Free Smart Phone Healthcare Newsletter Want to receive the latest updates on smart phones, gadgets and technology for healthcare? Join thousands of healthcare pros who subscribe to Smart Phone HC for FREE!

Cerner Wellness Integrates with Apple’s HealthKit

When Apple announced HealthKit, they announced a few healthcare partners including Epic. Many thought this was an interesting announcement, but I was (and still am) skeptical that anything really meaningful will come. As one person put it, we’re suppose to be excited that two of the most closed companies in the world are working together?

I recently saw the news come out that Epic’s main competitor, Cerner, announced that they’d integrated with Apple’s HealthKit. In fact, I believe their integration seems to have come out before Epic’s integration (unless I missed it, or maybe Epic just likes to keep quiet). Here’s a short excerpt from the Cerner announcement:

To me, HealthKit is about making it more convenient to manage your health and wellness, and share that information with the people that are helping you reach your goals. It’s less about trying to get real-time clinical insights or make new diagnoses. HealthyNow has the features that consumers and wellness experts are looking for in these apps, and by integrating with HealthKit, we’ve opened up the experience to a whole array of health apps for our members to choose from. This integration enables the feeding of key health metrics into our platform for sharing with health coaches, earning of incentive points, and identification of new opportunities to improve your health. By promoting healthier habits, consumers lower their premiums, health plans reduce their spend on treating avoidable diseases, and everyone lives a healthier life. (emphasis added)

The details on what Apple’s HealthKit would really do have been pretty foggy. Although, this paragraph illustrates where I figured HealthKit was going. Notice the part of the quote where I added emphasis. Cerner is just looking to suck data from HealthKit into Cerner. Maybe they have future plans to make Cerner data available to HealthKit, but the announcement seems to say they haven’t done so yet. This one way interface is exactly why I’m skeptical that HealthKit will really have a huge impact on healthcare.

What do you think? Have any of you integrated with HealthKit? I’d love to see if you have other views of where HealthKit might be headed.

October 1, 2014 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.

Apple Health and HealthKit – I’m Extremely Skeptical

Everyone is buzzing over the latest announcement from Apple at the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) that an Apple Health app and HealthKit (for healthcare developers) will be included in the latest iOS release (iOS8). The announcement was a little weak for me because it had already been leaked that the announcement was coming and also because the details of what it will do are really glossed over.

Whenever I hear an announcement without many details I start to wonder if it’s just vaporware right now. I think it is in this case. Instead of Apple offering a healthcare product that they know people need and will use, it feels like they’ve seen the growth of the health tracker and wearables market and they’re just throwing something out there to see if it works.

This HuffPo article compared the Apple HealthKit to what Apple did in iTunes. That’s so out of touch with the reality of healthcare apps. Music is a simple thing (not the rights part, but the usage part) that everyone understands. If you give them the music, then the consumer can go to town with it. Health data is much more complex.

The reality of health data is that it often has little value without some sort of outside expert analysis. This becomes even more important when you start mixing multiple sources of data into one interface like Apple will be doing with HealthKit. Sure, if Apple was focused on making all of the data they collected from all these third parties into smart, actionable data, then I’d be really excited. However, they’re not doing this at all. They’re just going to be a dumb platform that anyone can connect to and the smartest thing it will do is send you a notification. However, the outside application will have to prompt it to even do that.

I don’t think that Apple HealthKit is all bad. Maybe it will make it easier for developers to code their application once and then be able to connect their application to any blood pressure cuff out there. If they can do that, it would provide a lot of value to entrepreneurs in the space. However, it won’t transform health as we know it the way some people are describing it.

I also love people propping up the names of the Mayo Clinic and Epic. Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault had some similar names as well. How are they doing? A name doesn’t mean you’ll get a result.

The Epic name is interesting. However, I’m not very confident that bringing one closed garden together with another closed garden is really going to produce a lot of results. I’ll get back to you when I actually see them announce what they’re really doing together. Until then, this just feels like Epic and Apple had dinner together and said that it would be great if they could work together. If they had more, they sure didn’t talk about it on stage. So, I’m skeptical of what will really come out of the partnership.

June 4, 2014 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.

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

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

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

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

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

October 16, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 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.

iWatch Video

It looks like the iWatch is still coming. Check out this video from Business Insider where they talk about the future iWatch.

Check out our previous smartwatch coverage of Samsung, Qualcomm, and even Nissan.

September 30, 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.

Google Returns to Healthcare

Many old timers will remember when Google Health was shut down and Google mostly got out of healthcare (although they certainly argue that many people turn to Doctor Google for health information). I wrote a lot about Google Health over the years. I was sad to see Google out of healthcare, but figured it was only a matter of time before they returned. However, I didn’t expect them to return the way they did.

Google just announced a new company called Calico that will focus on health and well-being. The announcement is light on details, but the various news outlets are saying that Google is trying to take on aging. No doubt Google has been known for crazy ideas, but trying to combat death might be their biggest challenge to date.

It’s also interesting that the new Google healthcare company will have Arthur Levinson as the CEO and a founding investor. Arthur Levinson is also Chairman and former CEO of Genentech and Chairman of Apple.

I love this quote from David Brailer from the LA Times: “Extending life is about as high as it gets on the human scale,” Brailer said. “It’s obviously a profoundly important goal.”

This investment and also other investment by rich tech entrepreneurs reminds me of this post I did from CES in 2012. In the post I talk about John Sculley and how it’s interesting how these older ex-CEOs are so interested in healthcare. I guess this is part of that trend.

September 19, 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.

Smart Watch Announcements – Qualcomm’s Toq and Samsung’s Galaxy Gear

We posted about the rumored iWatch from Apple a while back, but today Apple was beat to the punch with both Qualcomm and Samsung announcing smart watches today. The smart watch movement could mean a lot for mobile health.

Qualcomm’s smart watch offering is called the Toq and isn’t planned to go on sell until the middle of next month. Plus, Qualcomm calls it a technology demonstration instead of a commercial endeavor. That means they’re looking to partners to carry this torch. Qualcomm isn’t turning into a consumer electronics company. Here’s AllThingsD’s description of the smart watch:

It features several different watch faces, including one that matches the time with upcoming calendar appointments, and another that displays both time and weather information. The Toq can also control the phone’s music player, as well as display text messages and send one of several preset replies. Clearly designed as a companion to a smartphone, the watch settings are controlled from an app that runs on an Android smartphone.

Watch owners can also get other types of Android notifications that would normally flash on their phone screen. Users can decide which apps’ notifications are shown on the watch. Qualcomm will also make available a developer tool kit that will let interested companies create their own “applets” for the watch.

At the same time, the combination of the Mirasol display and other power-saving features means that the device can be always-on (there’s no on-off switch) and still get several days of use between charges.

I think this is best described as a second screen for your smart phone. Although, it’s a second screen that’s always on thanks to the Qualcomm Mirasol display technology.

The Samsung Galaxy Gear smart watch will launch on Sept 25 in more than 140 countries and available worldwide in October. Here’s AllThingsD’s description of the device:

Designed to be a smartphone companion, the Android-based wearable features a stainless steel frame with a 1.63-inch, 320 by 320 pixel touchscreen and rubber straps that come in six different colors, including orange, yellow and white.

For now it appears that the Galaxy Gear is designed to work only with the Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition tablet, which were also announced. Once connected via Bluetooth, the watch can alert you to incoming texts and emails. A feature called “Smart Relay” also mirrors what you’re seeing on your smartphone to the watch.

With a built-in mic, you can make and receive phone calls and draft messages, create calendar appointments and more using Samsung’s S Voice command system. The watch’s strap also has an integrated 1.9-megapixel camera. But before you get excited about living out your dream as a spy, the camera makes a shutter noise that can’t be disabled.

That’s a huge problem that the Galaxy Gear only works with the latest Galaxy Note products. I imagine this will change once Samsung is able to push out an update to the Samsung S3 and S4’s. If they can’t do that, then this device is really going to suffer. The battery life on the device is estimated at 25 hours and will launch with more than 70 compatible apps including the RunKeeper app.

The most exciting part of both of these announcements is that we’re just getting started with the Smart Watch technology. I’m not sure how this is going to evolve, but I love the always on feature of a smart watch. I also love the idea of it being a second screen. Plus, with an accelerometer on the watch and likely more bio sensors to come, there’s a great opportunity for mobile health apps.

September 4, 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 iWatch and Apple’s Role in Healthcare

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

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

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

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

July 24, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 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.

WebMD Introduces New Allergy App

WebMD sure is trying to make a name for themselves in the mHealth world. In addition to the other apps they released last year, they just added another app to that suite. This time, it focuses on allergies.

I think that everyone probably knows someone that has some kind of allergy, or even suffers from one themselves. My husband has seasonal allergies, and my son has several food allergies. While this app is geared more toward people who suffer from allergies themselves, I think just about anyone could benefit from it.

The app features a few different sections, which include:

  • Allergy Forecast: Allergy levels specific for your location that are regularly updated. You can also look up the “allergy forecast” for places you are visiting.
  • Personalized Forecasts and Tips: After indicating which allergies you and/or your family suffer from, the app will give you tips on how to manage those allergies.
  • Allergies 101: This includes WebMD’s library of allergy related resources — articles, photos, and videos. It focuses on seven categories: Outdoor, indoor, skin, drug, food, insect bites and stinks, and latex.
  • Timely Alerts: This helps you plan your days, and know if certain triggers will be worse, according to the allergy forecast.

The part of this app I think makes this one everyone should download is Allergies 101. You never know when you will be around someone when they have an allergic reaction to something, and being able to quickly access information may be important. As a parent, and especially because I have a child with allergies, I feel it’s important to be able to access that information at a moment’s notice. It would be easier to go straight to this app, rather than messing around with Google.

It’s fun to see WebMD coming out with new apps fairly regularly. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of WebMD, and I love using their apps.

This app can be downloaded for iOS for free here.

April 3, 2013 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

SlimKicker Turns Tracking Food and Exercise Into a Game

If incentives cause people to lose weight, does competition do it as well? Well, SlimKicker, might prove if that is true as well.

At first glance, SlimKicker looks like just about any other food and exercise diary. You can enter exercise, food, and track your weight and other goals. However, it hosts different challenges that its users can join, and some of them yield actual prizes — not just badges like many sites have. Many of the challenges give you points for winning, which I will talk about next.

SlimKicker is similar to Weight Watchers in the sense that is point-based. However, instead of losing points for the foods you eat, you get them. The healthier the food, the more points you get. And what can you use the points for? From what I can tell, you can redeem them for prizes, but I have yet to figure out

One of my favorite parts of SlimKicker is the visualization aspect of it. You can upload a photo of the rewards that you want, when you reach a certain goal our level. When you reach those, SlimKicker lets you know, and you can redeem the reward. While it is up to you to provide the reward “promised,” it’s a nice reminder to see a reward whenever you login.

SlimKicker’s goal is to help its users keep motivation. How many of us have gotten all revved up about a new exercise regimen, or diet, only to give up on it a week later? I know I’m not the only one. With the challenges and inspiration feed that SlimKicker has, it is easier to stay motivated.

I know I talk a lot about food and exercise trackers here, but there are just so many, and to be honest, many of them have really unique features. One of the best ways to stay healthy, and out of the doctor’s office, is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and by using these websites and apps, you can do just that.

There is a free app for iOS devices, which can be downloaded here.

March 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.

CDC Launches New Mobile App

It was only a matter of time before the CDC developed a mobile app — and it looks like it is jam-packed with features. Unfortunately for me, it isn’t compatible with my mobile device, but I was able to read enough about it, to make me wish I could download it. The CDC is one of my go-to websites, so I’m sure the mobile app is just as good.

Available for most Android and iOS devices, this is free for all. Some of the features include:

  • CDC Health articles: These are written by “subject matter experts and health communicators,” and are on a variety of topics. 
  • Disease of the week: This feature has quizzes, prevention tips, images and videos pertaining to a certain topic. I like to think of this as “convince yourself that you have this disease” of the week. Okay, not really. But I could see myself doing that.
  • CDC Vital Signs: This contains information that relates to public health topics, and “calls to action” about them. It has information on everything from seatbelt use to HIV testing to obesity.
  • Newsroom: Simple enough, this contains press releases from the CDC. They often release important information, so this might be helpful to have on hand.
  • Podcasts

For those accessing the CDC app from a tablet, it has been optimized to work better there. It can be used on the iPad, and the Google Play Store tested (and fount it to work well) on the Google Nexus 7″, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1″, Amazon Kindle Fire, Motorola Xoom 10.1″, Samsung Galaxy 1, 7″, and the Samsung Galaxy 2, 7″.

From what I can tell, this is a great resource. For anyone that follows the CDC on a regular basis, this is a must-have. I think it would be interesting if the CDC would add some kind of notification system — if there’s an outbreak of illness or disease on someone’s area, they would be instantly notified. That could end up causing widespread panic, but I think it could be a great feature. Overall though, I wish I could download this app to my phone, because it does have a lot of different functions.

As I mentioned, this is a free app available for both Android and iOS devices.

January 14, 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.