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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 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 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John 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 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John 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 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 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 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John 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.

“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.

Is Digital Learning The Future For Med Students?

There are a lot of great apps out there for med students. Because mHealth is going to be so important for future doctors to have a good grasp on, it would be wise for medical programs to implement learning about this technology into curriculum. The University of California Irvine School of Medicine created a program to do just that.

The iMedEd Initiative aims to “[reinvent] the traditional medical school curriculum,” according to the press release. It will include tablet-based learning and portable ultrasound clinical training, which will help build the digital and interactive learning environment. UCI is the first school to do this, but if it’s successful, I imagine it won’t be the last.

The initiative was launched in 2010, and was named the 2012-2013 Apple Distinguished Program of the year. Students receive an iPad, which is loaded with their textbooks, study materials, and instructional materials such as podcasts. With the cost of traditional textbooks, it seems like this program may decrease the cost of medical school, and being able to have everything that is needed to study available on the iPad can be rather convenient as well.

Dr. Ralph V. Clayman, dean of the UC Irvine School of Medicine, offered some insight into the success of the program:

The digital platform has enables us to effectively respond to this responsibility in a manner heretofore unimaginable. By having all aspects of our medical school curriculum on iPad, learning becomes a 24/7 opportunity no longer tied to the classroom or a desk. We believe our students are learning better than they have in the past.

It was also found that the first class participating scored, on average, 23 percent higher on their national exams, as compared to previous med school classes at UC Irvine.

These findings sure seem to show that this is an effective way to teach, and learn. I think it would be great if other programs like this start popping up. Granted, I don’t think traditional teaching should become obsolete. I’m sure there are potential med students out there who would prefer those methods. But it seems like an interesting program that students really will enjoy, and help improve scores as well.

February 25, 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.