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What’s Next for Smartphone Innovation?

GigaOm recently reported that Apple is working on a curved screen smartphone and pressure-sensitive touch censors for future iPhones.

Samsung had already announced a curved screen smartphone as is demonstrated in this video:

As I think about these new smartphone innovations, I don’t see anything real game changing with this technology. Certainly I understand that the biggest game changers in technology are often when a company combines a bunch of relatively innocuous innovations into one tight package. I believe the iPhone is the perfect example of this principle.

With that said, I have to feel a little disappointed by even the small innovations that are coming out in the latest smartphones. Bigger screens, curved glass, and pressure sensitive sensors don’t do much for me. I’d love to hear what you think about the pace of smartphone innovation. What could they innovate that would really be a game changing innovation for healthcare?

The hardware piece aside, I think on the smartphone software side there is still a ton of potential for innovation coming very soon. We’ll see where it takes us. I’m not expecting huge hardware innovation in smartphones anytime soon. When it comes to eyewear computing like Google Glass, that’s a different story.

November 13, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Apple’s October 22nd Mac and iPad Event – What’s Coming?

I was excited to read this Techcrunch article on the next Apple event that is scheduled for Tuesday, October 22nd in San Francisco. Of course, Apple always tries to keep their announcements private, but the tech press has done a good job getting the leaks just the same. So, I was interested to see what might be coming out of Apple.

The unfortunate part of the Techcrunch post is that there was no game changers listed in the post. Basically, a little bit faster, a nicer screen, better resolution, and a small change in weight. None of those really impact how you use the device. Sure, they’re all nice and in aggregate we gain some benefit, but it’s nothing that will change how we’re using the devices today.

Of course, Techcrunch was just trying to guess what Apple’s going to announce. So, I hope that they’re totally wrong. I hope that Apple comes out with a cool wristband technology that changes the way we consider the battle for the wrist. Something new and different. Sure, there are some apps that are limited by the processing power of a phone or by the screen resolution, but all of that will come.

Anyone else have predictions on what Apple could announce that would provide an amazing opportunity for healthcare?

October 16, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

iPhone Fingerprint Recognition and Healthcare

Many people I read were disappointed by the latest announcements coming out of Apple and particularly with their new “inexpensive” iPhone. It turns out it’s not that inexpensive and seems to show a lack of understanding on Apple’s part of the inexpensive smart phone market. This tidbit aside, I was quite interested in the announcement of the iPhone fingerprint recognition that’s built into the “home” button on the iPhone. Here’s a description of this feature from the Journal of Mobile Technology in Medicine:

With the introduction of Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint recognition, there is no longer an excuse not to have a “passcode” (this time in the form of a fingerprint) on your smartphone. The new Apple iPhone 5S has a fingerprint recognition module built into the “home” button on the iPhone. After registering your finger print, simply touching the home screen button will unlock the device for you seamlessly. Should the phone be lost, without your fingerprint, the contents of the device will be secure.

iPhone Fingerprint Recognition - TouchID

I recently discussed in detail various possible options for biometrics in healthcare. The smartphone is another place where we’re likely to see more and more biometric integration. As is discussed in the comments of that post, there are still security challenges with biometrics, but I still believe that overall it’s more secure.

In healthcare we still have that thing called 2 factor authentication. However, this integrated fingerprint recognition on the iPhone home screen sure makes one factor of the authentication quite easy. Of course, this assumes that in fact the iPhone fingerprint recognition works well. I hope and expect that it will work well, but you never know until the device hits the market.

Apple hasn’t yet made the fingerprint recognition feature available to other iPhone applications, but I expect they’ll make that happen sooner rather than later. I’m sure many in healthcare will utilize that feature in their applications.

September 16, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Which Type of Cell Phone Do You Use?

Today my sister was evaluating the various types of cell phones out there. I told her a couple of options that she couldn’t go wrong with, but it prompted me to wonder which types of cell phones readers of this site use. Sure, I could look at the stats for the website, but that would just be people who read the site on their cell phone. No doubt many read it from tablets, desktops, laptops, emails, and feed readers.

I look forward to seeing the results.

August 28, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

The Categories of mHealth

mHealth (or mobile health if you prefer) is such a broad area. Not only can it include every aspect of healthcare, but it also has no geographic, economic, or cultural barriers. You might remember that I wrote previously about various categories of mobile health apps. I think there are also 3 categories of mHealth communities. While there is some overlap, I think it’s interesting to look at each communities unique assets.

Smart Phone User, Developed Country – This category of mHealth user has a smart phone and almost always has internet access. If they don’t have their smart phone, they’re in front of a laptop or computer, they’re holding a tablet, they’re always on and always connected. Internet access and electricity are generally not a problem.

Non-Smart Phone User, Developed Country – This group is quickly becoming smaller and smaller as smart phone’s become cheaper. Plus, it’s amazing how many people who can barely put food on the table have an iPhone in the pocket. However, this group also contains many of the older generation who don’t have a smart phone (my mom’s in this group). Both of these groups are really important parts of the healthcare system. However, for some reason many of the mHealth applications that are made don’t consider them.

Cell Phone User, Underdeveloped Country – We’ve all seen the statistic that shows that there are more people in the world with cell phones than there are people who have clean drinking water. These users have a cell phone, but these are generally feature phones and not smart phones. In some cases they might not have a place to charge the phone regularly and the service they get might be spotty. There are a lot of amazing mHealth applications being built for these communities. I’m always amazed at the power of a text message.

I’m sure we could divide these categories in a lot of different ways. Certainly there are plenty of exceptions to these categories as well, but I think it’s valuable to consider which type of user an mHealth application is trying to help. It makes all the difference when developing your mobile health application.

August 27, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

The iWatch and Apple’s Role in Healthcare

Christina Farr at MedCityNews has a great article up about the rumors circling around Apple’s entrance into the digital health space. The article circles around the possible announcement of the Apple iWatch. Of course, right now it’s mostly just rumor that Apple is going to start selling an iWatch. Although, there are some strong suggestions that this is a possibility.

In some ways I can see how the iWatch is an interesting next step for Apple. However, unlike most other smart watches, I’m pretty sure that if Apple does release the iWatch it will do much more than just digital health. Sure, digital health will play a role in any watch based sensor device. I just don’t see Apple putting all their iWatch eggs in the digital health basket. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if the iWatch can’t do more than digital health, then we’ll never see an iWatch on the market.

This will be a drastic change in the battle for the wrist. Would you rather wear a smart watch that only does digital health or something that does so much more? The answer is simple and if Apple is able to create a multi function smart watch, then they’ll destroy much of the other smart watch market.

Regardless of the iWatch, Apple is going to play a major role in healthcare thanks to the iPad and iPhone. Although, much like those devices, I think it’s very unlikely that Apple will make the decision to create a digital health specific product.

July 24, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Apple’s Top 118 Apps for Doctors


I had to kind of laugh at this tweet. I have mixed feelings of a “top” 118 mobile applications. At first glance, 118 seems like far too many apps for a “top” list. Although, when you start to think that there are tens of thousands and possibly over a hundred thousand mobile health applications, maybe 118 is a pretty narrow list.

Of course, the irony is that we only use on average about 5 applications regularly. Sure, we download dozens more, but we only use a few of the applications on a regular basis. Doctors are definitely no different in this regard. Maybe their average is a tough higher, but it’s still less than 118 applications. Think about what it would take to use 118 applications regularly. There’s not enough hours in a day to even do it.

What I do think this is showing is that we’re starting to see a maturing of the mobile health industry. Hopefully soon we’ll have some breakaway apps that really define the space and become a true “top” mobile app for doctors.

I recently read an article that talk about the difference between mobile and desktop. One difference they described was that on the desktop we turn to Google, but on a mobile we turn to apps. For example, if you want to know the weather on your desktop you Google to find it out. On your mobile you open your weather app or look at your weather widget. I think we can take this learning and apply it to healthcare.

July 19, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Top Medical Apps

 

It’s almost boring to look at a list of top medical apps these days. Mostly because you know that the top medical app is going to be Epocrates. If Epocrates isn’t at the top of the list, then you know that something is wrong with the list. However, I also can’t help looking at who else is on the list. Epocrates can’t hold down the top spot forever. So, I like to look at the rest of the list and see what other up and coming apps might displace them.

Here’s the list of top medical apps for iPhone:

  • Epocrates
  • Medical Encyclopedia
  • Medscape
  • Pill Identifier by Drugs.com
  • My Chart

Here’s the list of top medical apps for Android:

  • Test Your Hearing
  • ICE
  • Diagnosaurus DDx
  • Speed Bones MD
  • Home Remedies (Lite)

Are these your top medical apps? What other apps would you like to see on the list?

July 10, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Pain Squad App Helps Adolescent Cancer Patients

I can’t even imagine what a scary experience it would be to have cancer, let along as a child. One of the ways to treat the symptoms of cancer is to understand the pain level, and what the patient is feeling. However, that can be difficult to get a full grasp on, especially in children. If they aren’t tracking it daily, then information collected can be flawed.

Last year, an app was released in beta testing at a Canadian hospital in Toronto to help doctors understand more fully what their younger patients were feeling as they underwent cancer treatment. The app, called Pain Squad, was developed using the feedback from children and teenagers who had cancer. It involves pain surveys that have to be filled out twice daily, but involves the child and engages them.

The app features videos of celebrities from popular law enforcement shows, Rookie Blue and Flashpoint, giving motivation to kids as they do a certain amount of journals in a row, and they can be promoted to different ranks. This video does a great job of explaining the app, and shows some of the videos. They are so motivating!

I really liked this quote, from the parents of a little girl named Olivia, who was a study participant:

Filling out a paper pain journal was like homework. The Pain Squad app is interactive and the more Olivia used it, the more rewards she got. It only takes a few minutes to complete but it gave Olivia a better understanding of and more control over her pain.”

Last year, this was in some of the final stages of testing, and because of it’s success, it was set to be released in other areas in Canada, as well as outside of Canada. I’m not sure if it’s officially been released since then, but I love the idea of this. There’s only so much you can determine from asking someone to point at a smiley face on a poster board to describe their pain level (I personally never really know what to say when I’m confronted with that sign!)

This app is designed for the iPhone.

June 26, 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.

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.