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Is the New Clinic, Forward, Only Reasonable for the Silicon Valley Elite?

A new clinic has been opened in San Francisco called Forward which is an attempt to reinvent the doctor’s office by several dozen former employees of Google, Facebook, Uber, and Palantir. On the one hand, this new clinic is an amalgamation of all the innovation that’s been happening in the digital health space. On the other hand, it seems to illustrate Silicon Valley excess and culture. Let’s take a look at each perspective.

Forward starts the patient experience with an iPad sign in that’s setup looks a lot like the Apple Store. It sounds like they’ve built all new software for their clinic, but tablet check in or other kiosk check in options have been in healthcare for quite a while. After checking in on the iPad, the patient then goes to a body scanner that identifies you using 2 fingers and then gathers your height, weight, body temperature, heart rate and the amount of oxygen in your blood. All of this data is available to doctors today, but this is a novel way to collect the data that likely saves time for patients and the clinic staff.

The exam rooms look like a really well designed exam room, but still feel like an exam room you might go to in most doctor’s offices. However, one notable feature of the exam room is a massive touch-screen display on the wall.

What makes the exam room and this touch screen unique is that the exam room listens to what’s being said in the room and pulls out information for the medical record and displays that information on the screen in real time. This sounds a lot like what I described in my Video EHR idea. The screen will also show the patient’s health history including sensor data and suggests diagnoses and treatment plans. How well it does at this is a good question, but in true Silicon Valley fashion I’m sure it’s an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) that will improve over time.

Many are touting Forward’s unique approach to Urine Sample collection, but this has been done in many other offices for years. Is this really an issue? I don’t think so. Forward also has essentially a health store as well that sells everything from wearable sensors to vitamins and supplements to skin care products. This has a kind of Apple Store feel as well. This can be a great revenue stream for clinics. Eventually you can imagine all of these items being ordered at the doctor’s office and delivered to your house or office by drone. Until then, UPS/FedEx/USPS will have to do.

As you can imagine, all of the biometric data that’s collected at check in, lab results, etc syncs up with a mobile app that the patient can use to access their health data. Looks like they have plans for genomic data as well. Forward has also committed to responding to messages from it’s members (yes, they call you members, not patients) within 1 minute day or night. I wonder if that response is a real human or an AI bot.

As I mentioned, this feels like an amalgamation of everything that’s been happening with digital health. If you’ve followed the digital health space, then you’ve seen almost all of these things done individually somewhere already. This isn’t necessarily a knock on Forward. The iPhone largely was an incorporation of a bunch of innovations that were available elsewhere. However, Apple packaged it nicely into an extremely usable package. Is that what Forward’s done here? I personally think that’s overstating things since they haven’t completely transformed the model (yet?), but it has made a high end medical office experience.

That leads to my second observation about Forward. In many ways, Forward just looks like Silicon Valley excess in the same vein as the over engineered $1500 Smart Oven. How many of the things mentioned above actually improve your care or inspire you to be healthier and how many of them are just for show?

I guess you could make the case that the whole package makes for a better experience that makes you want to go to the doctor, but that’s butting up against a massive desire we all have of not going to the doctor that’s been built into our DNA for years. Plus, the package doesn’t seem like it’s reached the nirvana of treating healthy patients, but instead is just a high end doctor visit experience.

I’m not suggesting that there’s anything wrong with creating a high end doctor visit experience. That very well could work in wealthy areas like Silicon Valley and other areas of the country like New York and LA. That very well could be a good business (although, my guess is they raised too much money for that to be their only business), but it’s not going to transform healthcare as we know it. I don’t see how Forward scales down to the lower end of the market. They should go and talk with ZDoggMD about his experience with Turntable Health which he just had to shut down. They could learn a lot from his experiences.

I’m not saying that no good will come from the Forward experience. It’s quite possible that the Forward clinic is used as an incubation lab for new ideas which the company can then commercialize and sell to the rest of the medical world at a reasonable price. Their excess could produce learnings that could benefit the rest of healthcare if they package it the right way and don’t just try to build a new health care system themselves. That would be an incredible outcome for healthcare.

I know every doctor would rejoice at the idea of a smart patient wall that listened to their interaction with the patient and did the proper documentation for them. That’s the face to face interaction for which doctors and patients now yearn. The big challenge here is that Forward doesn’t have to worry about things like insurance reimbursement, meaningful use, and MACRA. So, will their technology apply to the rest of healthcare? Or does it just enable the high end unlimited primary care model that they’re executing today?

Also, Forward is only working on primary care, wellness, and men’s and women’s health. That still leaves specialists in the regular insurance controlled world (Yes, you still need insurance and the $149/month membership to Forward). Can high quality primary care change healthcare? I think it could, but it’s going to take a shift in mindset (payers, employers, patients, doctors) by many for it to happen.

I know another medical practice in San Francisco that built their practice on the back of cash patients who got a great, fast customer experience. Employers in San Francisco were happy to pay cash for the visit because they knew their employee would be off work at the doctor’s office for less time then traditional healthcare paid for largely by insurance. The cash cost of a visit was much less than having that employee away from work. San Francisco is a unique culture and so that worked for this medical practice and Forward could work in San Francisco as well. I just don’t see the path for them to scale the clinic model across the country. I hope they don’t try, but instead focus on spreading their innovations across the country. If all that fails, at least the Silicon Valley elite now have an opportunity to network with other Silicon Valley elite at the doctor’s office.

January 19, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 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 and LinkedIn.

Should We Be Looking to Children to Learn About Remote Patient Monitoring?

This post is sponsored by Samsung Business. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

In a recent blog post, Taylor Mallory Holland wrote about how “Remote Patient Monitoring Isn’t just for Adults” including the following:

Remote patient monitoring has become a popular way for healthcare providers to ensure that patients stay healthy at home. More than two-thirds of hospitals and health systems have already deployed these solutions, according to Spyglass Consulting, mostly to monitor adults with chronic diseases.

She then went on to talk about how Children’s Health in Dallas is using Vivify Health’s care management platform and Samsung Galaxy tablets to get children out of the hospital faster, but still be able to remotely monitor their patients.

While it’s true that home health monitoring is a hot topic with the chronic, elderly patient, it might behoove us to spend a lot more time exploring the opportunities that are available with children as well. It turns out that patients that are children can teach us a lot about how to design the right software and systems to truly make a patient’s life better.

Lately it seems like every health IT solution wants to talk about patient engagement. Remote patient monitoring is the epitome of patient engagement, no? You’re literally engaging with the patient in one of their most sacred places: their home. However, one of the biggest challenges related to patient engagement is that far too many patients don’t care enough to actually engage.

This is why remote patient monitoring with children is so powerful. As a parent of four, I can attest to you that there’s nothing a parent won’t do for the health of their child. The duty and responsibility you feel for your child’s health is real. This often gets the bad rap of helicopter parent (which can be bad if taken too far), but in a healthcare situation you want a “helicopter” parent that’s totally involved in the care of their child. In fact, if we really believe in patient engagement, then we need parents that are involved and participating in the care their child receives. Luckily, most parents are totally engaged in their child’s health and that provides a tremendous opportunity for healthcare.

I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t be working on remote monitoring tools for patients in every age group. Remote patient monitoring can be a valuable thing regardless of age. However, we may want to spend a bit more time looking at the way patient engagement happens with younger patients since their parents are already interested and engaged. No doubt we can apply some of those lessons and learnings to the older patient populations as well.

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February 24, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 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 and LinkedIn.

Heart Rhythm Biometric Wristband

It seems that lately I’ve been more and more intrigued with what I’ve been calling the “battle for the wrist.” The battle got real earlier this week with Qualcomm and Samsung both announcing their Smartwatch technologies. I’m sure this is just the start of the smartwatch movement.

Today on EMR and HIPAA, I wrote about what I called a Biometrically Controlled Healthcare System. It’s a forward thinking post that considers how our biometric identity could be integrated into our healthcare experience. I’m sure this idea will scare many people, but I find it incredibly exciting.

In response to that post, I got a tweet from @XimenaTrade suggesting that heart rhythm could be the basis of someone’s biometric identity. Then, she linked me to another wrist based product by Nymi. While not a healthcare specific device, it does make for an interesting extension to the discussions around the battle for the wrist and biometrics. Here’s a video which demos the Nymi heart rhythm product:

I’m not sure I’d buy the story that this is a very good stand alone device. It seems like putting this on is just about as difficult as carrying a key. Although, the built in accelerometer and gyroscope do offer some interesting gesture options. I just don’t see this as a standalone device. Instead, I think one of the smartwatch vendors is likely to snatch up this technology (or recreate it themselves) and integrate it into a much more powerful device.

The idea of a biometric smartwatch that acts as your passwordless key is really interesting. Reminds me of a local Vegas Tech company called LaunchKey which is trying to Kill Passwords opting instead for authentication via your smartphone or tablet.

All of this helps me realize that we’re just at the beginning of smartwatches and biometrics.

September 6, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 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 and LinkedIn.

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 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 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 and LinkedIn.

The HP ElitePad in Healthcare

One thing I often forget when thinking about mobile computing in healthcare is that it’s not just the smart phone. Certainly the smart phone is incredibly powerful and has a strong place in the future of mobile health. However, it has its limitations. Often you just need more screen real estate to do what you need to in healthcare. This is particularly true on the enterprise healthcare side of the world compared to the consumer side.

This is what makes the Windows 8 and iPad tablets such an important part of the mobile health ecosystem. In fact, I think these tablets could do more to transform healthcare than their smaller smart phone counterparts. In fact, these tablets are more powerful than your smart phone in every single way except size.

I was reminded of the power of these tablets when I got the chance to use the HP ElitePad. It was my first time to really dig into a Windows 8 tablet and I was really interested to see how well it performed.
HP ElitePad 900_Front Center
My intrigue in the Windows 8 tablets had been originally sparked by Fred Holsten, CIO of Intermountain, who told me that in their hospital they didn’t allow Android tablets, but they did allow Window 8 tablets. They had real security concerns with the Android tablets, but felt confident in the security of the Window 8 tablet. Plus, he even was fond of the way that the Windows 8 tablet handled application management.

With this in mind, I wanted to see how the HP ElitePad felt in my hand. From a pure hardware perspective, it was well designed and as comfortable as any other tablet of similar screen size. I also had the HP ElitePad expansion jacket. I had mixed feelings about the expansion jacket. The tablet felt pretty bulky with it on, but I also felt the jacket seemed to be a pretty good protection for the device. In the end, I usually leaned towards using it with the expansion jacket off. Either way, the tablet definitely passed the look and feel test.

When I first started actually using the ElitePad, I wasn’t sure I was going to like the interface. It took me a little while to get use to the separation of apps from the more standard windows interface. Plus, I had to get use to swiping the side to pull up the menu. After using it a little bit I really grew to like the interface. It balanced the touch interface applications with the ability to run any regular windows applications quite well.

I could see how this balance of applications could work really well in healthcare. Many healthcare applications won’t be ported over to become a native tablet application. At least they won’t be moved over in the near future. So, there’s a need for devices that can handle both native and legacy applications. The app store was a bit disappointing, but I think that will continue to change over time. Plus, when it wasn’t in the app store, I could find a regular windows application that worked fine. Not to mention most of what I needed was also available in a web browser.

I do wish that there were some native external keyboard options for the device, but a simple USB keyboard worked just fine and are available in every shape and size. I didn’t try using voice recognition on the device, but it has a nice microphone and would have likely worked well. However, sometimes I just like a nice keyboard for data entry. I did use the built in camera and microphone on a Google Plus hangout and that worked perfectly. You can easily see a telemedicine visit happening with this device.

Overall the device worked really well for me. My only real complaint with the device was the charger connection. The charger doesn’t really snap into the hole and so it’s hard to know if the charger is connected properly or not. Plus, the charger can bend back and forth in the charging hole. I often had to check to make sure that the device was indeed charging. It usually was plugged in just fine, but it would be much nicer if the charging plug kind of locked into place so you knew it was connected properly.

Overall, I can definitely see a place for a Windows 8 tablet like the HP ElitePad in healthcare. I think this is particularly true in the hospital and practice environment where they want to use their existing security software to manage their computing devices. However, with the built in camera and microphone, I can also see a number of telemedicine applications really liking this device as well.

This post is sponsored by HP Healthcare, however opinions on products and services expressed here are my own. Disclosure per FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

August 12, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 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 and LinkedIn.

“Instagram” for Heart Attacks Could Save Lives

What do you think of when you think about Instagram? Probably not a life-saving device, right? Turns out, the popular social media platform is the inspiration for ECG Capture, an iPhone app that is being lauded as the “Instagram for Heart Attacks.” 

Students and faculty from the University of Virginia created an Instagram-like app for the iPhone to assist in helping heart attack victims get treatment quicker. With the app, the user taks a photo of the ECG and sends the image, via a cell phone network, to a secure server at a hospital. At the hospital the heart attack victim is being sent to, physicians are able to see the ECG before they arrive and determine the best course of action.

It appears to work faster than the traditional way of sending ECGs. In more than 1,500 tests, it was found to transmit images in less than 6 seconds — the traditional method took up to 114 seconds to send. These few seconds difference could change, and possibly save, a person’s life.

This sounds like a great way to increase efficiency. Obviously, there’s always the concern of being in an area where there’s no cell service, or something else malfunctioning, but it seems like a pretty reliable method so far, after the 1,500 tests that were conducted. It’s nice to see that people are taking note of successful social media, and finding a way to adapt it toward health care.

May 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.

Smartphone Usage Among Physicians Rises in 2012

There is often debate about the use of smartphones in the doctor’s office, but there’s no doubt that usage is on the rise. And according to the Kantar Media Sources & Interaction Study, the percentage of physicians using a smartphone for a professional purpose has risen nine percent in the past year. Here is a little comparison chart showing usage over the past three years (I apologize for how small it is).

smartphone_used_by_doctors_for_professional_purposes_w640

As you can see, the study found that 74% (almost three-quarters!) of physicians are using smartphones for professional reasons. Of that 74%, 62% said they use smartphone apps for work. In addition, 52%  said they use diagnostic tools and clinical reference apps and 46% use apps that help with drug and coding references. The study also found that almost 40 percent of the physicians studied use both a smartphone and a tablet. Here are a few other interesting facts found in the study:

  • 43% use smartphones for referencing drug data
  • 39% find or perform clinical calculations (which jumped 35% from 2011)
  • 31% of doctors make decisions for prescriptions using a smartphone.

I’m sure I don’t need to convince most of you about the benefits of a physician not just being willing, but also knowing how, to use smartphones and tablets in their practice. I think it’s exciting to see that more and more are getting on board. A few months ago when I was visiting with a doctor, I had a question about whether or not I could take a certain medication while nursing my son. He pulled out a drug interactions book, and for about 10 minutes, tried to figure out whether or not it was okay, and ultimately told me he had no idea. When I got home, I was able to find the information I needed in less than 10 seconds.

I also wonder if we will see more patients bringing a tablet or smartphone to their appointment. On another occasion when I was at the doctor, the physician I was seeing told me she never received the records from my other doctor. I wished that I had brought my tablet, where I could have easily pulled up all my test results right there (which I did do a few weeks later, which the doctor thought was really cool.) Doing this could definitely help bridge the gap that sometimes appears when you have to rely on doctor’s offices sending records via fax.

While using a smartphone or tablet in the office does raise concerns about patient engagement, I think it is an overall positive situation seeing more and more physicians using smartphones. Now we just have to get everyone on board with the smartphone physical.

May 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.

Smart Phones and mHealth Apps May Be Taxable

Do you love using your smart phone for medical purposes? Chances are, if you’re reading this, you probably do. Well, it sounds like Obamacare might just take some of the fun out of it.

According to Fox News, under the ACA, medical device manfacturers carry a 2.3 percent tax. And since smart phones and tablets can be used for medical reasons, they might just fall under that as well. And apparently, the FDA has indicated they are looking into this regulation. And Rep. Marsha Blackburn, vice chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said back in 2011 that this is not good news for consumers:

It is going to drive up the cost to consumers and it’ll drive up the cost of your cell phone.

I don’t know about you, but my cell phone bill is already way too high — and my husband and I even split the bill with my mom, dad, and little brother. Even the thought of possibly being taxed makes me want to get rid of any of my mHealth apps and devices. Of course, I won’t, because I really use them, but I do hope that this doesn’t actually happen.

I can’t imagine there is anything positive about this, but if you can think of any, please, enlighten me. I think that this will make many people turned off to the idea of mHealth, because I know that at least for me, using my smart phone to help manage my health is, in part, to help me save money. Adding a tax to smart phones and tablets will make it harder to seem like I’m doing that.

March 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.

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.

The Beam Toothbrush Transforms Dental Hygiene

A few years ago, an old roommate of mine informed me that I grind my teeth almost constantly as I slept. After talking with some people, I discovered that this, combined with some dental problems I encountered in high school, could be the underlying cause of many of my health problems. Primarily, migraines. Before that point, I didn’t realize just how much dental issues can affect other parts of the body.

So when I saw the Beam Toothbrush,  I was pretty excited. There’s so many devices out there to help improve people’s health, but I’ve never seen anything that really focuses on teeth brushing, which is essential for good health.

The Beam Toothbrush is a toothbrush that monitors oral hygiene, and sinks the data to a smart phone app. The app will then track the data for all activated brushes, create graphs with the data, and inform the user of certain things, like a missed brushing time. Each brush can only be assigned to one user, for obvious reasons, but several users can be tracked on the app.

From the looks of the website, and just the idea behind it, I think this is a toothbrush that is aimed toward children. It seems like a good way for parents to see if their child is really brushing their teeth. Because ask any parent — most kids aren’t the best brushers out there. I know I wasn’t.

I like the idea behind it, and I’ll be interested to see if it takes off at all. I’m not so sure I’d spend 49.99 on a toothbrush that wasn’t an electric one, especially for a child, but it might be an well-made investment for those who have children that forget to brush. Knowing that your parent has access to your teeth brushing “records” may be good motivation for some not to forget.

It comes in either blue or pink, and runs on AA batteries. It is a manual toothbrush, so it’s not going to be as fancy as ones like the Sonicare brand (which is what I use, and love), but it seems perfect for children. It is available for 49.99, and replacement heads are 3.99. Dentists and oral surgeons can also purchase them for resell. The app is only available on iOS systems.

February 27, 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.