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Timex SmartWatch Doesn’t Need a Smartphone

We’ve been covering a lot of the movement in the SmartWatch space. It’s a really interesting set of technology since every one of them integrates some piece of healthcare into their technology. One of the features of pretty much every smartwatch out there is that they’re essentially just a second screen for your smartphone. That means you need a smartphone to be able to use the smartwatch. That’s not really too much of an issue since most of us have smartphones.

While it’s true that most people have smartphones, when it comes to health and fitness you often don’t want to carry around your smartphone while you’re running, swimming, biking, etc. With this in mind, I was intrigued by the announcement of the Timex Ironman smartwatch that doesn’t require a smartphone. Here’s a short description from the WSJ article:

The point, for Timex, was to create a device that could keep someone connected during hardcore workouts without having to bring along a smartphone or music player. It’s waterproof down to 50 meters, so it’s fine for swimming and even diving, and has a Qualcomm Mirasol display, which is more visible in direct sunlight than many LCD screens.

The watch tracks a user’s speed, distance traveled and pace in real time, and can share it with friends and family who want to follow along. The wireless connectivity enables the watch to send email messages, and a “find me” mode allows users to send an alert to emergency contacts such as friends and family if trouble arises.

I see this as another great evolution of the smartwatch environment. First, it provides a health and fitness alternative that makes a lot of sense. Second, it’s really interesting to see a company like Timex getting involved in the space. It will be really interesting to see how Timex does developing a touchscreen watch since that’s not their usual skill set.

August 20, 2014 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.

EKG As A Password

I’ve heard a lot of different biometric passwords in my day, but I hadn’t heard of using your EKG as a password until Dr. Patricia Salber pointed it out on her blog, The Doctor Weighs In. Here’s a video of Dr. Salber talking about the new technology called the Nymi.

I can see problems with using the EKG as a password, but I still love that they’re working on it. Maybe it won’t be the cure to passwords that we all want, but this could also be a continuous EKG monitor, no? My feeling is that by digging into the uniqueness of the EKG for personal identification, we’ll discover and learn a lot about our personal EKG.

April 3, 2014 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.

Qualcomm Toq Smartwatch

Most of you will remember my post on the Qualcomm Toq Smartwatch announcement. I just got word that I’m on the list to get one of these watches. I can’t wait to try it out. In fact, I’m even more excited after watching this video demoing the smartwatch:

I can see a number of times I would love to have this smartwatch. I love having my calendar on it. Sure, I could pull out my phone, but a smartwatch right there seems a lot nicer for some reason. I also love the notification aspect of it. I often miss messages on my phone, but this would be easier to check and see if I need to address something or not. I also can see me reading my Twitter feed on it as well.

Of course, from a health perspective, I’m looking forward to see what health apps are built into the watches. I wonder if it and smartphones will replace all the other hardware based fitness trackers for example. Fred Wilson, a NYC VC, has a great post on Software vs Hardware startups. He asks an interesting question about whether the innovation will happen in hardware or software.

What do you think of the smartwatch?

November 26, 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.

FitBit Raises $43 Million

This is great news for FitBit the company. That should be enough cash to really aggressively go after the mobile health market. Of course, with $43 million of funding and their previous $12 million third round of funding, they have no choice but to hit it out of the park now.

One advantage that FitBit has over a lot of the mobile health industry is that the FitBit is now sold in 15,000 retail locations across the US. Getting that type of distribution takes time and is a very strong asset for the company.

I’ll be interested to see where they take the technology next. One problem with being a hardware company is that your next model has to be better than your previous model. I’ll be interested to see how well they can execute their next FitBit models. Will they continue to make huge step forwards in mobile health devices or will they be just an evolution of their current product? The answer to that will determine whether FitBit is a great investment or not.

My question for you is: Does this amount of funding help to legitimize the mobile health space?

August 15, 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.

BlueStar By WellDoc To Be First Mobile Prescription Therapy

You may be familiar with WellDoc already. They are distributors of a mobile app that was created to help manage diabetes, which has been very successful. And just a few days ago, they released something else that appears to be rather monumental.

The service is called BlueStar, and is the mobile version of the diabetes management program. What’s so monumental about this, is that it is the first disease therapy to be prescribed through an app. In addition to that, it is also the first that can be eligible for reimbursement through insurance. Not all insurance companies will cover it, but self-insured companies like Ford, Rite Aid, and DexCom have said BlueStar will become a part of their pharmacy coverage.

BlueStar features many of the same features that Diabetes Manager, the first WellDoc program, did which include getting alerts when their blood sugar level is too low or high and charts to detect trends. It suggests tips for getting blood sugar higher. However, what’s new is that BlueStar can provide feedback concerning medication dosage, give better coaching, and even recommendations to a doctor.

Just like any prescription, a doctor can prescibe BlueStar for a certain period of time in addition to medications. When a pharmacy receives that prescription, they will forward it on to WellDoc, who will have someone help the patient setup BlueStar on their device. BlueStar will calculate how much insulin a patient should take, depending on the attending physician’s recommendations, blood sugar levels, and how many carbs were eaten at a certain time. If a treatment regimen is deemed to be ineffective for a patient, a report will be sent to the doctor recommendation a new regimen.

Because diabetes truly affects so many across the country, this could mean a lot to many people. Of course, there are questions about how effective it can be, since many people may become unmotivated after using the app for a certain period of time. Time will only tell.

June 19, 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.

Lumosity: An Exercise Program For Your Brain

So often, we focus on our physical health, but neglect our mental health. All forms of dementia are devastating. Many people complain of brain fog. Thousands of people suffer from attention disorders. While I don’t claim to know the cure for any of these things (or even the cause) I do think that exercising the mind is just as important as exercising your body. I mean, if your brain fails, then your life ceases to exist. It’s a pretty important thing to take care of!

I saw a commercial today for a website called Lumosity.com. It sparked my interest, so I decided to check it out. The website says that it “turns neuroscience breakthroughs into fun, effective games” and it’s a way to “harness your brains neuroplasticity [the brain’s ability to grow and expand] and train your way into a brighter life.”

To be honest, it seems like it is set up a bit like an exercise website. When you sign up, you answer some questions about where you want changes to be made. Changes can be made in any of five categories, all of which have subcategories. These categories are memory, attention, speed, flexibility, and problem solving. You can select as many or as few of these categories as you want. After doing this, you can create an account and view your free and personalized training program, and you can personalize your training even further.

The program changes with you — as you get better at the challenges, you get newer ones. Each of the “sessions” include a variety of games to help you improve in the areas you initially selected. You get points very every game you do, to help you track your progress. The games are actually pretty fun, and challenging, and scientifically developed to help increase your brain function.

The basic version of Lumosity is free, but if you really want to get into the program, there are paid options. This gives you more games each day, more personalized training, and more. People spend hundreds, maybe even thousands, on personal training at a gym, as well as countless hours…so why not spend some of those valuable resources on making sure your brain is in tip-top shape? I thought this was a cool idea, and I think it could be a great resources for anyone wanting to exercise their mind. Apparently, 97% of Lumosity users improve after just 10 hours of training (which can be seen in the personalized tracking portion of the website.)_

Lumosity Brain Trainer is also available as a free download for iOS devices.

June 10, 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.

Scanadu Scout: Coming Soon To A Store Near You

Last June, David discussed whether a Tricorder Device could actually be created, and introduce Scanadu. At that point, the Scanadu was just in its beginning stages, but now, it might just be months away.

Pending FDA approval, the Scanadu Scout could be available for the holiday season. The price is rumored to be around $150, but for those that visit the doctor a lot, it could be well-worth it (it’s amazing how fast co-pay fees can add up when you frequent the doctor several times a month!) While it doesn’t necessarily need to be approved by the FDA, it will help speed up the process, and doctors will be able to implement them into their practices.

The Scanadu Scout is a tiny device that can collect essential vitals in about 10 seconds, including blood pressure, blood flow, body temperature, heart rate and rhythm. Although I couldn’t find out exactly how it will do this, apparently the Scanadu Scout will allow users to “learn ways that different people, locations, activities, foods, beverages, and medicines affect your body. Sick or well. Discover connections. Watch trends. Spot side effects. Catch problems early. And track them. Get healthier.”

After using the Scanadu Scout to track vitals, people can call their physician’s offices and let them know some of their readings — this could hopefully help them determine whether or not you need to be seen.

The Scanadu Scout isn’t the only product in the works from Scanadu — the website also lists the Scanaflo, which will be an accurate way to do urine tests at home to test for levels of glucose, protein, leukocytes, and even pregnancy. levels of glucose, protein, leukocytes, nitrates, blood, bilirubin, urobilinogen, specific gravity, and pH in urine. It will also test for pregnancy.

I think it’s very exciting that the Scanadu Scout will (hopefully) be released soon. As someone who frequents the doctor’s office, I could see this saving us a lot of time and money. I also hope that the company will continue creating tricorder-like devices, like the one that was in this trailer for the Scanadu. If you want to reserve your Scanadu Scout, be sure to visit this page.

Do you think you’d purchase a Scanadu?

May 24, 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 Glasses: The Future of Healthcare?

I’ll admit, I’m kind of a fan girl for all things Google (if you didn’t notice with my recent excitement about Google Fiber, or how I tend to favor Android apps.) So, of course, I think that Google Glasses sound really exciting. And when I first heard about them, I wondered if they had a place in healthcare.

It looks like others have thought that same thing.

To me, it would make sense for Google Glasses to be used in the healthcare world. It could be the next step for fitness devices. Doctors could potentially use it, as could medical students. The article from above listed the following ideas that seemed most plausible (these descriptions are directly from the article):

  •  Video sharing and storage: Physicians could record medical visits and store them for future reference or share the footage with other doctors.
  • A diagnostic reference: If Glass is integrated with an electronic medical record (EMR), it could provide a real-time feed of the patient’s vital signs.
  • A textbook alternative: Rather than referring to a medical textbook, physicians can perform a search on the fly with their Google Glass.
  • Emergency room/war zone care: As storied venture capitalist Marc Andreessen proposed in a recent interview, consider ”dealing with wounded patients and right there in their field of vision, if they’re trying to do any kind of procedure, they’ll have step-by-step instructions walking them through it.” In a trauma situation, doctors need to keep their hands free.
  • Helping medical students learn: As suggested by one blogger, a surgeon might live stream a live — and potentially rare — surgery to residents and students.
  • Preventing medical errors: With an electronic medical record integration, a nurse can scan the medication to confirm whether it’s  the correct drug dose and right patient.

It seems as if this is only the beginning. Of course, Google Glasses aren’t going to come cheap, but I feel it could really revolutionize healthcare.

What possibilities do you see between Google Glasses and Healthcare?

May 20, 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.

Stay Hydrated With The Jomi Band

Drinking water can be the solution to a lot of health problems — it aids in weight loss, it helps the major organs of the body function better, and well, it’s just not good to be dehydrated! But many people, myself included, don’t drink enough water on a regular basis! I know for me personally, I just get so distracted throughout the day, it doesn’t even dawn on me that I didn’t drink water until 6 PM hits, and I’m totally out of it. At that point, my husband asks if I drank anything, and as I think about it…I realize I didn’t! Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a reminder.

If you follow CNN on Facebook, you may have recently read this article. It talks about an Estonian start-up called Jomi Interactive. Several of their prototypes were released last week, and one of the most interesting is the Jomi Band and Sleeve. It’s basically a device that you can attach to your water bottle, and it tracks how much you drink. If it feels that you haven’t had enough fluids, it will let you know with flashing LED lights. The device will be created to link up to a mobile device, if that’s appealing to you for some reason. 

There’s another product already on the market called Hydracoach. It’s a water bottle that has the tracking device built in. So the only main difference I can find is that the Jomi Band can be used on multiple water bottles.

It seems like an interesting idea, especially for anyone who isn’t particularly good at keeping track of how much (or little) they drink. It may seem like an easy thing to do, but when sometimes…life gets busy. This could be very helpful for anyone that needs, or even just wants, to make sure they are drinking enough water. Granted, if the bottle is filled with something other than water, it may not be as helpful.

The Jomi Band is only in the developmental stages, but if you want to be informed of it making it’s big debut, go sign up over here. If it’s not too expensive, I might just get one myself.

May 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.

Lose Weight and Win Money With DietBet

After I posted about the study that found financial incentives to be a good motivator for weight loss, I have been on the lookout for more websites popping up like Gym Pact. I was curious to see how much something like this would motivate me, and since I no longer belong to a gym, Gym Pact was out of the question. Well, today a friend of my sent me an invitation to a website called DietBet, and I was immediately intrigued.

DietBet is a 4-week program, where participants need to lose 4% of their body weight (or more) in order to get any of the “pot.” You can create your own challenge, or join someone else’s, and pay a certain sum of money to participate. For instance, the one I joined was $25. And let me tell you, I’m more motivated than ever before to lose weight, even just to get back my $25.

Whenever a new person enters your group, the pot rises. I was looking at the top game, and it’s at almost $9,000. I wouldn’t mind being part of that group! When the date arrives for the contest to begin, you have to take two photos  — one full length photo of you on a scale in “airport security” attire, and one of the scale, the number on it, and a piece of paper with a weigh-in word, to prove it’s actually you. I was wondering how they would do this, actually, and it seems like they’ve got it under control! These photos are kept private, and you don’t have to share your weight with the others in the competition.

During the competition, you can post photos, write comments, and just interact with others in the game. There is also an iPhone app companion for the game, which I thought was nice.  Starting on the last day of the competition, you have 48 hours to “weigh out”

I really believe that money is a great motivator for just about anything, and I’m interested to see if I actually have any success using this site. (PS, if you want to join in, my group starts on April 29th. The more the merrier!)

April 19, 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.