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Which Type of Cell Phone Do You Use?

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

I look forward to seeing the results.

August 28, 2013 I Written By

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

The Patient’s Guide Reveals How iPhone Dominates Mobile Health Research

Over a 2-year period, The Patient’s Guide compiled information concerning mobile engagement trends from over 12 million visitors. They were looking to see if there was a trend toward mobile computing for healthcare research versus traditional desktop computing, and how big it was. During this research, The Patient’s Guide discovered how the iPhone pretty much dominates in this arena. 

According to the research, these are the top 10 devices used for finding medical information:

1. iPhone

2. iPad

3. iPod

4. Sony Xperia

5. Samsung Galaxy

6. HTC EVO

7. Motorola Dorid

8. Blackberry

9. HTC INcredible

10. T-Mobile MyTouch

I’m not surprised by these results at all. I mean, almost every health app I look at is available for the iPhone, many available for Android devices, and it’s really hit or miss for Blackberry or Windows’ devices. Not only did this study determine this top ten list, but also found the following interesting facts:

  • 94% increase in consumer medical searches using iPhone in 2012 when compared to 2011
  • An estimated 1.5 million searched for medical information using their iPhone in the last 12 months using Patient’s Guide websites alone
  • iPhone captures 41% of total mobile medical traffic
  • 20% male/80% female searching for medical information online
  • 1 in 3 cell phone owners (31%) have used their phone to look for health information

information submitted by Brittney Roberts, Director of Marketing Communications at The Patient’s Guide

I found a lot of these findings fascinating, particularly that 80 percent of those searching for medical information online are females. It makes sense to me, at least from what I’ve been exposed to. I look at my husband and I. I’m always online, researching different ailments that I’m sure one of us has, and then there’s my husband, who I doubt has ever even been to WebMD. Perhaps women tend to worry more, or even just feel more of an obligation to search out medical information? Who knows. Either way, it’s an interesting finding.

And again, it’s amazing just how many people are using the iPhone. Personally, I don’t like the iPhone, but obviously, it’s very popular, especially among people wanting health information. I wonder why that is — any suggestions?

And finally, it’s crazy that a 1/3 of cell phone users have used their phone to look up health information. I’m not sure if that’s referring to those with smart phones, or just all cell phone users in general, but still, crazy. Though, part of me is surprised it isn’t more.

The news release about this suggests that there are number of different factors influencing these trends, such as “government regulations and insurance reimbursements, as well as the evolution of mobile computing devices such as the new iPad mini.” I definitely feel like this numbers are only going to continue to grow. mHealth just makes things so much more convinient in my opinion (for the most part, at least.)

The Patient’s Guide also created a neat infographic concerning the data found in their study:

To learn more about the study conducted by The Patient’s Guide, follow this link to the infographic/news release.

December 12, 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.

MyCrisisRecords Offers Peace of Mind In Emergency Situations

It’s always nice to get feedback from readers, especially when they alert me to other apps. With some of my recent lists, I can’t always post all the great apps pertaining to a particular topic. While I try to do a thorough job researching, I obviously have room for error just because of the vast number of apps out there. So I definitely encourage readers and app creators to let us know if you have a great app that I should talk about. On that note, the CEO and founder of My Crisis Record contacted us about his service, and I thought it would be good to talk about. I focus a lot on mHealth apps around here, and this is an alternative to having all your medical information stored in an app.

MyCrisisRecords offers a place to store medical information safely and remotely and access them in a variety of ways, depending on the membership plan they choose. There are a few different plans, ranging from free to 14.99 a year. The free membership includes access to their Personal Health Care Record (PHRC) online, while the 14.99 plan has a lot more options. You can register here and view all the details of each plan, but here are a few features that can be used.

  • MY Crisis Card: This is a card that you put in your wallet that has a personalized QR code on it. A medical professional and emergency responder can take the card, scan the code, and all your medical information will be displayed on their smartphone or tablet.
  • MyShareFile: This allows the user to upload diagnostic files to their PHCR, so they can be easily shared and accessed by medical professionals.
  • My Crisis Capsule: A flash-drive like device that contains all your medical information (that you have submitted to your profile) pops up as soon as it is
  • Mobile: The ability to access your PHRC mobiley

After I registered, I went to see what kind of information you could enter. And I wasn’t disappointed. They sure didn’t seem to leave anything out. This could definitely be very helpful in case of an emergency. I like how there are different plans available, just according to whatever your needs are, and even the most expensive plan isn’t that bad. The information is stored securely and can only be accessed on the web with a password.

I did find the website to be a bit confusing. At this point, I’m not entirely sure if everyone gets the My Crisis Capusle, regardless of the plan they sign up for, or if it is only included in the highest plan. I also found it hard to find the information I was looking for at times (like the prices for plans), and it was a little information heavy in some places.

Overall, this program should definitely be one that anyone wanting to be a little more prepared should look into. It’s a nice alternative to storing the information on a mobile app, or on paper, though it can be accessed both those ways (a copy of the PHRC can be printed off if desired.)

December 10, 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.

Runtastic Makes Tracking Exercise Easier and More Fun

If none of the running apps from this post struck your fancy, here’s another great one to try out. Runtastic. It’s not just a run of the mill running app. It’s a running app on steroids. Their moto is “runtastic – makes sports funtastic.” When I first started to review it, it didn’t seem too different from apps I’ve tried in the past, but the more I looked into it, the more I really liked it. If you are really meticulous about tracking your exercise, this definitely is the app for you. It tracks just about everything I can think of. And, it isn’t just for running. The app has tons of different exercises you can select and have it track. Here is the main page:

It keeps track of the history of your exercise, and at the top is a running total of how many calories have been burned, total duration, and mile count. From here, you can also select specific workouts that you want to view the details of. I haven’t used the app too much, so I’m not sure if the workouts stay forever, but it seems to have a good history.

The next few screen shots show what is kept track of for each workout. The main page shows the pace, speed, elevation, and calories. At the end of each workout, you can put in an emoticon to describe how you felt, what kind of terrain you ran on, and even the temperature (which is automatically put in by the app).

The split table allows you to see how fast you went at certain times throughout the exercise session (this particular one was a walk), such as the fastest and slowest sections.

The graphs available show where the elevation was at, the speed, heart rate and pace throughout the run (or whatever exercise you selected).

Finally, you can view a map of the run. This is pretty standard for most running apps.

Potentially the coolest feature of this app is 3D Google Earth view. Unfortunately, this is only available for Android devices, but if you have one, it’s pretty awesome. Check out this video about what it is exactly:

The app also lets users hook up different sensors to more accurately track heart rate, steps, and speed. Ones that have been created specifically by runtastic will be available soon. Check out the sensors here.

runtastic also has different apps that are more specifically tailored to different sports and exercises. The one I reviewed is the standard one that is most specifically for running, but there’s a pedometer, walking, and even winter sports. Check out a full list here. I wasn’t totally sold on how accurate the calorie counter was, as once I started the tracking prematurely as I sat and waited for my sister to arrive, and it told me I had burned around 30 calories just sitting there. I feel as if it would be more accurate if there was the ability to enter in stats, such as age, weight, and sex, and then calories burned would be more accurate. Who knows though.

There are also training plans available for users. This function is only currently available for the iPhone, but there are quite a few available . I wish I had an iPhone, because it seems pretty cool. The plans can be accessed online for those of us without an iPhone, but they obviously aren’t quite as accessible because it isn’t going in your ear as you run. They do cost money, usually around $8 for a Gold member, or $14 for anyone else. To become a Gold member, check out membership fees here.

One kind of fun feature is the “cheer” function. If you allow your app to connect to the runtastic website, your workout will be featured “live” and people can cheer you on. If you need some motivation, that might do the trick. You can also view lots of details concerning your workouts through your online account, connect with friends, input body measurements, and more. I probably won’t use that too often, but it seemed like a neat interface.

The app is available for the iPhone, Android devices, Blackberry devicse, and Windows 7 devices though the features do vary. The lite version is free, but to really get the full functionality of the app, it would be a smart idea upgrade to the Pro version:

iPhone: Runtastic Pro – 5.99 Runtastic – Free

Android: Runtastic Pro – 3.99 Runtastic – Free

Blackberry: Runtastic Pro – 3.99 Runtastic – Free

Windows 7: Runtastic Pro – 4.99 Runtastic – Free

August 13, 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.

Medical Schools Developing School-Specific Apps for Students

Since I recently suggested 5 Must-Have Apps for Medical Students, I found this article to be intriguing. Apparently, medical schools are starting to create their own apps for students in their programs. The articles lists five reasons why medical schools are starting to provide students with school-specific apps:

  1. There is no readily available means of knowing which apps are safe, reliable, and useful
  2. The apps are developed by clinicians and others out of real and specific needs
  3. A wide range of resources are readily available
  4. Reimbursement is not a prerequisite for development
  5. They are unique and complex healthcare institutions

Until certification programs, such as the one being developed by Happtique, are up and running, I would be wary of trusting just any medical app out there. For that reason alone, I think it is a good idea for med schools to create apps that they approve for students to use. That, or provide a list of apps that have been reviewed by professors and clinicians at the University. Because probably every student in medical school has a smart phone, this would be a great resource to have available for students.

Every school is different, even if the bulk of the material taught is the same. Having course-specific apps developed by clinicians and other educators at the school would be helpful for both students and teachers a like. The article mentioned that this could possibly encourage adoption success, which is a win-win all around. And going into number three, what better place to develop a medical app than a place that has just about every medical resource available? I would be way more likely to trust an app created using medical school resources than just some company that creates apps.

I feel like most of the reasons are similar and connected in some way, but they definitely make sense. While I’m not a med student, or anything close to it, I can definitely see the value in this. There are a lot of possibilities for great apps that could be created. It makes me wonder if possibly a new fee will be added to the already exorbitantly high tuition that comes with medical school: app creation fee. I don’t see this totally coming without a price!

August 9, 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.

5 Must-Have Medical Apps for Medical Students

I think it’s safe to say that the next generation of doctors won’t be shying away from using mHealth. However, before having the opportunity to use all the health technology out there in their own practices, there are a few hurdles medical students need to come, the most important being graduation. There are many apps that have been developed to help med students on that journey, and even after graduation. After reading countless reviews, websites, and seeing what apps Harvard Med Students found the most helpful, here is a list of the top five apps for medical students:

1. Epocrates: This app topped many lists that I viewed and for good reason. According to its iTunes page, Epocrates is the number one mobile drug reference used by U.S. physicians, and apparently, 50 percent of physicians rely on it (how accurate that statement is, I have no clue). Before I get ahead of myself, the Epocrates is a company that has a variety of mobile apps available, ranging from anatomy, to first aid, to flash cards for different specialities. Most of them require a hefty fee, but the one I am talking about right now is free. The free version, which allows the user to “get quick access to reliable drug, disease, and diagnostic information at the point of care” has the following features:

  • Clinical information on thousands of prescription, generic, and OTC drugs
  • In-depth formulary information
  • Pill ID
  • Check for adverse reactions between up to 30 drugs at a time
  • Dozens of calculations, such as BMI and GFR
  • Current medical news, research, and information
The app is available for the iPhone, Android, Windows, and the Blackberry.

If you are willing to pay the price, the med students at Harvard recommend Epocrates Essentials, which costs $159 a year, but is far more comprehensive and can be purchased here.

2. iRadiology: Another free app, iRadiology is a “compendium of over 500 unique images demonstrating the classic radiological findings of a multitude  of abnormalities.” The information is pulled from the teachings of Dr. Gillian Lieberman, Director of Harvard Medical Student Education. The resources are available without an Internet connection and would be perfect for studying on the go. The app has over 500 unique cases which have detailed descriptions and a discussion about the findings, quizzes that require the user to find abnormalities, real-life pictures, and a comprehensive keyword search.

The app is available for the iPhone.

3. Dynamed: This app has over 3,100 “evidence-based clinical summaries updated daily and intended for use primarily at the point-of-care.” The database is very comprehensive and organized alphabetically. Conditions, treatments, and more can be easily searched for and reviewed. This is a subscription based app and an access code is required in order to use the app. Many medical institutions have subscriptions and can give their access code to students. However, if your school doesn’t offer a subscription, contact DynaMedSupport@ebscohost.com for an access code. The app covers more than 850 subjects and features a comprehensive drug guide, medical alerts, and calculators.

The app is available for the iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Windows.


4. Medscape Mobile:
With a nearly 5 star rating in the iTunes app store, 1.4 million healthcare professional users, and the #1 most downloaded free medical app in 2010, this is a must for all students and people working in the medical field. It is a very comprehensive go-to app with a little bit of everything. There is up-to-date meidcal news, clinical references for drugs and diseases, and its newest feature, medical calculators. The calculators have 129 medical formulas, scales, and classifications, and supports both US and SI systems. There is information on over 8,000 drugs, features more than 600 step-by-step procedure videos, and sections on different specialties. If you only download one app during medical school, consider this one.

This app is available for the iPhoneAndroidBlackberry, and Kindle Fire

5. Eponyms (for students): With the amount of eponyms that should be learned, this app helps make that process a little easier. Featuring over 1,700 “common and obscure” eponyms, 28 categories, and learn mode. Learn mode randomly displays different eponyms from a particular category that has been viewed recently, making it easy to review eponymns and get them committed to memory. The app uses a data base of eponyms created by Andrew J. Yee, which can be found here. Note that the free student version is only intended for students.

This app is available for the iPhone and Android.

July 6, 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.

Losing Weight on the Go: Keep Food Diary Easier than Ever

A study conducted in 2008 by Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research (KPCHR) discovered that keeping a food diary increases the amount of weight a person can lose. Dr. Jack Hollis, a researched at KPCHR, said concerning the study:

The more food records kept, the more weight they lost. Those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records. It seems that the simple act of writing down what you eat encourages people to consume fewer calories.

Seems pretty simple, right? Without going into too many details in this post, I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life. Luckily, I’ve successfully lost (and kept off) about 50 pounds in the past few years. I credit some of that success to keeping a food diary and caloric intake. But let me tell you, it wasn’t always easy. When I started tracking what I ate, it was such a pain to have to look up in a book how many calories were in certain foods, not to mention carry around a notebook and pen everywhere I went. It was well-worth it but certainly not the most convenient activity.

Luckily, there are a lot of websites and apps out there that making tracking food easier than ever (at least I think so). One of the most well-known companies to make this possible is Weight Watchers. However, it is quite pricey to join. But there are a lot of other great resources out there. My favorite? MyFitnessPal.com.

I discovered MyFitnessPal a few years ago, and it has been awesome, not to mention free. The website encourages its users to interact with friends, family, and quite frankly, random strangers on the website. I’ve used it off and on since I discovered it, and found it to really help make me aware of what I’m eating, and I have lost weight. Don’t just take my word on it. Plenty of others testify of how great the website is.

Still, I don’t always have a computer with me, so I was thrilled when MyFitnessPal came out with their mobile app. Not only is it available on the iPhone and Android phones, but the BlackBerry and Windows phones, so just about anyone with a smartphone can use it. The app is super easy to use and you can literally have your food journal anywhere you go. One of my  favorite features on the app is that you can just scan the barcode of any product and it will automatically upload the nutritional information. Even if a barcode isn’t on the food (say you’re eating out), the database has over 1 million foods. Very rarely have I actually had to enter my own information on foods. Goals are totally customizable, and there is also an option to input exercise, which is also nice (because then you get more calories added to your daily goal!) I also think it’s fun to interact with my family and friends on it.

Here are some screen shots. I think it has a pretty clean interface that’s very simple to use:

App can be downloaded for:

The iPhone

Android

Windows

BlackBerry

While the only app I use is from MyFitnessPal, there are some other awesome ones available. After doing some research, the following are the ones that seem to be most popular:

Calorie Tracker by LIVESTRONG.com — available on the iPhone and Android. Users feel like it has the most extensive food database, and that is its main draw, because it seems to lack a very good design. (cost: $2.99)

MyNetDiary — available on the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. This one seems a little more savvy than CalorieTracker and has more features. However, I would expect it to almost lose the weight for me at the hefty cost of $9.99. Even then, it seems to be pretty popular.

GoMealsHD — available on the iPhone and Android. This one claims to have 175,000 restaurants in the database and 60,000 items. A lot of people like this one because the database is accessible offline, unlike Calorie Tracker, MyNetDiary, and MyFitnessPal. It is also free. The database isn’t quite as good as some of the others, but it seems to get the job done.

So if you want to lose weight, keep a diary. And if you want keeping a diary to be as simple as possible…download one of these apps. It makes life so much easier (and honestly, if it is embarrassing to pull out a food diary in front of people, this makes it a lot more inconspicuous.) Have you found success using a food diary app? Which one is your favorite?

May 16, 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.

Amazon Offering Textbook Rental on the Kindle

Unless you have exceptional athletic ability or wealthy parents, college is an extremely expensive adventure.  My large student loans that I will be paying on for the next decade or two can verify that if you have any doubt.  I can only imagine how bad it must be for medical students.

One of the most annoying expenses is the exorbitant price of textbooks.  I am pretty sure every college student has paid $100+ for a textbook that they didn’t even open, but were required to buy.  Then you go to sell the book back, and they offer you a whopping $10.  Well, at least you can buy lunch.

One of my greatest discoveries in college was the ability to buy, and sell, used textbooks on Amazon.  This saved me tons of money throughout my years, but I was still stuck with books that I would never use again that weren’t worth the postage to mail back.  They now have a new feature that makes life better on both ends.

Tens of thousands of textbooks are now available through the launch of Kindle Textbook Rental.  Through this program students can rent textbooks for anywhere from 30 to 360 days.  For shorter periods they can save 80% off the print list price. The rental period can be extended at anytime for a period as short as a day, or even buy the book at anytime.

Some of the cool features are that you can make margin notes and highlights that you can save even after your rental period ends.  Should you decide to rent the book again all of your notes will be retained through Whispersync technology on the Amazon Cloud.

Kindle textbooks are also available through the free Kindle apps available on PC, Mac, Apple devices, Windows phone, Android, and Blackberry devices.  That means that students can access their textbooks from pretty much anywhere.

For more information the press release can be found here, or you can go straight to their website at www.amazon.com/kindletextbooks

July 20, 2011 I Written By

Microsoft’s HealthVault Now Going Mobile

The full press release can be found here, and there are some great screen shots at this website, but here are my thoughts on the release.

After essentially leading the early years of the computer age Microsoft appears to be consistently playing catch-up.  They have chased after the ideas of others for years now.  The best example probably being the development of Bing trying to catch up with Google.

I find it amusing that they are now announcing the release of HealthVault to the mobile market as if they are the first company to release to the mobile market.  It looks like a worthwhile app, and has some great value in the long run, but it never ceases to amuse me how Microsoft always feels like they are the top dog in everything when they are actually just following a trend.  End rant.

As for the app itself there are some very interesting aspects.

The first being simply the mobile availability of features.  It is very convenient for people to carry their personal health record in their pocket.  This would allow patients to look up their medical history when filling out forms, and tell doctors exactly what they have been taking or been diagnosed with in the past.

Right now it is only available on Windows Phone 7, but that it should be available on the Apple iOS and Google Android in the coming weeks.  They have also built in client libraries to allow for the development of related apps.  The first one, Health Guard by Akvelon is already available on the WP7 marketplace.

HealthVault does a good job of translating CCR and CCD files into the PHR which is convenient since that is what most doctors are starting to use as they work towards attaining Meaningful Use.  The sheer convenience of this inputting method should help drive their product.  Users will still have the option to input manually, and anything that is not recognized will default to a manual input, but the more automation involved the more likely people will be to adopt it.

Maybe the most interesting aspect of the release is the ability to use Facebook to access the site.  By using your Facebook credentials you can populate the sign up form take advantage of what HealthVault has to offer.  With the amount of people that think of Facebook as the internet and how it drives their lives, this makes tons of sense.  They did emphasize that there will be no flow of information from HealthVault back to Facebook, but that if they ever were to develop such apps they would not be implemented without the express permission of users.

This really brings up an interesting discussion about EHR/EMR/PHR and social networking.  This was addressed in a video done by the founder of emrandhipaa.com which can be found here.  I don’t think we will be seeing people’s health records end up on their wall or anything, but I do think we will start to see apps that more widely cover our personal healthcare and take advantage of the power of Facebook.

June 8, 2011 I Written By