this is a great app to have.

Download for Android here

Download for iPhone here

4. Daily Ab Workout: A person can’t be in truly great shape just by running. You have to eat right, get enough sleep, and incorporate other workouts as well. Having a strong core is essential for running, so the Daily Ab Workout app is great to use in accordance with any running regimen. It has three ab work outs that last between 5 and 10 minutes each, and the reviews rave about it. Unlike a lot of apps similar to this on smart phones, there are full-length videos included, not just pictures or written instructions. It’s add free and has different workout modes you can select from. I haven’t used this app extensively yet, but I plan to in the future. Either way, I think it’s another app anyone who is committed to getting in better shape and becoming a better runner should have.

Download for Android here for .99

Download for iPhone here for .99

5. Epic Runner: After all the training and hard work that comes with running, it’s nice to see those efforts pay off. What better way than running in a 5K, half-marathon, or even marathon. While finding a race can be done online, this app makes it easy to find races and get a running plan that is customized for that date. It shows you a map of the races you have found in your area, and also has a fitness couch incorporated. One of the neatest features, in my opinion, is Running Calculator. It basically takes your running stats from previous runs and predict race results according to that, even down to racing categories such as age and sex. This app does cost money, but seems pretty handy.

Download for Android here

Run Tracker:

Keep you well-rounded: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tinymission.dailyabworkoutpaid&feature=related_apps#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEwOSwiY29tLnRpbnltaXNzaW9uLmRhaWx5YWJ3b3Jrb3V0cGFpZCJd

July 30, 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.

El Camino Hospital Provides a Mobile App for the Family Medical Officer

If you have kids, keeping track of all of their medical history can be an incredible burden. As someone that never once went to an emergency room before I was married, but have since been at least a couple of times a year, learning to keep track of it all has taken some time.

El Camino Hospital, the hospital of Silicon Valley, is now providing Family Medical Officers with an app to make managing family healthcare a little bit easier.  Here are some features of the app:

–  My Family & Me: FMOs can keep track of their families medical history (e.g., diagnosis and other information). Feature is password-protected.

–  Library Resource: Offers access to a comprehensive health library, a drug reference and a health encyclopedia.

–  Emergency Response: Provides current wait times for El Camino Hospital’s emergency rooms in Mountain View and Los Gatos, CA. Users can dial 911 with the touch of a button, as well as view a checklist of things to bring if they require a visit to the ER.

–  Find a Doctor: Users can search for an El Camino Hospital physician by name, specialty or location.

–  Visiting El Camino Hospital: Provides access to turn-by-turn directions to El Camino Hospital facilities, campus maps, visiting hours and other useful information.

It appears to be a relatively useful app, and I can imagine that apps like this will only get better as time and technology improves.  The app is currently available for free on Android and Apple devices.

July 23, 2012 I Written By

More People Have Mobile Phones than Electricty

When I first saw this chart it really knocked my socks off because it was so astounding to me. Check it out:

I’m not sure how this works exactly, but it say that more people have a mobile phone than have electricity. Do they take it into “town” to a charging station kind of like how many go for water? Unrelated is how many people don’t have safe drinking water. That’s a topic for a different blog, but it makes me sad to think about.

I’ve always thought that the mobile health opportunity internationally was tremendous. In so many countries they’re a mobile first internet community. Many won’t ever use a PC and internet in a web browser on a PC. Their only way to connect will be through a mobile device.

This is why mobile health is such a tremendous opportunity. So much good can come from it if it’s implemented properly. I look forward to seeing it happen.

July 20, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

App Helps Potential Skin Cancer Victims Track Moles

The other day, I read an article that stated 1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer at some point in their life. That is a very scary statistic. So when I came across an article about a free skin cancer screening app that was recently released by the University of Michigan Health System, I was intrigued.

Basically, this app is helps people monitor moles and other skin lesions that could potentially turn into skin cancer. The user takes a picture of worrisome moles, it stores the photos and allows you to compare any changes over time. This isn’t the first app of its kind, but one difference is that it sends reminders to the user to monitor their moles on a regular basis. I think that would be pretty handy, as I think I would forget.

One part of this app that I liked is “risk factor calculator”. It asks a few questions, such as region, sex, and a few other things, and determines how many people with those demographics will get skin cancer. For me, it indicated that .55 people out of 1000 with my similar features would get skin cancer in their lifetime.

This app has the user do a full-body survey, and upon completion, a total of 23 photos and 7 poses are taken. The creators of the app feel like this app, if done on a regular basis, would be helpful to take to doctor’s appointments concerning possible skin cancer. In the future, the creators hope to connect doctors to the app that could examine pictures taken. Here are a few screen shots from the app.

It seems to be fairly easy to navigate and make where lesions are. I like how on the front screen (last screenshot here), it tells you when you need to do your next self exam and indicates how many lesions are being tracked. The app also has an “info” section, that gives tips on how to stay safe in the sun.

Another app that is available for skin cancer is called “Skin Scan” for 4.99 through the iPhone. The app takes the pictures of moles and lesions and gives them a rating on how likely that mole is to be a part of skin cancer. It apparently predicts accurately about 70 percent of the time. Having technology determine this, especially when there is a 30 percent chance it is wrong, is kind of scary. I wouldn’t want to be the person who was told by the app that they likely didn’t have melanoma, only to find out later that I did. I haven’t seen the app, but I would hope that there is a warning stating that the results can’t replace seeing an actual doctor or dermatologist.

Overall, I like the idea of this app. Awhile back, my husband had some moles that could have been worrisome, so we monitored them for awhile. However, we had a hard time remembering what the moles looked like previously, therefore not being able to determine if there had been changes. While we could have taken pictures, it would be nice just to have a place that automatically stores them to a specific location.

UMSkinCheck is available for the iPhone, for free, and can be downloaded here. It has an almost 5 star rating, compared to the 2 star rating that Skin Scan has.

July 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.

SleepRate: Improves Your Sleep by Monitoring Your Heart

Recently, I haven’t been sleeping well.  We all go through times like this where for whatever reason you just don’t sleep well.  You may have trouble falling asleep, the sleep may not be very restful, you may not be getting enough, or you may even be getting too much.  Generally, I have no idea why I am sleeping poorly which is really frustrating because there is not a whole lot I can do about it, other than take some sleeping pills.

With all of the apps and gadgets flooding the market, there are tons of things you can buy now that will monitor your sleep and claim to help you sleep better in some way.  One of these devices takes an interesting approach at improving your sleep: it monitors your heart.

SleepRate is a cloud based mobile service that allows customers to monitor their sleep using many widely available heart-rate monitors.  Using the ECG that these monitors can detect, SleepRate can analyze your sleeping patterns, and help suggest solutions to improve your sleep.

I love that the system is “device agnostic” as they like to refer to it.  You are not tied to their one offering that may not fit your exact needs.  They simply provide a service using devices that many people already have, and their compatibility list for both iOS and Android devices is growing everyday.  They just recently announced compatibility with Zephyr, RunKeeper, Wearlink, and Wahoo ANT+.

Sleep is one of the most essential parts of our lifestyle, and it is really no surprise that your heart could provide vital information to how well you are sleeping.  Now with the SleepRate system you can have access to that information to improve the way you sleep, and help improve your overall health.

July 18, 2012 I Written By

Happtique Releases Draft Standards For Certification Process

Happtique, a catalog of health apps that can be found in the iTunes App Store, has been mentioned a few times here at Smart Phone Health Care. The company recently released its draft standards that will be used under its certification program for fitness, medical, and health apps. The 15 page document can be found here. Until August 15, Happtique is allowing for people to comment on these standards here.

According to this article about Happtique and its draft standards, these standards differ from the ones that were published in a draft by the FDA last year. The goal of Happtique is to list and sell apps in their catalog based on their efficiency, and standards of “operability, privacy, security, and reliability of content.” CEO of Happtique Ben Chodor recently spoke about the certification process, and its necessity because of how many medical, health, and fitness apps that are currently available and the difficulty involved in discerning the good from the bad:

We believe the certification process will lead to the identification of truly high quality apps, thereby giving healthcare professionals and consumers alike the confidence they need in the apps they are recommending or using.

The more I hear about Happtique, the more I am impressed. I think I would rather have this company certifying apps, than having the FDA regulating them. It will be interesting to see the catalog and which apps meet their standards. As I look around at different health, medical, and fitness apps, it is difficult at times to determine if an app is worth downloading or not, especially when it’s newer and there aren’t too many reviews out.

July 17, 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.

10 Steps For Helping Patients Become Involved With mHealth

mHealth is here to stay. However, along with some caregivers, many patients may be hesitant to jump on the band wagon because they aren’t comfortable with handling health matters virtually. Bryce Williams, director of health and wellness at Blue Shield of California, was recently featured on a panel concerning patient engagement in mHealth. During the panel, he discussed 10 steps that should be taken to help with engaging patients in mobile and online health and wellness programs. These steps were: 7. Don’t rely on financial and other extrinsic incentives.

  1. Don’t be academic
  2. Make it fun
  3. Don’t build walled gardens
  4. Use trusted recruiters
  5. Encourage health competition
  6. Create a clear objective
  7. Don’t rely on financial and other extrinsic incentives
  8. Change it up
  9. Learn from the winners
  10. Measure it

These are some great ideas. Such as, beginning with a goal of 10,000 feet a day, and then changing that goal to 15,000. People tend to like a challenge, and if they become to accustom to a certain task, they may stop doing it. I think what is most important is making mHealth apps easy to use and fun. If something takes an hour to get into, freezes up the all the time, and then has no “fun” quality to it, who is going to use it? Probably no one. While it seems like people in their teens and twenties probably had social media and technology programmed in their brains from the time they were born, older generations may have a hard time using mHealth, so it needs to be easy to use.

What do you think about this? Should more companies be aware of the consumer and their needs when creating mobile platforms for patients to use?

More information on these steps can be found at this article on FierceMobileHealthCare.com

July 16, 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.

My Coupon Doc Makes Health Care More Affordable

Although I’ll never rank among the people on Extreme Couponers, I like finding a good deal is much as the next person (okay, maybe a little more). So, when I saw My Coupon Doc on Bostinno’s list of   Twitter pages to follow in a recent post, I knew I had to check it out.

Basically, My Coupon Doc is a searchable database for health care coupons and discounts. We all know that just about anything related to health care can bring up quite the hefty bill, so finding a deal is almost a must. My Coupon Doc takes the searching out of the deal hunting. Sometimes it is hard to know if something is legitimate or not (I won’t tell you how many times my mom has been suckered into one of those texting scams, that claim to give you a coupon, but really just subscribe you to a 9.99/month a service), but everything on My Coupon Doc should be.

The website is easy to navigate and the process is simple. The about page for My Coupon Doc explains it as follows:

The process is simple — search by medication or illness to find coupons that are relevant to you, or if you want to just see all the discounts we have available take a look at our coupon directory. We’ve indexed over 400 coupons on the most common prescription and over-the-counter medications out there. All you have to do is click on the redeem button, fill out any of the required information, print the coupon, and take it with you to the pharmacy. A few minutes of work can lead to hundreds of dollars in savings annually.

Back in January, my doctor recommended that I take Prevacid to help control my heart burn. Well, I sent my husband to the store, and back he came with it…and a receipt indicating it cost over $30. For that reason, I decided to check and see if Coupon Doc could find me a coupon. And that it did. I simply typed in “Prevacid” and up it came with a $4 off coupon! Combined with some other coupons I’ve collected, the cost of that OTC medication could be reduced significantly. However, when I clicked on the “Redeem” button, it took me to the Prevacid website, and I had to search around for the coupon. Unfortunately, it was for $3 instead of $4, but at least there was some kind of coupon there. I tried a few other medications, and without fail, each time a discount was brought up.

I’ve only been using this site for a few minutes, and I’m already sold! You can search by the name of a specific medication, or a specific condition. It couldn’t be easier. While yes, a little bit of Google searching may yield similar results, it’s nice to have a website that takes the middle man out. I’d love to see even more discounts and coupons added — perhaps suggestions for low-cost doctors, or a list of dentists that give free initial appointments?

Be sure to follow My Coupon Doc on Twitter!

July 11, 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.

Superproof Social Game: Getting and Staying Health With Friends Can Be Fun

A recent article from Bostinno.com listed 30 Healthcare Tech Startups and Apps to follow on Twitter. A lot of these startups are creating some pretty neat things for mHealth, so I’m going to talk about a few of them over the next few weeks.

First up, Superproof. This app, as described on its website, is a social game for iPhone + Internet. It helps make exercising more social, competitive, and interactive. As I’ve found with doing Couch-to-5K with my brother, sister, and husband, and posting my results on Facebook afterwards, it is encouraging to have other people cheering you on as you try and meet fitness and health goals.

Basically, the app lets you create goals (such as running a certain amount each month, or doing something active 15 times during the month), send “challenges” to friends, and earn points and trophies. After seeing the success of trophies in the social media platform, FourSquare, I can see how obtaining these different trophies might be motivating for some people.

Here is a quick video from the website, showing a few of the apps features:

One aspect of the app that I thought was pretty neat is being able to “create a vice.” Here, as demonstrated in the video, you can put in some kind of food or drink, perhaps a treat that you are particularly tempted by, and the amount of calories that is in that time, and it will tell you how many calories you’ve burned in terms of that item (i.e., if a candy bar is 250 calories, and you burned 500 calories, it would indicate that 2 candy bars had been burned.) It kind of helps one to visualize not just how much they burned, but the amount of effort it takes to burn something off. I mean, it takes only a minute or so to eat a candy bar, but a lot more time, sweat, and effort is put into burning it off.

As with most health and exercise apps, you can share your results on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Encouragement from friends and family through these mediums can really help. I know I’m always excited when someone comments on something I’ve posted, encouraging me to keep running. Having everyone you know involved in fitness is cool. The website for Superproof poses the following questions about this very subject:

Q. You know what’s super boring?
A. Looking at a map of someone else’s run, or hearing about a friend’s trip to the gym.

Q. You know what’s super tought?
A. Convincing a couch-friendly friend to join you on a bike ride.

Q. Ok, so what’s super awesome?
A. Getting your friends involved in building and maintaining an exercise routine. Just because you only have a small number of friends who like working up a fine sweaty lather, doesn’t mean they can’t help you.

 It’s true, and I love how so many apps encourage you to share it with people. I know that when I saw other people posting maps of their runs, or about meeting their fitness goals, it was motivating to me to do it as well. I haven’t had a chance to try out this app, but I’m planning on it.
Superproof is available for the iPhone (for free!) and can be downloaded here. It only has 12 ratings but all have been five star. Be sure to follow Superproof on Twitter for updates, answers to your questions, and more!

July 10, 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.