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Amiigo: A New Wearable Device About To Hit The Market

Wearable fitness devices are a dime-a-dozen. Whenever I go to the store, or read up on the latest mHealth news, I feel like I’m seeing another one. Just like I said about food diaries, the device really needs to have features that set it apart from others. Amiigo is one that’s just about to be released, and it definitely is something I think people are going to be interested in.

Started by a team of Salt Lake City Entrepreneurs, Amiigo is a Bluetooth fitness device that is be worn as a bracelet and shoe clip. The team was promoting it on Indiegogo and reach their initial goal very quickly. Now, the product is available for pre-order, and in hopes of reaching their $350,000 goal, the team is hosting a contest — the top twocolors voted for on their Indiegogo page will go to production if that goal is reached. They are only about $9,000 away, so if you are interested, be sure to go check out the page.

Not sure if you are interested in voting and investing? Here’s some information about this neat advice

Amiigo 5

Amiigo is sweat-proof and recognizes more than 100 exercises. The device had sensors in the bracelet that detect upper body movements, and the shoe clip detects lower body movements. It uses these sensors to determine what the users full body workout was, and sends the information to the mobile app.

Some other key features include:

  • Tracking Physiological Response: It tracks things like heart rate, blood oxygen level, skin temperature, and calories burned
  • Sharing With Others: Workouts can be shared on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, where friends and family can post encouragement.
  • Power Saving and Comfortable: It has a battery charge of two or more days, and is adjustable so it fits comfortably on just about everyone

From what I can tell, this is going to be an awesome wearable fitness device. I like that it can automatically detect what exercise you are doing and calculate information based on that. It is also available for both Android and iOS. If I had the money, I’d definitely donate some to get this product out quicker, but if you do and this sounds like something you would like, head on over here.

February 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.

Five More Pregnancy Apps for Moms-To-Be By Mobile Mom

Last year, I wrote about must have pregnancy apps for moms-to-be. Recently, I’ve come across a suite of pregnancy apps that I want to add to the must have list.

Mobile Mom — the company behind these apps — aims to put “pregnancy info on your mobile device — anytime, anywhere.” And after downloading and looking at the apps, they basically have everything covered from pre-conception to pregnancy. These are the six apps that can be downloaded:

  • Ovulation Calendar

    This app helps a woman track which days she is most fertile and likely to conceive. It actually gives the six  most fertile days during a month, as well as for the next several months. One feature I liked was that it tells you when the baby’s due date is, if you happened to conceive during that time. Since it gives you dates for about five months, it is a nice visual and good for planning.

  • Pregnancy Test

    No, this isn’t an actual pregnancy test. I don’t think anyone would want to use it if it was. However, if a woman suspects she is pregnant, this app asks several questions pertaining to common early-pregnancy symptoms. After the questions are asked, the app generates the likelihood that a woman is pregnant. I’ve seen similar “quizzes” online, so it’s not totally new, but it looks interested. Obviously, there’s more certain ways to know if you are pregnant, but in those early days where a positive pregnancy test may not show up, it might be nice to have. Though, I’d hate to get my hopes up from this app saying I was probably pregnant, only to have it not be true!

  • Due Date Calculator

    Once a pregnancy is confirmed, this app tells you when your estimate due date is, how long you’ve been pregnant, likely conception date, and when a particular trimester will end. It’s pretty simple. You can also put in your due date, and it will calculate backwards this information.

  • Weight Gain Calculator

    This is probably most women’s least favorite thing to talk about during pregnancy, but it is important to make sure weight gain isn’t too little or too much. I had a website that I went to weekly where I put my weight in and it told me if I was gaining too little, too much, or just the right amount, which I really liked. Having it as a mobile app would have been nice though, because it was just more convenient.

  • Baby Names

    Pretty explanatory, this app just has a big database of baby names. I recommend having something like this on your phone, just for those times when you have some extra time to look at names. It sure beats carrying around one of those big baby name books! This app has more search options than a lot of the apps I’ve used and seen, especially since it is free. You can search by boy or girl names, or by more unique searches, like by a specific initial or meaning.

  • Pregnancy Talk

    This app actually hasn’t been released yet, but I think it would the app I’d be most likely to use. Even though it’s been almost a year since my son was born, I frequent the message boards on BabyCenter.com, just to connect with other moms going through the same things I am. From what I can tell, this app will have a similar function.

To be honest, I feel like some of these apps could have been condensed into one — mainly the first three. I’m not a big fan of downloading an app if it has very few functions, and would be far more likely to download one with those first three feature combined into one. Obviously, most of these apps aren’t really new ideas, but they are well-designed, and if you want all your pregnancy apps to be from the same maker…these aren’t a bad option at all. Some of them have some unique features, which makes them stand out from other apps. I think the fact that all of these are free are the most attractive part of these apps, because many times, the best pregnancy

For the iOS apps, go here

For the Android apps, go here 

February 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.

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.

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.

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.

My Favorite Smart Phone Healthcare Posts of 2012

Since it’s the end of 2012, I thought it would be fitting to put  the links to some of my favorite posts I wrote this last year. Did you have a favorite one? Or is there something you’d like me to talk about this next year? Happy New Year!

1. 5 Must-Have Medical Apps for Medical Students

Because this post appears to be one of the most popular of all-time here at Smart Phone Healthcare, it tops my list. I didn’t realize what a big demand there was for information on apps for medical students. I’m sure even more great apps have come out since I wrote this post, so look for an updated one in the near future.

2. My First (Actual) Experience With A Patient Portal

Over the past several months, I have learned a lot about healthcare and mHealth. During that time, I have heard and read lots of articles and information about patient portals. However, it wasn’t until just a month or so ago that I actually had the opportunity to use one myself. This post recounts that experience using the patient portal my son’s pediatrician’s office uses, powered by eClinical Works.

3. Phreesia Makes Going to the Doctor Easier

After visiting the urgent care a few weeks ago, I discovered how the office I went to was really implementing portable devices into their practice. I was so excited about the process, that I just had to write a post about it. I think that every doctor, emergency room, and urgent care center should use some thing like Phreesia.

4. New Friend Request . . . From the Family Doctor?

Just some of my thoughts about doctors and practices using social media to connect with patients. For some, it might be overstepping the patient/doctor boundaries, but I think it’s great to see doctors getting more involved with patients.

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

Yes, yes it does. At least I think so. How many of us have looked up symptoms online, and convinced themselves that they have some kind of terrible disease? I’m guessing a large majority. Having constant access to the Internet through tablets and smart phones may just increase the number of people doing that.

6. Must Have Pregnancy Mobile Apps

This was my first post here on Smart Phone HC, so of course I had to put it on the list! I really enjoyed writing this post, mainly because pregnancy was something that was on my mind, since I had given birth only a few months before. I think that any woman (or sympathetic man) could really benefit from this post.

January 2, 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.

Fitbit Products Take Fitness to the Next Level

When I was at Best Buy yesterday, a display caught my eye. There were screens demonstrating the product, and from the check out area that I was at, I saw the sign that said, “FitBit.” I had a feeling it was something I would be interested in, so I looked it up right when I got home.

Fitbit offers several different products. I’ll start off by talking about the mobile app, since it’s free and something anyone with a smart phone can use.

The app is basically for tracking fitness and nutrition/food — so another great option for a food/exercise diary. However, it incorporates data from the Fitbit Ultra. This is cool because, using the 3D sensor, it captures data that you may not have entered yourself, so you have a more accurate view of fitness throughout the day, and sleep at night. I really like this, because sometimes it is hard to accurately input the amount of calories burned, or steps taken, into a fitness tracker, so this kind of takes the work out of it. But even if you don’t have any of the Fitbit devices, this app is still helpful. I love the look of it — the colors are vibrant and fun, and the graphics are easy to understand. Users can track their weight, food, exercise, and water, and see their progress and how far they have to go to reach a goal. Download it for iOS devices here and Android here.

On the Fitbit website, there are three devices that are available for purchase right now — the Zip wireless activity tracker, The One wireless activity and sleep tracker, and the Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale. Each of them has unique attributes and features to fit the needs of many different users.

First off, the Zip. This is the cheapest device, only costing 59.99, and probably the most simple. It’s small and comes in a variety of fun, bright colors. Below is a picture of the green model.

 

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It can be used with the mobile apps, and tracks steps, distance, and calories burned. In my opinion, it’s just a hyped-up pedometer, though I’m guessing (and hoping) it is more accurate than some pedometers I’ve used in the past. The Zip can be easily synced with the computer or apps, and helps create a good visual for goals that are been set. It’s small and can clip on to just about any clothing discreetly. Users can also earn badges or challenge friends as well.

Next is “The One.” This device looks like a USB drive. It doesn’t look quite as cool as the Zip does, in my opinion, but it does more. It costs $99.95, and on the description page, it says this device is for those that want to “turn fitness into a lifestyle.” It does everything the Zip does, as well as tracks stairs climbed, but it also has a sleep tracker. It measures and analyzes sleep cycles and offers suggestions for better sleep. I guess it will even wake you up in the morning. It also can be synced to a computer or mobile device.

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I think the thing that I like most about these devices is that it uses the user’ss personal stats (weight, height, etc.) to create an accurate depiction of calories burned. That is definitely not your every day pedometer!

Finally, Fitbit offers the Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale. I’m in the market for a new scale, and this one definitely tops my list. It’s super sleek, and comes in either white or black. At first glance, it looks like it just simply displays the users weight. It not only tracks weight, but BMI and body fat percentage. Like all other Fitbit products, the data can be synced to Fitbit.com, and graphs can be viewed there. And up to eight users can be registered to the scale — the cool part about this? The scale automatically recognizes who is using it. My dad, who loves to try and figure out how much people weigh (much to my dismay…and everyone else’s!), always jokes that the scale in my parent’s house tracks how much people weigh…I guess if he got this scale, that might actually be true – yikes!

The Wi-Fi Smart Scale isn’t cheap — it’s 129.95. However, it offers a lot of really awesome features, and if you can afford it, I think this is definitely a scale to consider.

I think Fitbit is definitely a company to watch. They have some really neat products, and I only anticipate more cool things coming from them in the future.

To purchase any of the products mentioned, visit the Fitbit store here.

December 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.

The Patient’s Guide Reveals How iPhone Dominates Mobile Health Research

Over a 2-year period, The Patient’s Guide compiled information concerning mobile engagement trends from over 12 million visitors. They were looking to see if there was a trend toward mobile computing for healthcare research versus traditional desktop computing, and how big it was. During this research, The Patient’s Guide discovered how the iPhone pretty much dominates in this arena. 

According to the research, these are the top 10 devices used for finding medical information:

1. iPhone

2. iPad

3. iPod

4. Sony Xperia

5. Samsung Galaxy

6. HTC EVO

7. Motorola Dorid

8. Blackberry

9. HTC INcredible

10. T-Mobile MyTouch

I’m not surprised by these results at all. I mean, almost every health app I look at is available for the iPhone, many available for Android devices, and it’s really hit or miss for Blackberry or Windows’ devices. Not only did this study determine this top ten list, but also found the following interesting facts:

  • 94% increase in consumer medical searches using iPhone in 2012 when compared to 2011
  • An estimated 1.5 million searched for medical information using their iPhone in the last 12 months using Patient’s Guide websites alone
  • iPhone captures 41% of total mobile medical traffic
  • 20% male/80% female searching for medical information online
  • 1 in 3 cell phone owners (31%) have used their phone to look for health information

information submitted by Brittney Roberts, Director of Marketing Communications at The Patient’s Guide

I found a lot of these findings fascinating, particularly that 80 percent of those searching for medical information online are females. It makes sense to me, at least from what I’ve been exposed to. I look at my husband and I. I’m always online, researching different ailments that I’m sure one of us has, and then there’s my husband, who I doubt has ever even been to WebMD. Perhaps women tend to worry more, or even just feel more of an obligation to search out medical information? Who knows. Either way, it’s an interesting finding.

And again, it’s amazing just how many people are using the iPhone. Personally, I don’t like the iPhone, but obviously, it’s very popular, especially among people wanting health information. I wonder why that is — any suggestions?

And finally, it’s crazy that a 1/3 of cell phone users have used their phone to look up health information. I’m not sure if that’s referring to those with smart phones, or just all cell phone users in general, but still, crazy. Though, part of me is surprised it isn’t more.

The news release about this suggests that there are number of different factors influencing these trends, such as “government regulations and insurance reimbursements, as well as the evolution of mobile computing devices such as the new iPad mini.” I definitely feel like this numbers are only going to continue to grow. mHealth just makes things so much more convinient in my opinion (for the most part, at least.)

The Patient’s Guide also created a neat infographic concerning the data found in their study:

To learn more about the study conducted by The Patient’s Guide, follow this link to the infographic/news release.

December 12, 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.

MyCrisisRecords Offers Peace of Mind In Emergency Situations

It’s always nice to get feedback from readers, especially when they alert me to other apps. With some of my recent lists, I can’t always post all the great apps pertaining to a particular topic. While I try to do a thorough job researching, I obviously have room for error just because of the vast number of apps out there. So I definitely encourage readers and app creators to let us know if you have a great app that I should talk about. On that note, the CEO and founder of My Crisis Record contacted us about his service, and I thought it would be good to talk about. I focus a lot on mHealth apps around here, and this is an alternative to having all your medical information stored in an app.

MyCrisisRecords offers a place to store medical information safely and remotely and access them in a variety of ways, depending on the membership plan they choose. There are a few different plans, ranging from free to 14.99 a year. The free membership includes access to their Personal Health Care Record (PHRC) online, while the 14.99 plan has a lot more options. You can register here and view all the details of each plan, but here are a few features that can be used.

  • MY Crisis Card: This is a card that you put in your wallet that has a personalized QR code on it. A medical professional and emergency responder can take the card, scan the code, and all your medical information will be displayed on their smartphone or tablet.
  • MyShareFile: This allows the user to upload diagnostic files to their PHCR, so they can be easily shared and accessed by medical professionals.
  • My Crisis Capsule: A flash-drive like device that contains all your medical information (that you have submitted to your profile) pops up as soon as it is
  • Mobile: The ability to access your PHRC mobiley

After I registered, I went to see what kind of information you could enter. And I wasn’t disappointed. They sure didn’t seem to leave anything out. This could definitely be very helpful in case of an emergency. I like how there are different plans available, just according to whatever your needs are, and even the most expensive plan isn’t that bad. The information is stored securely and can only be accessed on the web with a password.

I did find the website to be a bit confusing. At this point, I’m not entirely sure if everyone gets the My Crisis Capusle, regardless of the plan they sign up for, or if it is only included in the highest plan. I also found it hard to find the information I was looking for at times (like the prices for plans), and it was a little information heavy in some places.

Overall, this program should definitely be one that anyone wanting to be a little more prepared should look into. It’s a nice alternative to storing the information on a mobile app, or on paper, though it can be accessed both those ways (a copy of the PHRC can be printed off if desired.)

December 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.