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Track Infants Growth With BeCuddle iPhone App

When there’s a baby around, it’s sometimes hard to keep track of time. At least that’s how I feel. Especially in those first few months, with round the clock feedings, erratic nap schedules, and doctor’s appointments. BeCuddle, a new app created just for parents, aims to  make life a little bit easier.

BeCuddle not only makes it easy to keep track of diaper changes and feedings, but milestones, growth, and even medicine. There’s quite a few apps out there that help with each of these things, but this is the first one I’ve seen that combine them all into one.

There are several categories that can be tracked — sleep, feeding, growth, milestones and medical.

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Because of all the health problems my son has had, I really like the medical section. It has the option to add doctors visits, record vaccines, and, my favorite, keep track of medicines. My son has been on at least one medication since he was just one month old, and it has sometimes been hard to remember when we gave him what. Obviously, an infants medicine intake needs to be carefully monitored, and I would have loved to have something like this.

This app really makes it easy to keep track of growth of an infant. I think it could also be helpful to show a pediatrician, such as if they are inquiring about how much a baby is eating, their urine output, or milestones. Half the time when we are at the doctor and discussing things, I have no idea what to say, and it would be so nice to be able to pull out my phone and give some hard facts.

Overall, I really liked this. Although my son is quickly leaving the infant stage (he’ll be one on March 6th!,) I will definitely keep this in mind for our next baby. It is available for the iPhone only right now, though I hope it will be available for Android as well. One specifically made for the iPad would be nice too. It’s also free, which makes it even better in my eyes.

Download for free here.

January 30, 2013 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.

Is The Microsoft Surface Perfect For Hospitals?

It’s no secret that there are a few tablets that rule the tablet world. There’s the iPad, obviously, and then the Samsung Galaxy 2, and even the Google Nexus 7. And most of these tablets run with either the iOS or Android. Since many apps that physicians are probably using run with one of these two systems,

However, Microsoft’s attempt to jump into the tablet marketplace might just be a game-changer, and app developers may want to consider it. With the announcement that the Surface, the tablet created by Microsoft, will be shipping out with the new Windows 8 OS. And according to HIStalk Mobile, this might be the perfect tablet for hospitals. Here are a few of the reasons listed:

  • Microsoft is the first company to offer a tablet and laptop that have identical operating systems.  This will “reduce the learning curve, and thus the productivity loss, of a first-time tablet user.”
  • The Surface will be able to run Windows 8 Pro, which means it has the capability of running PC-based software without Citrix or VMware connection. This is the first tablet that can do this, so EMR software, barcode scanner drivers, and more can be used directly from the tablet.

I’ll admit, when my husband and I were looking at tablets a few weeks ago, we were very tempted by the Surface, but decided against it, mainly because of the lack of apps available. The article points out that this may not be the tablet “end-users would pick for themselves,” which I agree with. However, because of all the features, and its capability run EMR software, I think it’s definitely going to be a big competitor for physicians and hospitals to use. I’d love to see more apps for patients to be developed for it as well. I think that when that starts happening, Microsoft will really have secured a permanent spot in the tablet marketplace, especially for people wanting to use it for health-related purposes.

It will be interesting to see if it is as successful as anticipated with hospitals. I think for those that may not have gotten tablets because they are nervous about trying out the iOS or Android systems, it will be a tempting offering, especially if they already know and understand Microsoft.

January 28, 2013 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.

CDC Releases Influenza App

Flu season is in full swing, and if the amount of news articles I’ve read about it is any indicator of how serious it has been, I’m surprised no one I know has gotten it yet. In an attempt to help educate people about what’s going on, and how to prevent getting the flu themselves, the CDC launched an app totally dedicated to it. It’s name is plain and simple — CDC Influenza. 

It seems as if the CDC is getting rather tech-savvy, with the recent release of their new mobile app. And apparently, the CDC feels that the influenza outbreak this year is serious enough to warrant it’s own mobile app. Unfortunately, unlike the CDC app, it’s only available for iOS devices, so anyone with an Android phone or tablet is out of luck. Luckily, my husband and I just purchased an iPad mini, so I can actually review it.

Before I downloaded it, I saw this article about the app. It talks about the mixed reviews of the app, but how it is overall helpful. I found myself feeling the same way as I browsed through the options. Here is the menu, and what the app has to offer:

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Overall, I found everything to be very information-heavy. I found pages of information that I didn’t really want to read. There are a lot of different sections though, so anyone that is interested in the flu might find it useful. I think it’s good that the app includes information about the vaccination and the safety of it, because I know that’s an issue of concern with a lot of people.

I did like that there was a map which showed where the flu was, and how widespread it was. As you can see below, it’s pretty much everywhere. That’s enough to make me want to coop up inside until Spring!

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The app seemed a little bit slow and jumpy to me. It seemed like every few minutes, a box that says “Updating Content…” would pop up, and for the next few minutes, the app was unusable. I’m not sure why that happened — perhaps there is just a lot of important updates?

This definitely seems more like an app for physicians to download. I think it’s probably important for them to be informed about the current situation and be able to access this information while visiting with patients. I could imagine our physician using this app on his tablet to answer questions. For just anyone though, I think this isn’t the most user-friendly app, as it’s more just informative, unless the person is really interested in learning about influenza.

January 23, 2013 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.

Beware of Skin Cancer Detection Apps

Back in July, I wrote a post about two skin cancer detection apps. For anyone worried about getting skin cancer or wanting to monitor moles or skin lesions, these types of apps seem very helpful. However, BBC News recently warned people about relying on these apps, and that the use may actually delay skin cancer diagnosis.

Four popular apps that supposedly can help someone determine if a mole is cancerous or not were reviewed by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh. In the test, 188 pictures of skin cancer and other skin conditions were compared to the app. Almost one-third of the time, three of the four apps determined a cancerous lesion to be not harmful. The fourth app misdiagnosed 1 out of every 58 moles, largely because photos submitted to the app were reviewed by a skin specialist.

One of the researchers for the study was Professor Laura Ferris. She warned about the danger of having apps replace actual medical advice.

It is important that users don’t allow their apps to take the place of medical advice and physician diagnosis. If they see a concerning lesion but the smartphone app incorrectly judges it to be benign, they may not follow up with a physician.

After Wednesday’s post about the study that showed 35 percent of Americans consulting the Internet about health problems, reading this article worried me. As I mentioned, of the 35 percent, 38 percent felt they could treat the problem at home. It makes me wonder how many of that 38 percent should be going to the doctor, even if they feel confident in their self-diagnosis?

I don’t think that these skin cancer apps are the only ones that consumers need to be careful about. Although mHealth apps are very helpful (for the most part), I think it’s important for consumers to realize that mHealth apps aren’t meant to replace doctors (even though it does seem like some could!, but to act as a complement. Especially with something as serious as skin cancer — I don’t think I’d want to be diagnosing myself.

January 22, 2013 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.

Google Gets Into Activity Tracking

Fierce Mobile Healthcare has a great article up talking about Google entering the activity tracking market with an Android app called Google Now. Turns out that Google Now is a lot more than just a fitness activity tracker. I think that Google looks at Google Now as the smart part of your phone that keeps track of what you’re doing and tries to provide real time information based upon all the data about you. It’s the next level Siri if you want to think about it that way. So, it makes sense that Google Now would also try and understand your health in the process.

While it’s interesting to see Google get back into the Health game after the failure of Google Health to get any traction, I think this is a really smart move. Plus, why isn’t the smartphone your activity tracking device? I know very few people who leave their house without their smartphone, but I know very few people who want to wear any other device all day every day.

Sure, your smartphone won’t track your activity level perfectly, but it can get pretty close. The battery won’t last as long as the other activity trackers along with other issues. However, when you look a the core technology in the fitness trackers and your smartphone, they are pretty close. I’ll reach out to some of my mHealth device friends to get their thoughts on the difference. Maybe there are a number of other issues I’m not thinking about.

We’ll see how this evolves, but the more we can make mHealth activity tracking a normal part of people’s routine, the more likely we’ll see results from it.

January 18, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 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.

Thirty-Five Percent of Americans Consult Internet For Health Information

Every  morning before I get out of bed, I look at all the headlines on my news widget. The last section I usually look at is the health news. Today, a headline caught my attention — it said something about thirty-five percent of American adults consult “Dr. Google” to diagnose illness. This definitely sounded like something up my alley, so I read it, and wanted to share the information here.

I couldn’t find the article that I originally read, but this one from CBSNews.com provided the same information. Just today, findings from The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project were published. Here are some of the most interesting findings:

  • 59 percent of adults using the Internet have looked online for health info in the past year
  • 35 percent have sought out information online, specifically trying to diagnose theirs, or someone elses’, medical condition
  • After apparently finding out what their condition was online, 46 percent felt they should seek help from a health provider, 38 percent felt they could treat it at home, and 11 percent said it was in between.
  • 41 percent had a doctor confirm the condition, thirty five percent didn’t consult a physician, and 18 percent were corrected by their physician on what the condition was.

I thought this was all pretty interesting. The study also found that women are more likely to look information up online about health. That sounds about right to me — I don’t think my husband has EVER looked up something about a medical condition online, while I probably do every other day.

I think the fact that almost half of those that looked up information were able to have the condition they “diagnosed” themselves with confirmed with a physician shows how information found online is getting better. The authors did say this though, about these findings:

It is important to note what these findings mean — and what they don’t mean. Historically, people have always tried to answer their health questions at home and made personal choices about whether and when to consult a clinician. Many have now added the internet to their personal health toolbox, helping themselves and their loved ones better understand what might be ailing them. This study was not designed to determine whether the internet has had a good or bad influence on health care. It measures the scope, but not the outcome, of this activity.

What I think this study does show, however, is that it’s now more important than ever to make sure there’s good, reliable information out there for people to consult. A decent percentage of the people surveyed didn’t seek medical attention after their self-diagnosis, and it would be unfortunate if someone got incorrect information and really did need to see a doctor.

If anything, I’m just happy to see that there are others who consult Dr. Google as much as I do!

January 16, 2013 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.

CDC Launches New Mobile App

It was only a matter of time before the CDC developed a mobile app — and it looks like it is jam-packed with features. Unfortunately for me, it isn’t compatible with my mobile device, but I was able to read enough about it, to make me wish I could download it. The CDC is one of my go-to websites, so I’m sure the mobile app is just as good.

Available for most Android and iOS devices, this is free for all. Some of the features include:

  • CDC Health articles: These are written by “subject matter experts and health communicators,” and are on a variety of topics. 
  • Disease of the week: This feature has quizzes, prevention tips, images and videos pertaining to a certain topic. I like to think of this as “convince yourself that you have this disease” of the week. Okay, not really. But I could see myself doing that.
  • CDC Vital Signs: This contains information that relates to public health topics, and “calls to action” about them. It has information on everything from seatbelt use to HIV testing to obesity.
  • Newsroom: Simple enough, this contains press releases from the CDC. They often release important information, so this might be helpful to have on hand.
  • Podcasts

For those accessing the CDC app from a tablet, it has been optimized to work better there. It can be used on the iPad, and the Google Play Store tested (and fount it to work well) on the Google Nexus 7″, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1″, Amazon Kindle Fire, Motorola Xoom 10.1″, Samsung Galaxy 1, 7″, and the Samsung Galaxy 2, 7″.

From what I can tell, this is a great resource. For anyone that follows the CDC on a regular basis, this is a must-have. I think it would be interesting if the CDC would add some kind of notification system — if there’s an outbreak of illness or disease on someone’s area, they would be instantly notified. That could end up causing widespread panic, but I think it could be a great feature. Overall though, I wish I could download this app to my phone, because it does have a lot of different functions.

As I mentioned, this is a free app available for both Android and iOS devices.

January 14, 2013 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.

mHealth Trend Predictions For 2013

On the healthcare section of InformationWeek.com, I read an article about Health IT Predictions for 2013. Not all of them dealt with mHealth, but several did. I thought it would be interesting to post those few ideas here and then come back at the end of the year to see how true they were.

  • HIEs and body sensors will drive growth in analytics and data mining: First of all, I feel like I see a new body sensor on the market every day. Because of this, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see body sensors leading the way in mHealth, particularly when it comes to gathering information. I think that HIEs and body sensors are definitely becoming mainstream, and it won’t be long before we see them being used in doctor’s offices and patients every where
  • Patients will become more responsible for care: I think many patients are beginning to see the importance of being responsible for their care. I know I am. And with the help of mHealth, it is easier than ever. The article said that “mobile access to personal information will promote the migration to a more patient-centered model, encouraging individual engagement and responsibility in healthcare management.” I do think there will be a very apparent shift to this. No longer are the days where patients just totally rely on their doctors for information. I know I’m grateful for access to my personal health records — otherwise, information on my low vitamin d levels may have slipped through the cracks (my PCP’s office ‘misplaced’ the results and forgot to call me).
  • Consumers will dictate the path healthcare technology takes: mHealth is very much driven by the consumer, and the more vocal patients are about what they want, the more likely it will happen. Because of the growth of mHealth, more people might be willing to voice their opinion on what types of technologies and apps they want created. Consumers do have a lot power when it comes to the future of mHealth.
  • Cloud storage and mobile will explode: We have already see the growth and “explosion” of mHealth in the past year or so, and it’s only going to continue. I think 2013 is going to be a huge year for mHealth. I’m excited to see what will happen.

What are some other predictions for mHealth in the coming year? Are there any types of apps or technologies that you’d like to see developed? I think there will be even more doctors and physicians becoming involved in social media, and seeing the benefit in doing so, in addition to some of the things mentioned above.

January 8, 2013 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.

25 Percent of Americans Trust Apps as Much as Doctors

A survey done by Royal Philips Electronics revealed that about one-quarter of Americans trust mHealth apps as much as they would trust their doctor. 

This survey also showed that about 27 percent of those surveyed use mobile apps instead of going to the doctor. Even more interesting, is that 1 in 10 of those surveyed felt that “if it were not for web-based health information, ‘they might already be dead or severely incapacitated.”

I thought this was a very interesting study. The sample size was 1,003 people, with 503 men and 500 men over the age of 18, so I feel like it’s pretty legitimate. At first, I thought it was kind of strange that people trust mHealth apps as much as their doctors, but then I realized…I’m probably in that 25 percent as well. To be honest, I think I sometimes trust the Internet and mHealth apps more than our doctors.

Concerning the study, Dr. Eric Silfen, the Chief Medical Officers of Philips Healthcare, had some interesting thoughts:

We are in the early stages of the web-enabled, mHealth, mobile app world of healthcare delivery. Near-future apps will focus on tying together health information technologies, connecting with doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals and patients, all within a social context that facilitates shared medical decision-making. This evolution will harken the new vital signs of the clinical times with technologies that help prevent medical errors, lower the financial and social cost of care, sustain a higher quality of medical practice and support an evidence-based standard for medicine in general. Ultimately, the technological undercurrents of the post-PC world – the power of many, designer gadgets, cloud ecosystems, and mobile app computing -will hasten the personalization and partnerships that will transform sustainable medical care to the highest quality.

I think in the future, even more people will be trusting their mHealth apps just as much (or even more!) than their doctors. There are so many apps and technologies that are coming out, on what seems like a daily basis, and they are only going to get better. Sometimes, a doctor appointment can be rushed and a patient can leave feeling discouraged about the information they got — having access to so much health information, as well as gadgets that can diagnose illness, might become more popular. Definitely an interesting study though, and encouraging for mHealth app creators.

January 4, 2013 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.

Blood Oxygen Monitor Now Available For iOS Devices

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the smart socks – a device that was designed to prevent SIDS and measure the oxygen saturation level in the blood of infants. While that has a ways to go, I just saw a tweet about a new device designed to do the same thing, using a smart phone. It’s called the iSpO2, and it’s available for the iPhone and iPad.

The device isn’t cheap — Amazon.com has it for over 250 dollars right now. However, most mHealth devices  do require some sort of financial investement, at least the ones that mimic something in the doctor’s office.

The website lists some different people that could benefit from using this device. It  mentions high altitude sports participants and pilots. I thought these were interesting suggestions, since I probably would have just thought of people who were struggling to breathe, or infants. But I guess anyone can become hypoxic, especially those doing something at a high altitude. The site also states that the “only practical way to know if you are hypoxic or in danger of becoming hypoxic is to use a pulse oximeter.” And since most people probably don’t own one, and that’s kind of scary (though, I’m sure there are physical symptoms that may indicate this.)

the iSpO2 monitor attaches to an iPhone or iPad through the charging port, and the oxygen saturation level and pulse rate is measured by placing a sensor on the users hand (not unlike one used in a doctor’s office for children.) The levels are then displayed relatively quickly, and can be charted over time. At sea-level, a normal SpO2 level is between 95 and 100%.

Data can be emailed and downloaded, which is probably helpful for one reason or another. I’ll be honest, I really want one of these devices — or the smart socks — because my son’s SpO2 levels are often spotty at doctor’s appointments (typically in the low 90s). But at the price, I probably won’t be getting one for awhile. I’m hoping we’ll see more devices like those coming out though in the future, there’s definitely a need for them in my opinion — even if it’s just for sporting and aviation.

The website does state that it isn’t intended for medical use, but moreso for climbers, hikers, and pilots. 

January 3, 2013 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.