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What’s Next for Smartphone Innovation?

GigaOm recently reported that Apple is working on a curved screen smartphone and pressure-sensitive touch censors for future iPhones.

Samsung had already announced a curved screen smartphone as is demonstrated in this video:

As I think about these new smartphone innovations, I don’t see anything real game changing with this technology. Certainly I understand that the biggest game changers in technology are often when a company combines a bunch of relatively innocuous innovations into one tight package. I believe the iPhone is the perfect example of this principle.

With that said, I have to feel a little disappointed by even the small innovations that are coming out in the latest smartphones. Bigger screens, curved glass, and pressure sensitive sensors don’t do much for me. I’d love to hear what you think about the pace of smartphone innovation. What could they innovate that would really be a game changing innovation for healthcare?

The hardware piece aside, I think on the smartphone software side there is still a ton of potential for innovation coming very soon. We’ll see where it takes us. I’m not expecting huge hardware innovation in smartphones anytime soon. When it comes to eyewear computing like Google Glass, that’s a different story.

November 13, 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.

Lumosity: An Exercise Program For Your Brain

So often, we focus on our physical health, but neglect our mental health. All forms of dementia are devastating. Many people complain of brain fog. Thousands of people suffer from attention disorders. While I don’t claim to know the cure for any of these things (or even the cause) I do think that exercising the mind is just as important as exercising your body. I mean, if your brain fails, then your life ceases to exist. It’s a pretty important thing to take care of!

I saw a commercial today for a website called Lumosity.com. It sparked my interest, so I decided to check it out. The website says that it “turns neuroscience breakthroughs into fun, effective games” and it’s a way to “harness your brains neuroplasticity [the brain’s ability to grow and expand] and train your way into a brighter life.”

To be honest, it seems like it is set up a bit like an exercise website. When you sign up, you answer some questions about where you want changes to be made. Changes can be made in any of five categories, all of which have subcategories. These categories are memory, attention, speed, flexibility, and problem solving. You can select as many or as few of these categories as you want. After doing this, you can create an account and view your free and personalized training program, and you can personalize your training even further.

The program changes with you — as you get better at the challenges, you get newer ones. Each of the “sessions” include a variety of games to help you improve in the areas you initially selected. You get points very every game you do, to help you track your progress. The games are actually pretty fun, and challenging, and scientifically developed to help increase your brain function.

The basic version of Lumosity is free, but if you really want to get into the program, there are paid options. This gives you more games each day, more personalized training, and more. People spend hundreds, maybe even thousands, on personal training at a gym, as well as countless hours…so why not spend some of those valuable resources on making sure your brain is in tip-top shape? I thought this was a cool idea, and I think it could be a great resources for anyone wanting to exercise their mind. Apparently, 97% of Lumosity users improve after just 10 hours of training (which can be seen in the personalized tracking portion of the website.)_

Lumosity Brain Trainer is also available as a free download for iOS devices.

June 10, 2013 I Written By

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

iChemoDiary Helps Cancer Patients Track Symptoms

In Friday afternoon’s #HITsm Chat, the following Tweet caught my eye:

Although I don’t have cancer, and hope never to, many people that I know have been diagnosed with some kind of cancer. Because of this, I was interested in learning more about this app and see what it had to offer.

When you have cancer and are undergoing chemotherapy, it’s important to pay close attention to any symptoms or side effects that you may experience, as well stay on track with treatment. iChemoDiary makes that process a little bit easier, by giving several options to users for tracking this information. You can track your schedule, medicines that are being taken, and access your treatment plan easily.

In addition, the app allows you to track which symptoms you should be watching out for, and take notes throughout the day. Reports can be created concerning anything that you recorded in the app.

This app seems like an easy way to track chemotherapy treatment, and easily share the information with doctors and nurses. It’s free to download, and looks pretty easy to use. I think it would be nice to have an app dedicated to keeping track of this information, rather than having to worry about remembering the details, or carrying around a notebook everywhere you go. Similar to using a  food diary, sometimes it’s just easier to have something that is easily accessible and created solely for this puprose.

Are there any other apps available for people that are undergoing chemotherapy, or who have been diagnosed with cancer?

Download here for iOS devices.

May 29, 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.

11 Great iPhone Apps for Nurses — According to Apple

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

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

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

Cost: Free 

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

Cost: Free

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

Cost: 9.99

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

Cost: Free

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

Cost: Free

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

Cost: 9.99

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

Cost: .99

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

Cost: Free

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

Cost: Free

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

Cost: Free

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

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

May 13, 2013 I Written By

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

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.

Sodium 101 Helps Combat Excessive Sodium Intake

Whenever we go to the store, my husband meticulously analyzes the nutrition label on the food we buy, specifically looking at the amount of sodium in the product. While it makes shopping take a little longer, I’m glad he does it. Especially after reading this article about how studies are showing that too much salt may trigger certain autoimmune diseases.

But, it’s not always so easy to look at the labels. Yet keeping track of a person’s sodium intake is so important. The Mayo Clinic reports that Americans should have less than 2,300 mg a day (and under 1,500 mg if you are 51 or older,) and the average American gets around 3,400 mg each day. It definitely sounds like a problem to me.

So that’s where Sodium 101 comes in. This is an app created to combat the problem of too much sodium, and help people make healthier choices. It makes it easier to make low-sodium choices, especially when having take out. The app includes tons of features, such as:

  • Tracking sodium intake, specific for your age group
  • Track sodium in packaged food
  • View sodium content of takeout food
  • Listing of over 2,000 food items in popular takeout chains
  • A converter that helps calculate the amount of sodium in any product
  • Track progress
  • Share totals on social networks

Keep in mind, this is an app created in Canada, so not all the information will probably be fit for someone in the United States. However, I think that anyone could make some use of it.  I’m not sure why anyone would want to share their daily sodium totals on Facebook or Twitter, but to each his own I guess.

My sodium intake is actually something I’ve been trying to pay a lot closer attention to when I make meals for my family and me. This app could be really helpful for that, and helping me make better choices. The app has some great visuals though, and it looks nice.

It’s only available for iOS devices, but, it is free. Download it here.

March 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.

T2 Mood Tracker Updated and Wins Award

Several months ago, The Department of Defense released LifeArmor, an app created for military families coping with stress.  T2 Mood Tracker, released in 2010, was also created by a department in the Department of Defense. This app was created to help people, particularly those in the military, track their emotions over time and be able to use it to discuss with their healthcare provider. Although this app has been available for awhile, it recently had some updates.

The app was originally created for military personnel, but it has become very popular with people not in the military as well. It comes with six pre-loaded “issues” that can be tracked, though customized ones can be added as well. The six included are anxiety, depression, general well-being, head injury, post traumatic stress disorder, and stress. After selecting the issues, the user simply moves the slider to select which word describes them best at any point.

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After doing this, the app will automatically graph the results, and a user can also write down notes throughout the day, to give insight to why certain times were worse/better than other times.

With the recent update, users can do quite a few new things, which include:

  • PDF or CSV generated reports that can be printed or email for a provider
  • Data can be backed up to a phone’s SD card
  • Find psychological health support in your area
  • Set reminders to update moods
  • Results are shown in easy to read graphs

I really like this app, from what I’ve seen, and I think the updates make it even more user friendly, and helpful for those that are using it. I’m glad that it is now being encouraged for people in and outside of the military to use it as well.

This app also won first place in the general wellness category of the Apps4Army competition. It can be downloaded for Android and iOS devices, free of charge.

February 28, 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.

Amiigo: A New Wearable Device About To Hit The Market

Wearable fitness devices are a dime-a-dozen. Whenever I go to the store, or read up on the latest mHealth news, I feel like I’m seeing another one. Just like I said about food diaries, the device really needs to have features that set it apart from others. Amiigo is one that’s just about to be released, and it definitely is something I think people are going to be interested in.

Started by a team of Salt Lake City Entrepreneurs, Amiigo is a Bluetooth fitness device that is be worn as a bracelet and shoe clip. The team was promoting it on Indiegogo and reach their initial goal very quickly. Now, the product is available for pre-order, and in hopes of reaching their $350,000 goal, the team is hosting a contest — the top twocolors voted for on their Indiegogo page will go to production if that goal is reached. They are only about $9,000 away, so if you are interested, be sure to go check out the page.

Not sure if you are interested in voting and investing? Here’s some information about this neat advice

Amiigo 5

Amiigo is sweat-proof and recognizes more than 100 exercises. The device had sensors in the bracelet that detect upper body movements, and the shoe clip detects lower body movements. It uses these sensors to determine what the users full body workout was, and sends the information to the mobile app.

Some other key features include:

  • Tracking Physiological Response: It tracks things like heart rate, blood oxygen level, skin temperature, and calories burned
  • Sharing With Others: Workouts can be shared on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, where friends and family can post encouragement.
  • Power Saving and Comfortable: It has a battery charge of two or more days, and is adjustable so it fits comfortably on just about everyone

From what I can tell, this is going to be an awesome wearable fitness device. I like that it can automatically detect what exercise you are doing and calculate information based on that. It is also available for both Android and iOS. If I had the money, I’d definitely donate some to get this product out quicker, but if you do and this sounds like something you would like, head on over here.

February 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.