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“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.

Is The Microsoft Surface Perfect For Hospitals?

It’s no secret that there are a few tablets that rule the tablet world. There’s the iPad, obviously, and then the Samsung Galaxy 2, and even the Google Nexus 7. And most of these tablets run with either the iOS or Android. Since many apps that physicians are probably using run with one of these two systems,

However, Microsoft’s attempt to jump into the tablet marketplace might just be a game-changer, and app developers may want to consider it. With the announcement that the Surface, the tablet created by Microsoft, will be shipping out with the new Windows 8 OS. And according to HIStalk Mobile, this might be the perfect tablet for hospitals. Here are a few of the reasons listed:

  • Microsoft is the first company to offer a tablet and laptop that have identical operating systems.  This will “reduce the learning curve, and thus the productivity loss, of a first-time tablet user.”
  • The Surface will be able to run Windows 8 Pro, which means it has the capability of running PC-based software without Citrix or VMware connection. This is the first tablet that can do this, so EMR software, barcode scanner drivers, and more can be used directly from the tablet.

I’ll admit, when my husband and I were looking at tablets a few weeks ago, we were very tempted by the Surface, but decided against it, mainly because of the lack of apps available. The article points out that this may not be the tablet “end-users would pick for themselves,” which I agree with. However, because of all the features, and its capability run EMR software, I think it’s definitely going to be a big competitor for physicians and hospitals to use. I’d love to see more apps for patients to be developed for it as well. I think that when that starts happening, Microsoft will really have secured a permanent spot in the tablet marketplace, especially for people wanting to use it for health-related purposes.

It will be interesting to see if it is as successful as anticipated with hospitals. I think for those that may not have gotten tablets because they are nervous about trying out the iOS or Android systems, it will be a tempting offering, especially if they already know and understand Microsoft.

January 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.

25 Percent of Americans Trust Apps as Much as Doctors

A survey done by Royal Philips Electronics revealed that about one-quarter of Americans trust mHealth apps as much as they would trust their doctor. 

This survey also showed that about 27 percent of those surveyed use mobile apps instead of going to the doctor. Even more interesting, is that 1 in 10 of those surveyed felt that “if it were not for web-based health information, ‘they might already be dead or severely incapacitated.”

I thought this was a very interesting study. The sample size was 1,003 people, with 503 men and 500 men over the age of 18, so I feel like it’s pretty legitimate. At first, I thought it was kind of strange that people trust mHealth apps as much as their doctors, but then I realized…I’m probably in that 25 percent as well. To be honest, I think I sometimes trust the Internet and mHealth apps more than our doctors.

Concerning the study, Dr. Eric Silfen, the Chief Medical Officers of Philips Healthcare, had some interesting thoughts:

We are in the early stages of the web-enabled, mHealth, mobile app world of healthcare delivery. Near-future apps will focus on tying together health information technologies, connecting with doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals and patients, all within a social context that facilitates shared medical decision-making. This evolution will harken the new vital signs of the clinical times with technologies that help prevent medical errors, lower the financial and social cost of care, sustain a higher quality of medical practice and support an evidence-based standard for medicine in general. Ultimately, the technological undercurrents of the post-PC world – the power of many, designer gadgets, cloud ecosystems, and mobile app computing -will hasten the personalization and partnerships that will transform sustainable medical care to the highest quality.

I think in the future, even more people will be trusting their mHealth apps just as much (or even more!) than their doctors. There are so many apps and technologies that are coming out, on what seems like a daily basis, and they are only going to get better. Sometimes, a doctor appointment can be rushed and a patient can leave feeling discouraged about the information they got — having access to so much health information, as well as gadgets that can diagnose illness, might become more popular. Definitely an interesting study though, and encouraging for mHealth app creators.

January 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.

UK Company Developing a Biosensor Device to Detect Flu and RSV

‘Tis the season for the flu, colds, and other respiratory diseases. Not exactly something to put a person in the holiday spirit, right? Well, a company in the United Kingdom is currently working on some pretty cool technology, that supposedly will help detect these illnesses in their early stages — during the time when treatments are most affective.

OJ-Bio, the company that has been developing the new biosensor device, recently received government backing for the device. According to OJ-Bio, the device “is intended to provide rapid, simple and low-cost diagnoses of flu and respiratory conditions.”  Below is a picture of the device, hooked up to a smart phone:

Point of care diagnosis[2]

The device can be used just about anywhere — at home, work, school. The results are available almost immediately — which is much better than having to wait for lab results, which can sometimes take hours or even days. According to the article, OJ Bio has been working with the U.K.’s Health Protection Agency for the past few years on this project, and the device accurately detected respiratory illnesses even quicker than other methods.  Some of the viruses that were in the test protocol included Influenza A and B as well as Respiratory Synctvial Virus.

In the press release, chief executive of OJ-Bio said:

Flu viruses cause misery for millions of people each year and early diagnosis is vital. Drugs are only effective in the first few days after symptoms appear and current tests, which involve laboratory analysis of samples, simply aren’t fast enough.

I’ve mentioned before that my son had RSV when he was just two weeks old. During the experience, I came to appreciate the importance of diagnosing illnesses like that very quickly and early on. We were very lucky and caught it just when he started to get it, so he was able to receive treatment and it didn’t get as bad as it could have. However, not everyone is so lucky, and aren’t diagnosed with the flu or other respiratory illnesses until they get to the point where treatments aren’t super effective. In the winter, it is sometimes hard to go to the doctor, especially since there’s the risk of picking up other illnesses while there. Having a device like this could be so helpful in helping people know if their cold or stomachache is more than just something passing by. I’ve read a lot lately about people who have been hospitalized by the flu, and I wonder how many of those could have avoid hospitalization if something like this had been available.

I’m not sure if this will be available in the United States as well, but I sure hope it will be. Definitely another item I’d want to add to my home-health kit!

December 26, 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.

Korean Researchers Literally Put a Doctor in Your Pocket

When I hear people saying that a smart phone is like having a doctor in your pocket…I assume they are talking about apps like WebMD that help diagnose illness and disease by listing symptoms. However, researchers in Korea are developing something that will literally be like a doctor. Check out this video:

I think it’s crazy that cancer, diabetes, and other diseases may be diagnosed through a smart phone. A hypochondriac’s dream, right? As I watched this video, I thought about various positives and negatives. Perhaps someone that doesn’t have access to health care for whatever reason, and can’t afford diagnostic tests, can try and see if they need to visit the doctor and pay those fees. Or if someone believes their doctor didn’t listen to their concerns, yet their inner conscience indicates otherwise, maybe this can help convince their doctor to look into further testing.

However, I could also see some potential issues. First off — how accurate is it? I would absolutely hate for someone to believe they were free of any disease just because of this smart phone “doctor.” How horrible would it be if someone got a false negative, but indeed did have cancer? Next, is a smart phone really a place where a blood sample should be taken? The video kind of addresses this, and mentions that some people might not like the idea of this for their smart phone, and I think that is a legitimate concern. I mean, a smart phone can do a lot, but should it really do everything? Is there a line that shouldn’t be crossed. It’s one thing to have an app that lets you know what your symptoms may be for, but it’s another to try and literally become a handheld doctor.

Regardless, it’s a pretty awesome creation, and I’ll be interested to see how it all pans out.

November 5, 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.

Striiv Ups the Standard for Pedometers — Games, Challenges, and Charity Incorporated

The amount of pedometers I have owned in my life is a bit ridiculous. Granted, most of them have been free, or cost less than five dollars…but the fact of the manner is — I usually end up losing them as a result of forgetting to use it in the first place.

Striiv, a company that aims to create products that get people walking, has recently come out with two new products to achieve that goal. The first, a $99 pedometer that has tons of features. And the second? Something that anyone who tends to lose pedometers will appreciate.

Both the pedometers were created with activity based games with one goal in mind — to get people moving. The actual pedometer “turns 10,000 steps a day into playing a game, donating to charity, and competing with friends,” according to the Strivv website.

It really looks like a lot of fun. The device is pretty small, and looks like a cell phone. It tracks steps, mileage, and has challenges and tournaments. One of the coolest things about the device is that the more the user uses it, the more customized the experience becomes. It starts to learn habits and adapt to lifestyles. And instead of simply just showing the amount of calories burned, or miles walked, the device shows food items that have been burned, and shows distances like walking across the golden gate bridge.

Every step a person walks while using the Striiv Smart Pedometer, money gets donated to charity. This is a free service to the user, and goes to a great cause.

It also has a fun fitness game called “My Land.” Here is the description of it from the website:

MyLand is the first ever fitness based game on a pedometer. The concept is simple. You start with an enchanted island and your goal is to bring back the animals that inhabit the island by planting the building trees and places to live. Everything you build is based on how much you walk, run, and take the stairs though. So the more you move, the more you progress.

For anyone that likes games or is competitive, this sounds like the perfect motivation!

Now for those who can’t afford the $99 price tag, or just simply want to incoporate a pedometer into their phone, the free app from Striiv is a great idea. I mean, I always have my phone with me. Almost no chance of losing it, right?

The app creates customized challenges to “hit throughout the day.” It keeps track of distances and calories burned (Striiv actually teamed up with MyFitnessPal to help track nutrition.) Users can compete against friends, or even people they don’t know, for some added motivation. It also creates graphs about weight loss and distance walked.

“MyLand” is also available on the app, so you won’t be missing out by just getting the free app. I wasn’t able to figure out if walking goes toward charity, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it does.

I’ve often heard that walking is the first “step” toward becoming healthier. And it looks like Striiv is making great strides to making that easier and more enjoyable. I’d love to try out either of these, but I’ll just have to wait and see if the app comes out for Android.

Download the app for free here
Striiv Smart Pedometer can be purchased here

October 26, 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.

Smartphone Blood-Testing System Change the Way Tests Are Given

I found something today that really caught my idea — a handheld lab that can potentially eliminate the wait time for finding out blood test results. 

This handheld lab is a smartphone-enable blood-testing system. It was developed by researchers at the University of Rhode Island. Not only will it eliminate the long waiting period for test results, but requires less blood in order to be tested.

I know how frustrating  and, well, nerve racking, the wait game to be. And getting blood drawn is my least favorite thing because of my tiny veins — on average, I have to get poked three times before enough blood is taken. This was the exact case a few weeks ago when I had to get three vials of blood drawn, and then wait five long days for the results. Oh, how I would have loved for this technology to be at my doctor’s office.

It works like this:

What the university calls “lab-on-a-chip technology” needs just a drop of blood for analysis. The blood is placed on a disposable, credit card-sized plastic polymer cartridge and inserted into a hand-held biosensor, where it reacts with reagents so a sensor can detect certain disease biomarkers

While this doesn’t seem like it would work in all cases, it’s pretty neat. This will likely open the door for a lot more “instant result” innovations being created.

As I was reading the article, I thought — well, I wonder if this could be available to consumers. My answer was quickly answered part way through. Mohammad Faghri, the lead researcher, said that it can even be done from home. It’s another way for patients to take control of their health care. While the first generation version cost $3,200 for the sensor, the most recent version is only $10, making it very affordable for just about everyone.

September 26, 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.

Is mHealth Poised to Explode? Infograph Showing Growth of mHealth

The more that I discover, the more I love infographics. There’s just something about them that draws me in. I mean, some of the information listed on different infographics would probably be less-than-interesting presented by itself, or jumbled together with a bunch of other textual facts. However, adding some pictures and some colorful text makes it so much easier to read.

I found this as I was perusing Pinterest (it’s not just for finding meals, or sewing projects. A post on mHealth in Pinterest coming soon.) As you can see, this infographic poses the questions “Is mHealth poised to explode?”

These stats are crazy. There are more than 10,000 health apps in the iTunes App store? Sure, some of those are useless, but even after weeding those out, there’s so many. I think mHealth has a huge potential to change the way we view and access health care. The possibilities are endless! It was interesting, however, that 88 percent of doctor’s want their patients to monitor vital stats at home. How accurate could this be? This raises the question, will people actually do that? People don’t always do what their doctor’s advise, either because they don’t feel like it, or they forget. So what makes doctor’s think patients will actually track their vital stats? Maybe if they are using a mobile app, it will be easier, especially if there are reminders embedded into the app.

I’m interesting in finding out more about the apps listed at the end of this. They all seem pretty cool, and show just how innovative mHealth is becoming. Look for some posts on those in the future.

I definitely agree with the 40 percent of doctors that believe mobile technology will reduce the number of visits to the doctor. I’ve seen this to be true in my own life, as I’ve been able to find answers to some of my questions without having to call and bother my doctor in the middle of the night, or going to the doctor unnecessarily. If mHealth can safely reduce the number of visits to the doctor’s office, I feel like everyone would benefit: Less people would be paying unnecessary co-pays, doctor’s offices would be less crowded, resulting in less waiting time for patient’s that actually need to be there.

I love this time that we live in there. There are so many opportunities available, and ways to better how we live. To answer the questions asked by this infograph, we are just at the beginning of the mHealth explosion. It will be exciting to see what will come about in the near future.

July 31, 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.

App Created to Connect Patients With Doctors Immediately

Have you heard of Consult a Doctor? Well, if you haven’t, here’s a little bit of an overview:

MYHEALTHPLAN24/7 is Consult A Doctor’s revolutionary cloud-based telemedicine platform that offers health plans the freedom to dramatically improve access for their members, and offer a significant convenience and revenue benefit to their provider network, all while reducing cost of care by ensuring that members stay healthier with the right care, in the right setting as soon as possible.

Consult a Doctor offers cloud-based telemedicine services to its users. It teams up with hospitals, providers, employers, and consumers to provide affordable health care and advice to everyone. Patients connect with their doctors via the Internet and are able to get care faster, easier, and less expensive over all. On June 6th, Consult a Doctor announced their new app, iDr 24/7. Anyone who is currently subscribed to Consult a Doctor, either through their employer or health plan. iDr 24/7 is the first of its kind is available for the iPhone. Users will have the opportunity to be instantly connected with a doctor, no matter where they are. The press release from Consult a Doctor described the app:

The mobile app will enable members to connect with network physicians via phone and secure messaging for live, on-demand medical consultations, including medical diagnosis, treatment, and if appropriate, prescriptions to certain medications to treat non-emergent conditions.

Sometime this year, the app will be available to other groups as well, including providers and patients.

It’s pretty incredible how far seeking medical attention has come. I mean, someone used to have to ride horseback miles and miles just to find a doctor, and now a doctor can be reached almost instantaneously. While yes, in a true emergency, you should go to the emergency room, I think this is a great option for those just needing to talk to a doctor about some basic concerns, or who needs to get a prescription filled. Last week, David talked about a tricorder being developed called Scanadu, which also would give medical advice instantly. I wonder what type of technology will be developed next to make reaching a doctor even easier.

Consult a Doctor offers both individual and group plans. Pricing for the plans can be found here. Beyond access to iDr 24/7, membership benefits are:

  • Licensed physicians available 24/7/365.
  • 100% Approval — No one is ever turned down!
  • No Limitations on Usage
  • Great alternative for the uninsured or underinsured
  • Store and share your EMRs (Electronic Medical Records)
  • Immediate access to Consult a Doctor’s health related interactive tools/service
  • HIPAA-compliant

A free trial is available, and enrollment can be done here or by calling 1-800-362-2667.

June 25, 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.