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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.

Most People Don’t Care About Their Health Every Day

I’ve been having a lot of really important conversations with people about the various consumer health applications that are coming out. The discussion usually requires the patients to care enough to use the consumer health device. I’m often found saying, “most patients don’t care.”

The response to this comment is usually a bit of disbelief around people not caring about their health. The problem is that people do want to be healthy. However, they don’t want to worry about their health all the time. This quote from the amazing Susannah Fox added the nuance that I was always missing in my comment about patients not caring.

People do care about their health, but they don’t want worrying about their health to rule their life. Of course, chronic conditions are another story. For the majority of patients that are healthy or at least “feel” healthy, they aren’t motivated to improve their health daily. This is the challenge that healthcare app developers face. Overcoming it is a real challenge.

June 4, 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.

11 Great iPhone Apps for Nurses — According to Apple

It seems like every day, I read another article about nurses using tablets and smartphones in the workplace. I was just thinking the other day that I should do a round-up of great apps for nurses, but it looks like Apple beat me to it. This list was compiled by Apple last year, and they are their top 11 iPhone apps for nurses. While I still plan to make a list of apps for both the iPhone and Android devices that nurses can use, I thought I’d share these apps as well.

Most of these apps are free (though they may involve a paid subscription), though some cost less than $10. After reading about them, I can definitely see how they could be helpful. So, nursing friends, if you have an iPhone or an iPad that you use at work — these might be something you want to look into. Here’s a brief description, and cost, of each app that made Apple’s top apps for nurses list:

1.  Voalte OneBefore you get too attached to this one, your hospital must be equipped with the Voalté Server. And if it is, then great! Because this app allows for phone calls through a hospital’s VoIP system, secure text messaging using a user directory, and alarm management. Medical professionals are able to receive alarms, and respond quickly, which helps with overall workflow.

Cost: Free 

2Nursing CentralThis is a comprehensive database designed to help nurses find answers to just about any question they might have.There is detail information on diseases, tests, drugs, and more, and a medical dictionary with more than 60,000 entries.

Cost: Free

3. NurseTabs: FundamentalsThere are a couple of NurseTabs apps, which are specifically designed for new nurses. This one covers the basic skills and procedures nurses need to know. After selecting a specific procedure, the nurse will be given step-by-step information, including what kind of equipment should be used.

Cost: 9.99

4. PatientTouchThis app was created to help improve workflow, and help nurses spend more time with their patients.  It assists in specimen collection, infant care, communications, and more. PatientTouch is completely HIPAA compliant, and hopefully will help increase quality of care, while decrease costs. 

Cost: Free

5. MedigramMedigram is a simple way to securely send messages containing medical information. This makes it possible to collaborate with other medical professionals in a secure and quick manner.

Cost: Free

6. NurseTabs: MedsurgeAnother app by NurseTabs that was created specifically for new nurses, or nursing students. It contains over 300 diseases and disorders, organized in an easily searchable way. After selecting a certain ailment, the user can access tons of information about it, including a nursing process approach on how to handle the situation. It’s also a great place to review for the NCLEX exam.

Cost: 9.99

7. Lab Values ReferenceIf you are working with lab results a lot, this could be very helpful. I actually might download this myself (access to my lab results immediately makes me constantly look things up until I hear from my doctor.) It has coverage of the 375 most commonly performed lab results, which includes the normal ranges or findings, results, explanations of abnormalities, and more.

Cost: .99

8. NCSBN Learning Extension Medication FlashcardsStressing out about the NCLEX? No need to worry anymore. This app is a great resource for memorizing drug information, as you can sort cards into different categories, learn interesting facts, and more.

Cost: Free

9. The Merck Manuals for Mobile + WebMerck Manuals are one of the most widely used and accepted medical reference guides. And now, you can have it at your fingertips. The app is free, but you have to pay for the subscription. There are three different manuals that can be downloaded — the 19th edition for mobile and web, patient symptoms guide, and Davis’ drug guide.

Cost: Free

10. Shots by STFM: Does anyone like getting shots? I sure don’t think so. And I imagine nurses don’t get any joy out of administering them. This app helps making the process a little easier when trying to determine the correct dosages, especially for unique situations. It contains the CDC recommended course for vaccines, information on ingredients, side effects, and more.

Cost: Free

11. Lexicomp: Lexicomp is a great resource with trusted information about drug and clinical information. There are quite a few databases available with information, pictures, videos, and more. These can be accessed with or without a data/WiFi connection.

Cost: Free to download, but you will need a subscription to Lexicomp as well

May 13, 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.

Walgreens Starts Steps with Balance® Rewards

Walgreens has been rather savvy when it comes to mHealth. They have a great mobile app and website to help manage prescriptions as well as find answers to health questions. It was no surprise to me when I heard about their Steps with Balance Rewards program.

If you are familiar with Walk with Walgreens, Steps with Balance® Rewards replace that program. Basically, you get rewards for doing simple exercise and health “tasks” throughout the day. By walking, running, or tracking weight management, you earn points that can be redeemed for products and other rewards at Walgreens.

There are a few popular devices that can be associated with your Steps with Balance account — BodyMedia, FitBit, and Withings. This makes it easier to earn rewards and track your progress.

I’m not sure if this is something I’ll sign up for, just because I feel like I have so many other programs I’m involved in, but it seems cool. It sounds like a good way to track your progress toward certain goals, and earn rewards while you are at it. It has the typical features of a health tracking program – you can connect with others, set personalized goals, and see your progress. It looks like it has been pretty successful so far, as there have been close to 10 million miles logged and around 600 thousand users. So if you shop at Walgreens a lot, and you are wanting to be rewarded for living a healthy life, this may be the program for you!

If you want to sign up, it’s free! Just head over here and get started today (and yes, it’s free)

May 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.

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.

NetPulse Brings Fitness Apps and Equipment Into One Place

I’ve talked about a lot of different devices that were created to track (and help users meet) fitness and health goals. With all the options, it can get kind of overwhelming!  Especially when you have to transfer the information from your fitness device, to your food and exercise tracker. There’s a new platform that aims to simplify all this data into one place, making it easier to track.

NetPulse is similar to Microsoft’s HealthVault that I recently talked about. Working with several third-party apps, as well as fitness equipment workers, NetPulse brings them all together in one platform and helps them work together to help users reach their ultimate fitness goals.

These companies have fitness equipment assocated with NetPulse:

  • LifeFitness
  • Woodway
  • Matrix
  • Octane
  • TechnoGym
  • True
  • StarTrac

And the 3rd party apps that are working with NetPulse include:

  • MyFitnessPal
  • MapMyFitness
  • FitBit
  • CarePass

I was excited to see a couple of very well-known apps that can be used at NetPulse. I think that was a smart move to try and get those companies on board, because to me, they seem like the apps that most people probably use. MyFitnessPal is definitely my favorite food and exercise tracker, and if I were to want to use something like NetPulse, the fact that MyFitnessPal would be a determining factor.

One additional feature that NetPulse has that I thought was neat is the club app. It allows you to check out class schedules and track your exercise at your fitness club. While it works best if your club has fitness equipment that is compatible with NetPulse, even if it doesn’t, the xCapture feature lets you take pictures of the end-of-workout stats to record late. You get credit for checking out the class schedules, and all types of workouts can be tracked.

After you’ve set up your account, you can start to find out what NetPulse is all about. You can set up fitness and health goals to be tracked, sign up for challenges, and compete, team up, and encourage others.

This is really cool, and I think people that are really passionate about using mobile technology to track their exercise and nutrition will really get a lot of out of this. I’ll definitely be interested in trying it out once it’s available for the public!

March 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.

Three Health Apps Women Should Consider

I’ve posted my fair share about mHealth apps that are geared toward women, so I found this article at Fierce Mobile Healthcare very interesting. Apparently, 47 percent of people who use one or more mHealth apps, are using a women’s health app as well. This was in the Citrix ByteMobile Mobile Analytics Report.

The report also revealed that about 40 percent of people using one or more mHealth app are using a fitness-specific app. I felt like this was rather telling of what type of people are most involved with mHealth. It’s no wonder I see, what seems like, a new woman-focused health app popping up every day. There appears to be a great demand for women’s health apps. Just for fun, here are a few that I found. There’s definitely quite a few!

52 Weeks for Women’s Health: Created by the National Institutes of Health, this app was created to help women recognize health risks for not only themselves, but their family members. It has a personal health section, where the woman can record medications, medical conditions and disabilities. There are 52 health topics, so one for each week, for women to study and read up on, to help promote a healthier lifestyle. It offers suggestions for improving the health and well-being of the woman, and her family. It is a free app available for Android and iOS devices

MyPillApp: This is a great app for any woman that uses pill, patch, or ring contraception. It can be customized for any of those forms of birth control, and has quite a few features. It has a daily reminder feature, that obviously reminds a woman to take her bill. There is a history tracking function, where the user can write down notes to remember for future doctor’s appointments. It has a virtual “pill pack,” to provide a visual for how much is left. There’s even a snooze alert, just in case someone can’t take their pill when the alert goes off.  It is available for free on iOS devices, though I’m sure there is something similar for Android.

Breast Self Exam: Women are encouraged to perform a breast self exam monthly. In fact, I’ve known a few people who discovered they had cancer because they did this. However, it can be difficult to know exactly how to do this. This app provides a short tutorial on how to do the exam, a record can be kept about each exam, and it was designed by physicians. It is .99 on iOS devices.

 

I’m sure there are many more out there, and these are just a sampling. And because I think men’s health is just as important as women, look for an upcoming post on some great men’s health apps that are available.

 

52 weeks for women’s health

The easy-to-use mobile app can help women identify health risks for themselves and their families, and can help them create and maintain healthy lifestyles throughout their lives. Questions to ask health care providers, a glossary of health terms, and health screening information and links to additional information from NIH institutes and centers expand the mobile app’s offerings.

Key features of the app are:

  • a personal health section for recording medications, medical conditions, and disabilities
  • a journal feature
  • a personal goal-setting section for health and lifestyle details

A variety of different skins can be applied to personalize the app, and it ca

 

March 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.

HealthTap Release “TipTaps” – Health Tips From Professionals

While I don’t normally advocate turning to the Internet with health questions, Health Tap might be the exception. It’s like the Yahoo Answers of healthcare, except it’s actual doctors responding to the questions, rather than just any random person with an Internet connection. There are over 32,000 doctors across the United States that are participating, and making it easier for people to get health information at home.

Health Tap has just introduced a new feature to help further its goal to have a positive impact on the health of people. TipTaps, the new program, are little tidbits of health knowledge that incorporate pictures, and are created by some of the best doctors in the world.

The health tips are about 100 characters. They focus on more than 50 topics, and written by doctors who specialized in them. Unlike some programs that only send the messages through text, TipTaps can be delivered to any mobile device, or even just to email, and can be easily shared with social networks.

The messages can be received as often as a person wants, and are personalized for a person’s lifestyle, and what time of day they come at. Some example TipTaps are:

  • Managing Stress at Work: Too much stress? Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 7, exhale for 8. Do 4 times. Anywhere. Anytime.
  • Lunch: Want to eat smaller portions? Try using a bowl instead of a plate.
  • Breakfast: Don’t skip a healthy breakfast. Eat whole grains and protein to fuel a productive day!

As I mentioned, each TipTap has some kind of graphic that comes along with it.

It sounds like an interesting idea. I know that I’m not a huge fan of getting random notifications to my phone or email like this, but I’m sure that people that like to be encouraged throughout the day would like this. If you can select which categories you get sent, that would be cool.

To see more examples of TipTaps, view this PDF. If you’d like to sign up, you can subscribe here. It definitely looks like a high quality program — I wouldn’t expect anything less from HealthTap.

February 21, 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.