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Health :: News :: January 29, 2013 :: :: Email :: Print Early trials using mobile technology including text messaging and apps lack rigor and show mixed results By Lucas Laursen
Since then, the Food and Drug Administration has been mired in a debate over how to oversee these high-tech products, and government officials have not pursued any other app developers for making medically dubious claims. Now, both the iTunes store and the Google Play store are riddled with health apps that experts say do not work and in some cases could even endanger people.
At the beginning of the year I received a call from Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and investigative journalism professor Rochelle Sharpe, who was planning to begin a project that looked at some of the worst medical apps available — or previously available — in app stores. Sharpe was working with a small group of Boston University journalism students to comb through Apple’s AppStore and Google’s Android Market (now called Google Play), to find apps that made spurious claims in an effort to take advantage of people. So many publications had spent the time to put together top ten lists for the (so-called) “best health apps”, Sharpe pointed out at the time, why hadn’t anyone taken the time to raise awareness about some of the worst?
IndiGO, an application developed by San Francisco-based Archimedes Inc., uses a patient's EHR and advanced algorithms to generate graphical analyses of that individual's health risks. The app brought its game face to last week's Health Data Initiative (HDI) in Washington, D.C., eventually walking away with a win. IndiGO was presented with the "Best of Care Applications" award at the HDI event earlier this month for its ability to provide a graphical representation of a patient’s heart attack or stroke risk, chance of developing diabetes and the predicted impact of interventions, such as lifestyle changes and medications that are most effective at reducing these risks. [See also: Application to boost data, trends analyses .] The algorithms that make this possible incorporate clinical evidence related to diseases, behaviors and interventions.
Technology :: Forum :: July 10, 2012 :: :: Email :: Print See Inside Mobile devices have the potential to become powerful medical tools
With more and more doctors using their smartphones to conduct business outside of the office, the potential for communication errors – ranging from misunderstood directions to "he-said-she-said" moments – is increasing dramatically. A New Jersey-based surgeon has created a mobile app designed to help doctors make sure their phone conversations are understood properly. The MedXCom app, part of a line of mHealth products developed by Giffen Solutions, records and stores the phone conversation between doctor and patient, giving both parties a HIPAA-compliant means of checking the facts. "All we're doing is creating an environment where these messages are secure," said Michael Nusbaum, a bariatric surgeon at Morristown Medical Center who launched Giffen Solutions in 2010. "If (both doctor and patient) know their conversation is being recorded, this makes them more comfortable. This actually bumps up the level of conversation and improves the level of care."
“GPs to ‘prescribe’ apps for patients” declared a press release from the UK Department of Health earlier this year. The announcement, made to promote the Maps and Apps initiative, included enthusiastic descriptions of apps that allow patients to access their medical records, or to manage type 2 diabetes by monitoring food intake. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley provided a mixed metaphor in support (“With more information at their fingertips, patients can truly be in the driving seat”), and UK Digital Champion Martha Lane-Fox added “Using apps that locate local health services or apps that help you to get fit can dramatically improve your daily life”.
by: Craig Monsen, MS [Ed. This is the first part of a two part series.
Happtique, a mobile health app store aimed at healthcare professionals, will launch a trial of mRx, which it touts as the first program to enable physicians to prescribe mHealth apps to patients. Happtique officials say more physician-to-patient services will improve compliance and health outcomes, and that Happtique's patent-pending technology will help physicians in all specialties to prescribe apps to patients. [See also: mHealth apps help with medication adherence .]
Thanks to a newly built software application (or “app”), the Journal can now be downloaded and read in an issue format on the iPad. The NEJM iPad Edition is now available in the iTunes App Store at no charge. The issue of February 23, 2012, is free, so that readers can see how an issue looks, works, and reads on their iPads. The app is designed as an issue-based reader, meaning that it allows downloads of the full text of single issues, including figures and tables, beginning with the first issue of 2012. Learning to navigate easily within and between articles and to the table of contents and extra features takes only a little practice. The app allows the reader to change the text size and to bookmark articles, add and save notes, e-mail articles, and even share articles on Facebook and Twitter.
Start-up health IT companies have made quite a splash this past year – with some even claiming they have the ability to change the healthcare industry as we know it. Programs have been launched to help fledgling companies grow, and now the focus has shifted onto how these organizations can increase innovation and improve health and wellness. Lisa Suennen, managing member at venture capital firm Psilos Group and author of the blog Venture Valkyrie , outlines four basic tips for start-up health IT companies. 1. Have a business model . It sounds basic, said Suennen, but you'd be surprised how many companies fail to complete this step.
Instead of just tracking your workouts, a new iPhone app called Fitocracy lets you compete against other users and friends. The startup has been running a browser-based social fitness contest without a native mobile component since February 2011. Its 250,000 registered users earn points by logging fitness activities in order to “level up,” earn badges or rank on a leaderboard — all with the option to join activity-specific groups and follow friends' progress. Users also earn extra points for completing specific groups of fitness tasks or “quests.” The “Paperboy” quest, for instance, suggests this: “Take a ride around your neighborhood.
Here at iMedicalApps, a recent hot topic has been the increasingly relevant phenomenon of the “gamification of healthcare” . In fact, we recently reviewed the Septris App from Stanford University , which utilizes interactive case scenarios to help train healthcare providers in the management of sepsis. To build upon this theme of interactive games on mobile devices to help teach healthcare providers, today we review the Ward Round App for the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad. The Ward Round App, developed by Guerilla Tea LLP, is an interactive, case-based, timed medical learning experience targeted towards medical students and physician trainees. Guerilla Tea, founded by four graduates of the University of Abertay in the United Kingdom, has developed several apps and games for mobile platforms, with the Ward Round App representing their first endeavor into healthcare-related programming.
Many doctors believe that using apps that keep track of your health will help cut down on doctor visits, a new infographic suggests. According to data revealed by Float Mobile Learning , 40% of doctors believe that using mobile health technologies such as apps that monitor fitness and eating habits can reduce the number of office visits needed by patients. About 88% of doctors are in full support of patients monitoring their health at home, especially when it comes to watching weight, blood sugar and vital signs, and many believe consumers should take advantage of the apps currently on the market to help along the process. "With the forthcoming changes to the U.S. healthcare system, there will be an increased focus on wellness programs and preventative medicine," Chad Udell, managing director of Float Mobile Learning, told Mashable . "Mobile health offers a tremendous opportunity for people to become more involved in their own health and wellness."
It may be mind-boggling to many outside of ophthalmology that there is an entire medical field dedicated to an organ as small as the eye, but the fact is, there is also an entire sub-specialty dedicated to the cornea and external disease. Given the large number of possible conditions affecting the eye, attaining proficiency in this field often requires up to 5 years of residency and a full year or two of fellowship training. Though the cornea spans mere millimetres, entire textbooks are dedicated to it, and entire atlases with images of corneal pathology exist. Cornea Atlas, with its beautiful collection of cornea and external disease pathology attempts to bring such an atlas to the iPhone. The app covers 108 diseases and conditions classified in 16 categories.