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Pain Squad App Helps Adolescent Cancer Patients

I can’t even imagine what a scary experience it would be to have cancer, let along as a child. One of the ways to treat the symptoms of cancer is to understand the pain level, and what the patient is feeling. However, that can be difficult to get a full grasp on, especially in children. If they aren’t tracking it daily, then information collected can be flawed.

Last year, an app was released in beta testing at a Canadian hospital in Toronto to help doctors understand more fully what their younger patients were feeling as they underwent cancer treatment. The app, called Pain Squad, was developed using the feedback from children and teenagers who had cancer. It involves pain surveys that have to be filled out twice daily, but involves the child and engages them.

The app features videos of celebrities from popular law enforcement shows, Rookie Blue and Flashpoint, giving motivation to kids as they do a certain amount of journals in a row, and they can be promoted to different ranks. This video does a great job of explaining the app, and shows some of the videos. They are so motivating!

I really liked this quote, from the parents of a little girl named Olivia, who was a study participant:

Filling out a paper pain journal was like homework. The Pain Squad app is interactive and the more Olivia used it, the more rewards she got. It only takes a few minutes to complete but it gave Olivia a better understanding of and more control over her pain.”

Last year, this was in some of the final stages of testing, and because of it’s success, it was set to be released in other areas in Canada, as well as outside of Canada. I’m not sure if it’s officially been released since then, but I love the idea of this. There’s only so much you can determine from asking someone to point at a smiley face on a poster board to describe their pain level (I personally never really know what to say when I’m confronted with that sign!)

This app is designed for the iPhone.

June 26, 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.

uChek Brings Urinalysis Home

Most doctor’s appointments tend to involve some kind of urine sample, at least it seems like it. Even though I’m sure no one really looks forward to this, urine tests can reveal a lot of information about a person’s health, and what may be causing problems. uChek, a product from Biosense Technologies, is helping make it possible for people to do this test at home.

uChek allows a person to use their phone to diagnose an at-home urine test. Basically, a person can purchase a uChek kit, which has a uChek color mat and sample urine dipsticks. The dipstick changes color according to the concentration of different analytes in urine. You then put the dipstick on the color mat, and then compare this to the uChek app. This will help to determine if there is anything amiss. It is compatible with the five most commonly used urine dipsticks, which can be purchased at pharmacies. Although it is recommended to use the uChek kit, someone can purchase the dipsticks are a pharmacy, and then compare it to the app manually. If the app isn’t used, accuracy may be lower because it takes longer to manually check.

When used correctly, uChek has 95 percent accuracy at identifying the concentration of up to 10 analytes — glucose, protein, ketones, urobilinogen, bilirubin, specific gravity, blood, pH, leukocytes, and nitrites. Being able to see this information can help a person who suspects they have certain illnesses, such as diabetes or a UTI, keep track of their symptoms. The app will create a graph with different readings over time.

The website makes sure to state that this is not a medical device, and not meant to diagnose illnesses and diseases. It is merely for informational reasons. I think this is pretty awesome. For example, I was thinking it could helpful for someone who is at risk for pre-eclampsia. Since that is often diagnosed through a urine sample, if someone wants to monitor their urine at home, they might be able to catch it early, and get treatment faster as well.

uChek isn’t available yet for purchase, or to be downloaded, but it will be soon. If this is something you are interested in, be sure to go enter your information on the site, so they can send you updates as they happen.

March 1, 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.

Smart Phone Enabled Thermometer Approved By FDA

Well, this is pretty neat.

The FDA has recently approved a body thermometer that works with the iPhone. It is said to be suitable for people ages two and up, so along with the at-home remotoscope and the smart phone brain scanner, people can basically start having an at-home doctor’s office! Okay, not really, but it’s starting to seem this way.

The “Raiing” is a small device that is placed under the armpit. Not only does it give the temperature of an individual, but it has the ability to continually track for a period of time, all the while having the information sent via bluetooth to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. A “pre-set temperature” can be selected, and if it is reached or surpassed, an alert is sent to the mobile app. For anyone worried about their own temperature (or a child’s) throughout the night, this could really bring some piece of mind and perhaps a few less sleepless nights.

72 hours can be recorded before the information has to be synchronized with the mobile device, and a record can be kept as well — either on the phone, or on the cloud service provided by Raiing.

This image below is from the website, and shows a little bit how it works, and what the interface of the app looks like.


And here is an actual screenshot of the app:

 

This looks like it’s the first smart phone thermometer available, and it looks like it has been well-thought out. I didn’t see anything about pricing on the website, or the ability to purchase it, but the accompanying app can be downloaded here from iTunes (and is free).

I’d love to see this available for Android devices sometime in the future. Hopefully if it is successful on iOS devices, then it will be offered to Android as well. This is definitely something I would be willing to invest a little bit of money into getting.

November 28, 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.

Studycure: Experiment Your Way to Better Health

Next on the list on our journey through a list of five personal data innovations to watch that I talked about last week is Studycure.

Now, before I get everyone too excited, this website is in beta, so it’s a bit rough. You have to request an invitation, but I got mine within about five minutes of registering. Despite all that, I love the idea of Studycure.

To put it simply, it’s part motivation to get healthier and happier, part experiment. Sometimes, when you are trying to accomplish a certain goal, such as weight loss, it’s hard to know what is working, and what is not. Studycure users take a basic, scientific procedure — an if, then statement — and apply it to different “theories” concerning their health. You can select any amount of time you want to test out your if, then experiment, and at the end of that time period, the data is analyzed and helps you to make a decision on that particular theory. As I’m writing this, it sounds kind of confusing, but it makes total sense. Here’s a video from the website, which makes things far more clear:

There are quite a few different sections, like sleep, diet, exercise, and spirituality. Before creating my own tasks, I decided to see what other experiments were going on. By doing this, I was able to get a better feel for the website. People can put a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” on experiments that are listed, and you can join ones that have already been created. Because a lot of the experiments that were already created were along the same lines as what I was going to do, I just joined those. The more the merrier, right? You can invite friends and family to join in, or just to see progress. You can even share the data with healthcare professionals.

Here are the four I decided to try out for seven days:

IF: I turn off my computer at 11pm, THEN: I won’t feel tired in the morning

IF: I make a ‘to-do’ list, THEN: I will be less stressed

IF: I eat breakfast, THEN: I’ll lose weight

IF: I exercise for 20 minutes or more each day, THEN: I will feel happier

From what I gather, users receive email or text reminders throughout the day, encouraging them to keep going. As the video mentioned, articles and studies that are discovered concerning your topics of choice will be recommended, as well as studies you can participate in. At the end of your “experiment,” you can determine whether or not it really worked or not by using the data compiled by Studycure.

I’m excited to see if this works. It’s definitely an interesting idea and I think there is a lot of potential for expansion. I could see doctors using Studycure to try and determine patterns in patients lives, and help them eliminate (or create) certain habits. Only time will tell if Studycure will take off. Have you joined or created any experiments on Studycure?

September 11, 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.

Sano Intelligence Creates A New Way For Patients to Monitor Health

Personal data tracking is one of the latest trends in the mHealth. There’s a lot of data tracking devices available, making it easier than ever to track health and exercise. Allie Hastings, at TheNextWeb.com, wrote about five personal data tracking innovations to watch out for a few weeks ago. These are some pretty awesome devices, so I decided to look more into them and share what I found with all of you.

Today, I’ll discuss Sano Intelligence.

First off, what is it?

According to its website, “Sano is building a small, wearable sensor that can capture and transmit blood chemistry data continuously to virtually any device.”

So I’ll admit, when I first read this, I wasn’t totally sure what it meant. However, I soon discovered that this has the potential to change lives. Already, Sano is able to report glucose and potassium levels. It’s a patch, and as far as I can tell, doesn’t require any needles. I can only imagine how much easier that would make life for diabetics who are always having to monitor their blood sugar levels with blood samples.

Sano Intelligence appears to be expanding the solution to monitor other health issues. The possibilities seem endless. Wouldn’t it be great if people that are constantly having to get their blood drawn, could use something like this — like people who have Leukemia, or other types of cancer, where CBC is monitored. I’m not sure that it will be able to track everything, but it’s definitely a big step in the right direction for patient home monitoring. For those that have a hard time remembering to test themselves, the fact that Sano is wearable is a big deal. It sounds like you can just put it on and then forget about it, more or less.

This is definitely the beginning of a new era of home monitoring devices, and Sano is setting the bar high. Hopefully, other companies will take it as a challenge, and we’ll see similar devices released in the future. I’m excited to see what else Sano Intelligence has up their sleeve, as they continue to fullfill their mission — to make diagnostics continuous, connected, and cheap,

September 7, 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.

Robotic Glove That Diagnoses Illnesses: Coming To A Doctor’s Office Near You — #HITsm Chat Discovery

This is the continuation of the #HITsm Tweet Chat Highlights series. 

Have you read about the “the hand” – you examine yourself with glove – wireless to doc for dx? ow.ly/dd6is #hitsm

— CIPROMS, Inc. (@CIPROMS) August 24, 2012

Here’s a video about this one:

Basically, you examine yourself with this glove, and it diagnoses you. It supposedly can detect anything the size and location of a lump during a self-breast exam, identify enlarged lymph nodes, to determining a cause for abdominal pain. From there, the information gathered can be delivered wirelessly to another source. The possibilities appear to be endless. While it isn’t yet available for use, the creators (two engineers and a Harvard Medical Student), hope to release it to “medical education settings” to help doctor’s better their examiniation skills, and then to actual, practicing physicians. Eventually, they hope to create a “consumer-friendly” version that will be available for anyone who wants to do self-exams on themselves. According to the article, “In Med Sensation’s future filled with robotic hands, patients will need to go to the doctor for a whole lot less.”

Are doctor’s going to become obsolete in the future? I mean, if this “magical” hand can pretty diagnose everything, we’ll just have to go to doctors to get things like prescriptions filled, and given treatments for the hand-diagnosed illnesses, right? Well, probably not. I don’t think I’ll be trading in actual one-on-one contact with a physician for a robotic hand. As I was telling my husband about this, he commented that it sounded like a hypochondriac’s dream product. He’s probably right, which is why I don’t think it would be a good idea for me to use one.

I do think this product could cut down significantly on how many people go into doctors, if, in fact, it is very accurate. I wouldn’t want my health to be in the “hands” of this glove necessarily (okay, cheesy joke) unless I knew it was not going to misdiagnose me. It’s a pretty awesome invention though, I must admit.

August 29, 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.

mHealth App Infographic

Ozmosis recently posted a pretty interesting mHealth infographic. I’ve never met an infographic that I didn’t enjoy at least glancing over.

The stat that stood out to me the most was probably the one that says, “40% of doctors believe that mobile health technologies can reduce the number of office visits.” Although, this stat is a bit frustrating because it means that there’s potential to save office visits and we’re not doing much to change it so we don’t need an office visit.

The other one that hit me was that “88% of doctors would like their patients to monitor their health at home, particularly their weight, blood sugar, and vital signs.” I wonder a bit if this question was a bit biased since it offered things that doctors would like for patients to monitor at home. Although, that seems like a whole lot of doctors that want the patient home monitoring. A lot of the doctors I’ve spoken to can see benefits to doing so, but they’re also really concerned about how they’d deal with the influx of data.

Much more could be said, but that gets us started. Now for the full mHealth App Infographic.

April 25, 2012 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.