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NIH is asking for feedback on using smartphones and wearables to collect medical information

NIH is asking for feedback on using smartphones and wearables to collect medical information | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The NIH is currently asking for pubic feedback on using smartphones and wearables to collect health and lifestyle data for its Precision Medicine Initiative — an initiative that hopes to collect data on more than 1 million individuals. The NIH’s Precision Medicine Initiative is described as:


a bold new enterprise to revolutionize medicine and generate the scientific evidence needed to move the concept of precision medicine into every day clinical practice


What exactly that means is a bit nebulous, but a New England Journal of Medicineperspective sheds some light:


Ultimately, we will need to evaluate the most promising approaches in much larger numbers of people over longer periods. Toward this end, we envisage assembling over time a longitudinal “cohort” of 1 million or more Americans who have volunteered to participate in research.


Qualified researchers from many organizations will, with appropriate protection of patient confidentiality, have access to the cohort’s data, so that the world’s brightest scientific and clinical minds can contribute insights and analysis.


The NIH is specifically asking the following:


  • Willingness of participants to carry their smartphone and wear wireless sensor devices sufficiently throughout the day so researchers can assess their health and activities.
  • Willingness of participants without smartphones to upgrade to a smartphone at no expense.
  • How often people would be willing to let researchers collect data through devices without being an inconvenience.
  • The kind of information participants might like to receive back from researchers, and how often.
  • Other ways to conveniently collect information from participants apart from smart phones or wearable devices.


It’s exciting to see the NIH see the potential of digital health. They specifically mention how smartphones and wearables can be utilized to collect a wide variety of data: location information, mobile questionnaires, heart rate, physical activity levels, and more.


There is already a robust discussion taking place in the comments section at the NIH website, and we encourage our readers to contribute.

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Richard Platt's curator insight, July 30, 2015 7:37 PM

The NIH is specifically asking the following:

  • Willingness of participants to carry their smartphone and wear wireless sensor devices sufficiently throughout the day so researchers can assess their health and activities.
  • Willingness of participants without smartphones to upgrade to a smartphone at no expense.
  • How often people would be willing to let researchers collect data through devices without being an inconvenience.
  • The kind of information participants might like to receive back from researchers, and how often.
  • Other ways to conveniently collect information from participants apart from smart phones or wearable devices.
Lionel Reichardt / le Pharmageek's curator insight, July 31, 2015 1:31 AM

The NIH is specifically asking the following:

  • Willingness of participants to carry their smartphone and wear wireless sensor devices sufficiently throughout the day so researchers can assess their health and activities.
  • Willingness of participants without smartphones to upgrade to a smartphone at no expense.
  • How often people would be willing to let researchers collect data through devices without being an inconvenience.
  • The kind of information participants might like to receive back from researchers, and how often.
  • Other ways to conveniently collect information from participants apart from smart phones or wearable devices.
Heather Taylor's curator insight, August 31, 2015 10:33 PM

#wearables #healthcare #wearabledevices

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Will the smartwatch be the key that unlocks connected health?

Will the smartwatch be the key that unlocks connected health? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The market for wearable technology devices is still in its infancy but consumers are already favoring health and fitness applications.

New Parks Associates research published Tuesday shows that just 9% of US broadband households intend to invest in a smartwatch in 2015 and that 40% of shoppers have set a price limit of $100-$250.


This is "roughly equivalent to a high-end fitness tracker," said Harry Wang, director, Health and Mobile Research, Parks Associates. "We are in the early stages in the likely merger of smartwatch and fitness tracker product categories."


Fitness applications are already proving to be the most popular use cases for smartwatch owners and this could have a huge impact on the future of digital health. 


"The smartwatch is a key entry in the connected health market, which is rapidly becoming more oriented toward the end user," Jennifer Kent, Director, Research Quality & Product Development, Parks Associates, said. "The adoption rate for connected health devices among U.S. broadband households increased from 24% to 27% over the last year, opening the door for connected device manufacturers as well as service providers to take advantage of the growing consumerization in healthcare."

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Gerard Dab's curator insight, July 16, 2015 8:32 PM

Watches or Cell phones for the connected health market.. #medicoolhc #medicoollifeprotector

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Four new health features Apple is adding to Healthkit

Four new health features Apple is adding to Healthkit | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

At the 70 minute mark in their WWDC 2015 keynote Apple mentioned four new health metrics they will be adding to their Healthkit platform: Water, UV exposure, sedentary state, and menstruation.


Apple didn’t go into detail for these metrics, but the screenshot from their Keynote shows basic graphical representations of how each will work.


Water: Your Health app will be able to display how much water you are drinking. This is a metric that will most likely link data from a third party app. For example, when you track your water consumption with a fitness app, that information will automatically link to your native Health app on your iPhone (if you decide to enable that link).


UV exposure: Not sure right now if this will pull data from your location (location based UV information is publicly available), or data from a device that is actually measuring UV index. As I wrote prior, devices that measure UV index are not useful.


Sedentary State: The Apple Watch tracks this feature meticulously, but your iPhone can as well, and I suspect this information will be populated using the Apple M7 and M8 motion processors that started with the iPhone 5S.

Menstruation: Finally Apple adds a feature focused on women. Women will now be able to track their menstrual cycles.

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EHR vendors eye solo docs for Apple Watch apps

EHR vendors eye solo docs for Apple Watch apps | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The small physician practice isn't what it used to be. Today, solo docs and small practices are most likely a bit more technologically savvy and open to mHealth. And because of it, an increasing number of small EHR vendors are targeting them with new cloud-based platforms, chief among them Apple Watch apps.


As many of these docs do their own IT work, the independent medical practice market is ripe for these cloud-based platforms that assist with clinical and practice management functions. And, as these smaller EHR vendors are seeing, there's definitely some strong interest with many of them. Among them is Kareo, which this week unveiled its own Apple Watch app.


As Tom Giannulli, MD, an Epocrates veteran who's now the chief medical information officer for Kareo, sees it, independent physicians are "practicing heads-up medicine, looking for the latest (in technology) that can make give them an edge," he said at HIMSS15 in Chicago last month. "Their thought is, 'If it's going to help me make decisions, I want to order it.'"


That makes an Apple Watch app a logical next step.


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How Apple Watch pulse oximeter can be used in medicine

How Apple Watch pulse oximeter can be used in medicine | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

In an interesting find by iFixit — the company known for breaking apart popular gadgets to study their internals — the Apple Watch was found to have the ability to measure blood oxygen saturation.


Traditionally we measure blood oxygen saturation using a sensor we attach to your finger, earlobe, or forehead. This is the plastic sensor that your physician might connect to your index finger when your vital signs are being taken before a visit.


In their teardown, iFixit mentioned the pulse oximetry functionality is currently turned off in the Apple watch, and many are speculating that Apple is awaiting FDA approval for this. That may be partially true. While the iHealth PO3 pulse oximeter is FDA cleared for medical use, a visit to the consumer site makes it clear that the device should only be used for fitness purposes. That’s an important distinction when selling direct to consumer – the “intended use”. Apple certainly has the resources to get FDA clearance for this functionality and could have marketed it in that way to stay in the consumer market. Given their history in health, though, I imagine they are aiming a little higher than that.


That said, I doubt FDA clearance is the only reason Apple turned this feature off; rather I bet they don’t care about measuring blood oxygen saturation right now.


The same sensor that has the ability to measure blood oxygen saturation also has the ability to measure heart rate — and the heart rate sensing ability is “turned on” in the Apple Watch. This is commonplace for these types of sensors, and I suspect Apple wasn’t purposely trying to have that ability at all, but found that the best sensor for the Apple Watch happened to also offer this ability.

Either way — a question I’m being asked now is how could oxygen saturation be utlized in the Apple Watch for health?


The following are a list of medical conditions and how the ability to meausure pulse oximetry can impact their care:


Sleep Apnea


Sleep apnea affects millions of individuals. Part of the diagnostic testing involves looking for drops in blood oxygen levels being able to when someone is sleeping to see if they are having hypoxic apneic episodes (low oxygen levels when they stop breathing during sleep).

For example, if a patient presents with symptoms of fatigue, frequent naps during the day time, and loud snoring — one of the easiest things to check would be oxygen saturation during sleep. If blood oxygen saturation drops substantially, you most likely have the culprit and a formal sleep study could be done to confirm and determine treatment.

COPD


Patients with COPD often have low oxygen saturation and require supplemental oxygen at baseline to keep their oxygen saturation in the high 80s or low 90s. Being able to monitor oxygen saturation in conjunction with how much supplemental oxygen is required helps with overall management of COPD. You could utilize this relationship to predict COPD exacerbations and see if treatments are working or not.


CHF (congestive heart failure)


The fluid balance for congestive heart failure patients is often times very difficult to manage. Take too much fluid off, and the patient is intravascularly depleted and their kidneys can start failing. Leave too much fluid on, and the patient has a difficult time doing activities of daily living.


One of the markers to see if a patient’s fluid status is going towards volume overload levels is to measure not only weight and their overall symptoms, but blood oxygen saturation levels. When they have shortness of breath to the point that their oxygen levels are dropping, it can indicate the need to hospitalize a patient or to be very aggressive with their diuretic management.


With the ResearchKit app already collecting data for the heart failure app created by the team out of Stanford, having the ability to get blood oxygen saturation levels integrated into their research app would be a marker that could tremendously help their research.


There are several other clinical scenarios where a low blood oxygen saturation level is useful to help with diagnosis and management — such as pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, pulmonary hypertension, among others — but these conditions are more acute and far less common than the three I mentioned above.


When the ability to measure pulse oxygen saturation is finally turned on in the Apple Watch, it will definitely be interesting to see how the medical and developer community reacts — but I suspect it will take at least a year or two before that functionality goes live.


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The 22 Best Apple Watch Health And Fitness Apps

The 22 Best Apple Watch Health And Fitness Apps | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The Apple Watch, Apple’s first step into the world of wearables, starts shipping to consumers today.


The Watch marks an interesting time in the wearable fitness space, in particular. Health and fitness trackers like Jawbone Up and Fitbit have dominated much of that space in the last few years. According to NDP, these wearable fitness devices sold close to 3.3 million units last year.

The Apple Watch is more of a comprehensive platform, but it has definitely taken the popularity of these fitness trackers into account, equipping the Watch with a built-in heart rate monitor, GPS tracker to measure distance and speed during workouts, an accelerometer to track body movement, and proprietary apps that show calories burned and overall fitness levels.


Not wanting to be left out of the action on this new platform, many health technology companies have started to repurpose their smartphone apps for the Apple Watch as well. While not all apps add much more to the Watch experience than they do to your phone, there are a few that make that subtle leap. Here are the 22 top health and fitness apps we’re looking forward to on the Watch:

Featured Apple Watch Health and Fitness Apps:


First, let’s go through the apps that Apple has chosen to feature on the Apple Watch section on its site.


Nike+ Running – Apple kicked both Jawbone Up and Nike+ Fuel Band out of the Apple store in anticipation of the Watch. But it looks like Apple through Nike some love by adding the Nike+ Watch app into the featured set of fitness apps on Apple’s website. The Nike+ Running app will allow owners of the Watch to connect with its global running community as well as log distance and run duration right on their wrist.

Green Kitchen – This app adds dozens of healthy recipes and the step-by-step instructions to make them with a tap on the screen. The app includes a timer within the Watch to notify you when to take certain items out of the oven.


Strava – Know how high you climbed, your average speed, distance and heart rate in real-time as well as segment by segment updates to keep you pushing forward in your workout.

Mayo Clinic Synthesis – This app is a bit more for the medical doctor side of management. It helps physicians manage their daily schedule and alerts them when a patient is waiting for them in the lobby or the exam room. It also provides basic patient information such as age, sex and weight.


LifeSum – Think of this one as a food journal on your wrist. This app provides a way to track what you are eating and drinking throughout the day and then look it up later to figure out how many calories you’ve consumed. It also provides the right portion size and which foods to avoid.


Runtastic – The Apple Watch will have three apps from the popular run tracking platform: The original Runtastic to track runs using GPS, Runtastic Six Pack and Runtastic Butt Trainer. The apps include a Glances feature to display an avatar that will demonstrate the right way to do each exercise. This helps the person working out follow along instead of having to look up or hold a phone while going through the movements.


The Health and Fitness Apps We Like:

There are many, many health and fitness apps that are either already on the Watch or will be on the Watch in the near future. The following is a collection of the top apps we believe have the best use case on your wrist.


Hello Heart – This is a blood pressure monitor and heart health companion app. This is a good one for the Watch as it can record and upload vital signs right from your wrist. More than 100 million Americans have some type of a heart condition. This app could make it easy for them to monitor those conditions in real-time, rather than having to go into a doctor’s office or pharmacy to get that information.

Fitstar Yoga – Instead of having to look up at the screen or instructor to make sure you have the pose right, this app helps the user see what the proper pose looks like right on their wrist. It also allows them to check on the time remaining for the chosen yoga session or manage the session by using the play, pause or use the back and forth controls.


WaterMinder – This is a pretty straightforward app that helps folks stay hydrated by reminding them to drink up. You can also visualize your daily water levels to figure out if you are drinking enough.

Map My Run – At this point you may be wondering why another running app, besides the native app in the Apple Watch and the Nike+ Running app are worth a try. Map My Run not only has a significant and dedicated community to encourage that running life. The new Watch app will also let enthusiasts log more than 600 different types of workouts, record GPS activities, sync and share activity on Apple Health and MyFitnessPal and socially share workouts with friends.


HealthTap – Tap on the app to ask questions and get answers to medical questions from 68,000 U.S. doctors while on the go. The app will also provide reminders for virtual sessions with your doctor, personal notifications and reminders to take your prescribed medications.


Medication Alarm – Reminds you to take any type of medication throughout the day, using an infinite amount of reminders, medication and times to take. Also lets you track how many pills you have left to give you a heads up on when you need to order more.


Human – This one tracks your activities throughout the day and pushes you to get up and move for 30 minutes every day. That’s important because while you may not be physically close to your phone all the time, you will be able to see that reminder on the watch to get up and move at least 30 minutes a day. The app automatically picks up your walks, bike rides, runs and other activities that go for a minute or more and then logs them on the app.

Misfit Minute – Misfit already has a popular wearable product worn on the wrist, but started venturing into other platforms with a fitness app on the Pebble watch last July. Continuing on the trend of being hardware agnostic, Misfit has created an app for the Watch that will give consumers a total body workout, using body weight training and circuit intervals.


Carrot Fit – Carrot, the zany artificial intelligence family of apps, will all be on the Apple Watch, including an app that shames you into working out. Carrot Fit both terrifies and inspires with seven minute workouts that will have you escaping from a squad of mean ostriches and punching Justin Bieber. This way you can receive judgement and pop references on your wrist instead of your phone.


Clue – This is a period tracking app that lets women figure out where they are in their cycle. Apple was criticized for not including a period tracker in HealthKit, but that’s a pretty important part of women’s health. This app prognosticates when a woman will next start her period, PMS and when she is most likely to get pregnant.


WebMD – The WebMD app will remind patients to take their meds as well as provide instructions on how to take certain medications and a daily schedule of when to take them.


BACtrack – There are a couple of smartphone breathalyzer test apps on the market, but this one lets you check your blood alcohol levels without fumbling around in a drunken state while looking for your phone. Of course, you’ll have to also have the BACtrack’s smart breathalyzer tool on you to start a BAC test, but it frees up one of your hands to hold the tool while taking the test.


drchrono – Physicians who use the iOS app can already pull up a patient’s medical information and use an iPad to send the bill. The Apple Watch app helps medical professionals see chat messages from their clinic colleagues reminding them to wrap up their visit and see their schedule without it looking like they are ignoring the patient and playing with their phone. They can also use the app to respond privately to patient text messages and view patient information on their wrist.


Doximity – The largest medical professional network in the U.S. comes to the wrist. According to company estimates, about half of all of America’s doctors are Doximity members. Physicians with an Apple Watch will be able to access Doximity’s free tools such as HIPPA-compliant messaging, electronic fax capabilities and reading up on curated medical news.
 
Skin – The skin is the body’s largest organ and can tell you a lot about your health. The Skin app requires the use of your phone’s camera to take pictures of your skin. The Watch app then helps you pull up those images quickly and monitor changes in your skin over time. It won’t diagnose you, but it does alert you if something has changed or should get checked out by a medical professional.


Spring – The music streaming service made specifically for exercise could be useful on those runs. This app allows you to leave your phone behind and still access high-energy tunes. While the Watch doesn’t have a way to plug in and listen to music while you run, you can still use this app with a wireless headset to bounce to the kind of music that gets your heart pumping and your body moving.


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Punch Digital 's curator insight, May 4, 2015 2:03 AM

From instructive Yoga to interactive run tracking apps, the apple watch and it's ability to be compatible with your fitness goals, is revolutionary.


if you have a few spare moments then this article will definitely have you marching down to the shops. the ability it has for not only fitness professionals but for the weekend warrior is mind blowing.


See for yourself what the new Apple watch has to offer, maybe it's time you took your fitness goals to the next level?

Lyfe Media's curator insight, June 17, 2015 4:19 PM

The Apple Watch may be the best thing that's happened to fitness lovers since the treadmill. With a wide variety of applications to monitor fitness levels, nutrition, and various other health concerns, an Apple Watch may quickly become a recommended gadget by health professionals everywhere. HealthyFitGuide

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Apple Watch will launch with a free medication reminder app from

Apple Watch will launch with a free medication reminder app from | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

When Apple Watch launches April 24th, users will be able to track their medication dosing. WebMD is updating their flagship app in the App Store to become a medical reminder companion app for the Apple Watch.


I talked to Benjamin Greenberg, who is the Vice President of Product Management & User Experience at WebMD about some of the key functionality the WebMD Apple Watch integration will have and they are the following:

  • Ability to take pictures of your medications and then have them show up on your Apple Watch when it’s time to take your next dose
  • When prompted to take your medication, you are given four actions on your Apple Watch: Take the medication, skip the medication, snooze, or dismiss the reminder.
  • You can learn more about your medication by utilizing a “Handoff Link” and read the full drug monograph on your iPhone.


Greenberg told me WebMD wanted to keep the Apple Watch medication integration clean, simple, and easy to use. They don’t want a medication reminder feature on the Apple Watch that is constantly bugging people trying to use it.


One of the features I’d love to see in the future is a location based reminder — the ability of your Apple Watch to know when you’re at home and have the ability to take your medication.


Useful for patients and digital health?


Obviously, a medication reminder feature for the Apple Watch isn’t going to solve the huge issue of medication compliance. It’s a multi-factorial problem that has been hard to tackle by the digital health community and one we’ve frequently written in depth about.


But — WebMD’s medication reminder on the Apple Watch is definitely another tool that could help the right type of patient. For example, it’s hard to imagine the elderly using Apple Watch to remind them to take their armament of drugs. But it isn’t hard to imagine a mother of two with febrile children utilizing WebMD’s Apple Watch tool to help her with Tylenol dosing and timing.


Often times when developers create medication reminder tools, they completely forget about over the counter medications. For WebMD’s reminder app to catch on, they need to focus more on over the counter medications, and having presets where users don’t have to manually insert the dosing — the barrier to set up needs to be ridiculously low.

Overall, I can’t wait to actually test out the app on launch date, and WebMD’s ability to have this launch in conjunction with the Apple Watch is a huge advantage over their competitors.


WebMD’s medication reminder app will be available as a free download in the Apple Watch App Store beginning April 24.


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The Apple Watch will Bolster the iPhone’s Place in Medicine

The Apple Watch will Bolster the iPhone’s Place in Medicine | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

One of the single biggest complaints that we hear from Physicians when referring to their EHR system is how computers take away from the personal side of patient care. All too often docs are now forced to dig through various screens, and drop down menus while they type in copious amounts of data during patient encounters. Traditionally, doctors could easily maintain eye contact with their patient while they jotted notes into a medical record using a pen and paper, but EHR interfaces have complicated that process.

In the last couple of years we’ve seen mobile apps and smart phones bring many efficiencies to the medical exam room. For example, an app that we built on behalf of the American College of Physicians, ACP Immunization Advisor, helps clinicians get up-to-date vaccine information quickly and efficiently. The free iPhone app, which provides several ways to filter the CDC Immunization Schedule for specific patient needs, can help a physician save valuable time in a patient visit by providing a comprehensive, up-to-date list of vaccine recommendations in seconds. Not only is this far more efficient then trying to navigate through the paper-based CDC schedule, but it provides the clinician with piece-of-mind as the app is updated frequently to stay on top of changes in the guidelines that won’t be reflected in a paper copy unless they download, and reprint them frequently.

Apps like the ACP Immunization Advisor are great examples of ways we can bring new efficiencies to medicine, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. One of the great advantages that Apple Watch will bring to the table is the ability for a clinician to access all of that great functionality in their smart phone, without ever having to remove it from their pocket. With the release yesterday of iOS 8.2, newer iPhones (Apple Watch is compatible with iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus) will now have the capability to tether with Apple Watch. Developers can now build watch based interfaces to allow for easy access to information that’s literally at arm’s length. Bringing data to the physicians wrist will help to reduce the need to stare into a screen, and it helps free up both hands from having to physically hold a device.

Although the interface may be small, the Apple Watch is fully voice control enabled with Siri, meaning apps can be controlled hands free. From the looks of the interface, this watch seems to have reinvented usability for such a small screen (another forward-thinking move by Apple). When looked at as an extension of the iPhone, the Apple Watch has great potential to help clinicians have more face-to-face interaction with their patients while they are leveraging technology. It also opens the door for apps to enter other areas of medicine, like surgery, where a doctor is unable to physically interact with a smart phone due to the physical constraints of surgical gloves, and of course sanitary reasons. An Apple Watch would allow a surgeon to access powerful apps in their smartphone without ever having to touch it.

In 2013 AmericanEHR conducted a report titled “Mobile Usage in the Medical Space” which set out to better understand health practitioners usage of technology in the medical space. Some key findings included:

  • 77% of physicians who’s adopted an EHR use a smartphone
  • On average, physicians who have adopted an EHR conduct 11.2 activities per week on their smartphone in a clinical setting
  • 51% of doctors with smartphones use apps on a daily basis for clinical purposes
  • Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) of iPhone users are very likely to recommend their iPhone compared to just 26% of non-iPhone users


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Dexcom teases Apple Watch for diabetes monitoring at CES

Dexcom teases Apple Watch for diabetes monitoring at CES | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

As digital health continues to extend into the mainstream, continuous glucose monitor (CGM) manufacturer Dexcom took advantage of the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to unveil a simulated Apple Watch displaying live demo glucose readings from a Dexcom CGM.


As pictured on the right, the Apple Watch display is fairly similar to the current Dexcom receiver’s. It displays the current blood sugar reading, a graph of recent blood sugars, and  a trend arrow (telling the user whether their glucose trend is sharply upwards, upwards, flat, downwards, or sharply downwards). From the demo, there is no indication if the Apple Watch app will have any other features such as alarms, calibration, etc.

I believe this is the first time any diabetes device manufacturer has publicly shown any demonstration of continuous glucose data being transmitted wirelessly to a smartwatch.  The closest demonstration would be Medtronic live streaming glucose readings from their CGM to an iPhone display this past Fall.

Currently, there are no official solutions that stream glucose data to smart watches.  For the tech-savvy, a NightScout community exists that helps users “hack” their CGM’s into streaming glucose data to the cloud. In comparison, out-of-the-box synchronization to mobile devices would be a huge step for continuous glucose monitors, and the recent demos by Dexcom and Medtronic suggest that the FDA approval landscape for diabetes technology is loosening.


In a CES Digital Health session titled “Winning the War on Diabetes”, Dexcom’s Steve Pacelli (pictured second to left), Executive Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development, announced that “[Dexcom's] 5th generation system will transfer data from the sensor to the phone.”

This would represent a significant upgrade over current G4 solutions that require a separate product (the recently approved Dexcom Share) to serve as an intermediary device between the smartphone and Dexcom receiver. Dexcom’s 5th gen release would eliminate the need for a Share-like receiver and could potentially even eliminate the receiver.

With respect to the Dexcom booth’s Apple Watch demo, it was unclear if the Apple Watch integration is coming for the Dexcom Share (and therefore current G4 systems) or for the future G5 release. However, it’s worth noting that the demo was running inside Apple’s developer kit, which means that the display was running actual software code and not just a mockup.

Furthermore, unlike Medtronic which has officially gone on record stating that Apple HealthKit integration is not part of initial plans for their upcoming smartphone systems, Dexcom’s booth prominently featured Apple Watch and Apple HealthKit in their signage.


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The Age of Fitness Trackers

The Age of Fitness Trackers | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Fitbit… AppleWatch… Jawbone — Oh my! The age of personal fitness trackers is upon us and judging by its rapid growth, it is here to stay. Worldwide, healthcare is experiencing a massive shift in the way patients and physicians are interacting with medical records and information. Technology and Federal Regulations are among the many driving forces serving to reshape the medical industry; growing technological innovations such as Cloud technology and fitness trackers are inspiring a new era characterized by interactive, patient-centered care. With home health technologies projected to skyrocket — jumping from 14.3 million worldwide in 2014 to 78.5 million by 2020 — the ability for patients to access images, information, and updates is no longer a luxury but a necessity. As fitness trackers, Cloud technology, and other innovations continue to improve upon the immediacy and ease with which patients can access personal medical records, physicians and consumers alike are being prescribed an entirely new patient care experience.


Fitness trackers such as Fitbit’s “Charge HR”, Apple’s “Sport Watch”, and Jawbone’s “UP2” have made an enormous dent within an ever-expanding wearable technologies market. The Fitness tracker craze has transcended various demographics including age as both Millenials and older generations are exhibiting support for the use of wearable technologies within the fitness world and in other markets.


Regarding fitness trackers specifically, consumers cite improved safety, healthier living, and ease of use when discussing the benefits of wearing such products. With features such as heart-rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and exercise progress reports, fitness trackers are redefining the ways in which consumers interact with and view personal health records. Currently, about 1 in 5 adults owns a wearable device. This number is expected to grow as healthcare and technology continue to fuse in an effort to bring patients’ needs to the forefront of EMR accessibility regulation.


Many are projecting healthy growth for the future of fitness tracking wearable device technology markets. As stated in the PWC article entitled, “Wearable Technology Future is Ripe”, “As wearable devices gain traction over the next five to ten years, they can help consumers better manage their health and their healthcare costs.” The article continues to point out that, “ wearables’ potential in the $2.8 trillion US healthcare system will only be realized if companies engage consumers, turn data into insights and focus on improving consumer health.” As Meaningful Use and other Federal Government regulations continue to guide healthcare systems toward more efficient, patient-centered processes it seems likely that the growing fitness tracker market will undoubtedly impact the future state of healthcare in the US and beyond.


Is your practice in shape for a health tech driven future?

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Nicole Avarello's curator insight, July 16, 2015 1:35 PM

Do you track your fitness? I have been considering about investing in a FitBit for quite some time now. The benefits seem nice and I am hoping it will motivate me to be more active and conscious of my decisions.

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Nebraska Medicine and Epic ahead of their time with a new patient engagement app for the Apple Watch

Nebraska Medicine and Epic ahead of their time with a new patient engagement app for the Apple Watch | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Apple has always been about innovation. The same can be said for Epic, the Verona, Wisconsin-based healthcare software company whose customers manage medical records for more than half the U.S. population, including patients at Nebraska Medicine. Now, Epic and Nebraska Medicine announce one of the first efforts to improve the patient experience using Apple’s first wearable device.


“We’re always looking for ways to improve the satisfaction of our patients,” said Michael Ash, M.D., chief transformation officer at Nebraska Medicine. “We recognize that as more of our patients use devices like the Apple Watch, we not only have to be able to use that technology to initially provide convenience for them, but we also have to envision how we can also improve patient outcomes via use of the device in the future.”


Epic’s MyChart app for Apple Watch, available now on the App Store, lets patients view messages from their care providers, upcoming appointment details, and information on their active medications. They can also see notices when new test results, billing statements and health maintenance reminders are accessible on their iPhones.


“It’s great to see Nebraska Medicine help lead the way on patient engagement with the Apple Watch,” says Sumit Rana, Epic’s senior vice president for research and development. “Wearables such as the Apple Watch have great potential to empower patients as active participants in their own healthcare and wellness while improving the overall care experience.”


Epic has development in the works based on the Apple Watch’s ability to “tap” wearers on the wrist to get their attention. Diabetic patients will be able to get reminders to test their blood sugar regularly, for example. Care organizations will also be able to use the watch to help patients get quicker access to high-demand specialty visits and services. Epic’s Fast Pass On the Go feature would allow a patient with an appointment three weeks out to get an Apple Watch alert if an earlier slot opens up – when another patient cancels an appointment, for example – and accept the new appointment time from the watch.


An Apple Watch app is also available for physicians who use Epic’s Haiku mobile application for the iPhone. Doctors can view their schedule, hospitalized patients and clinical summaries. They can also use Siri’s speech-to-text functionality to record a clinical note or a MyChart message to send to a patient.

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Evaluating what leads to positive user ratings in medical apps

Evaluating what leads to positive user ratings in medical apps | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

With the growing number of mobile health related apps, there needs to be an objective understanding about what features of an app make the consumer, or user, more likely to use a particular app. There have been studies done in the past that have evaluated medical apps looking at characteristics that can help change a user’s behavior.


These are important for medical apps, as many are targeted to change the user’s behavior for a healthier outcome. However, the characteristics that will make a user more satisfied and more likely to continue using an app long-term, are not the same.


A recent study looked at which specific features within medical apps result in greater user ratings. The study looked at 234 apps and reviews that were found in the Apple iTunes store and Google Play store in the medical, health and fitness categories, and were also associated with reputable health organizations.


The apps that were found to meet the inclusion criteria were then analyzed to see if they included the following features and were rated on a binary scale:


  • Ability to export data
  • Gamification
  • General education
  • Plans and orders
  • Reminder
  • Community forum
  • Social media connection
  • Addresses symptoms
  • Tailored education
  • Tracker
  • Cost
  • Usability


The results of the data from this study showed that 9.3% of a user’s rating of a particular medical app can be explained by 5 features, including plans and orders, ability to export data, usability, cost, and having a tracker. All but one of these features resulted in a more positive user rating. Apps with a tracker, which allow the user to track specific data, such as daily compliance with medications, daily caloric intake, etc, correlated with a more negative rating. When the data was further analyzed, the results showed that the tracker feature has a positive influence on a user’s rating if the app also has the ability to export the data. This makes sense from a user interface aspect, as a tracker can be useful if the data can be shared with the user’s doctor or other healthcare provider. The tracker option, without the ability to export data, may result in too much information, which the user may not be able to properly interpret.


This shows that if you do include the ability to track information within an app, it’s important to makes sure that information can be exported.

The results of the study also show that users preferred a simple and intuitive app over a complicated one. These are apps that easily provide the user the ability to control their interaction with the app, such as saving and logging data, have a minimal design and not cluttered with extra information or multimedia, and easily allow the user to recover from errors. These all make sense since a user would want be using an app on a smartphone to help complete tasks faster and with ease.


Also as expected, the user is also more likely to rate an app more positively if the app provides a more efficient solution to current methods. Examples of these types of apps are those that provide information about a specific disease, which saves the user time from looking up and understanding that information themselves. Another example is an app with the exporting data feature mentioned above, as exporting existing data from an app is much faster than manually inputting the data in a notebook or emailing a healthcare provider from scratch.


The results of this study are important to consider when developing new medical apps. With over 10,000 apps in the marketplace, knowing what features are most important to the users of medical apps is crucial in creating a successful app that will lead to long-term use and as a result, have tangible positive outcomes in the user’s health.

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Apple Watch Changes the Health Wearables Game

Apple Watch Changes the Health Wearables Game | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

After months of speculation and hype, the Apple Watch has finally arrived. 


What are some first impressions? How does it compare with other watches, bands and wearables? How will it impact the digital health landscape? (By the way, if you are reading this review for information on how to deliver your one-way banner ads brand messages via Apple Watch, you're already missing the point.)

I have been an avid user of wearable fitness and health trackers for a few years. After losing several Nike FuelBands on the soccer field, I recently switched to the Microsoft Band. Although it's slightly bulky, I truly enjoy the simple interface for tracking my activities, instantly measuring my heart rate and even paying for my Starbucks coffee.

Then along comes the Apple Watch. Of course it's got a great design, but it's not going to be for everyone initially. The learning curve is steep, especially if you're like me and don't take advantage of the online or in-store training. It does have a limited battery life and seems to be missing some core health functions. It might not be ideal for people with poor vision, and it doesn't currently have independent GPS capability. I was particularly worried about whether I could wear it while playing soccer, but I simply placed a wristband over it. Voila! I didn't find a default sleep-measurement function, but I assume that there will be apps to do that. Maybe Apple would rather I charge my watch while I sleep.

It's been only a few days, but I can already say that the Apple Watch experience is a great improvement over my other fitness bands. In addition to tracking my heart rate and how much I'm moving or sitting, the Apple Watch lets me do everyday things like receive texts and email, take phone calls and use Apple Pay. But I'm most excited about how it and other wearables will help me modify my behavior for better health. There's something very motivating about receiving visual and sensory cues from a device attached to your body. For instance, the Apple Watch gives you a nudge every hour to get up and move for a minute. It's very subtle and it may be a minuscule benefit, but it can be a great tool to combat the 21st century “disease of sitting” that so many of us are facing. 

We have been talking about big data, value beyond the pill and behavioral economics for some time. 

These wearable devices provide a great opportunity to do more than simply be shiny objects for early adopters. Wearables aren't just for fitness—they can make a big impact on adherence, compliance and cessation of unhealthy behaviors. 


Two hospital systems are currently conducting digital medicine trials using the Apple Watch to help manage hypertension and to determine how nurses and physicians can benefit from incorporating the Apple Watch into a medical home program. There are already a number of industry-related apps available for Apple Watch, including those from Drchrono, Lark, Doximity, WebMD, HealthTap and others.

The uptake has been rapid: Consider the fact more Apple Watches were sold in one day than Android Wear devices in an entire year. As a digital marketer, don't expect every demographic to immediately adopt the Apple Watch or other wearables. But ignore the Apple Watch effect at your own risk. The impact of this new technology and interface will manifest over time, just like our mobile phones did. 

Remember when they said social media was only a fad?


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A Hospital Is Already Giving Apple Watch To Its Patients

A Hospital Is Already Giving Apple Watch To Its Patients | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The Apple Watch began arriving in homes and businesses across America on Friday.


And in New Orleans, one doctor immediately strapped it to his patient’s wrist.


“We need to fundamentally change behavior,” says that doctor — Richard Milani. “And the Apple Watch has the potential to [do] it.”

Milani is the Chief Clinical Transformation Officer at Ochsner Health System, and overseeing what the hospital calls a first-of-its-kind trial: Giving Apple Watch to patients who struggle with high blood pressure, and seeing if it prompts them to take their medication, to make positive changes in lifestyle, and simply, to just get up and move around.


And Milani believes that the potential opportunity is huge: More than 80% of U.S. health care spending goes toward chronic disease. And many of those diseases are exceedingly preventable.


Apple Watch part of Ochsner’s broader strategy

While it doesn’t have the national profile of some health systems, Ochsner has been working hard to be a leader in digital medicine.


  • More than a year ago, the hospital launched an “O Bar” — deliberately modeled on Apple’s Genius Bar — to help patients pick through the thousands of health and wellness apps available to them.
  • Six months ago, Ochsner became the first hospital to integrate its Epic electronic health record system with Apple’s HealthKit software.
  • And in February, Ochsner launched its “Hypertension Digital Medicine Program,” a pilot program where several hundred patients regularly measure their own blood pressure and heart rate ratings using wireless cuffs, which then send that data through Apple’s HealthKit (and collects it in their medical records). Based on the results, Ochsner staff then make real-time adjustments to the patients’ medication and lifestyle.


The new Apple Watch trial builds off the hospital’s existing digital medicine program, Milani says. And he began Friday’s pilot with his longtime patient Andres Rubiano, a 54-year-old who’s spent the past twenty years trying to manage his chronic hypertension.

Rubiano says that his two months participating in Ochsner’s digital medicine program have been “comforting” — he enjoys the constant monitoring — and have already led him to make changes in diet and exercise.

“It’s been a life-changer for me,” he says.

But the Apple Watch has the potential to go further. Its customized alerts and prompts encourage immediate interventions. When we spoke on Friday afternoon, just six hours or so after he began wearing the Apple Watch, Rubiano raved about the subtle taps on his wrist.

“It’s like I have Milani as my buddy right next to me,” Rubiano said, “just nudging me to get up off your [behind] and walk around, or saying, hey, take your meds.”

Milani acknowledges there’s limited evidence that wearable technologies can directly lead to the health improvements he’s hoping to see.


But he plans to quickly enroll about two dozen patients in his Apple Watch trial, in order to begin collecting data on whether the Watch is actually making a difference. (Other patients in the hypertension program will act as the control group.) And he’s optimistic that wearable technology will pay dividends in health.

“For whatever reason, health care doesn’t do a very good job of creating [the necessary] behavior change,” Milani says. “But many of these new technologies have that ability.”

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Is it unprofessional for physicians to wear Apple Watch?

Is it unprofessional for physicians to wear Apple Watch? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

One of the trending themes of the Apple Watch reviews so far has been the gluttony of notifications the Apple Watch spews out in default mode.  The Verge highlighted this in their video review — around the 3 minute mark they show how many distractions the Apple Watch can provide when having a simple conversation with someone.

In his review, The Verge’s Nilay Patel mentions how the Apple Watch doesn’t enable you to control notifications in a very granular manner — it’s basically all or nothing.


Not only is this problematic for casual conversations, as Patel shows so well during his review, but it’s even more worrisome for physicians who want to wear the Apple Watch when caring for patients.

It’s easy to put your phone on silent and in your pocket during your clinical shift, but even if your Apple Watch is silent, it will still light up when you get a notification, similar to your iPhone. Imagine doing a physical exam on a patient and as you’re doing their abdominal exam, you get a text alert from a friend making an inside joke from the weekend — definitely not professional as your patient is in easy viewing distance of your wrist.


There is already evidence that shows smartphones themselves can create distractions during patient rounds, one can only imagine how much worse it could be with the Apple Watch.


As the study by Katz-Sidlow and colleagues showed for smartphones, I think having policies in place on how this new technology should be used in the hospital setting is something that should start being discussed.


There are definite ways the Apple Watch could be utilized for a clinical shift — I wrote an article on 10 ways the Apple Watch could be utilized in medicine recently — but its form factor makes it significantly less likely to provide anywhere close to the utility you have with your smartphone. The short of it is the Apple Watch isn’t going to have anywhere close to the same clinical utility that smartphones provided to physicians for patient care.


So then, is the Apple Watch unprofessional to wear during patient care?


Yes, especially with the lack of the ability to change notifications in a granular fashion currently.


But to get around this, Apple Watch does have an airplane mode feature, effectively turning off all notifications — but this arguably makes it worthless to wear the Apple Watch in the fist place. There is a “do not disturb” function as well, but it remains to be seen if that will prevent the backlight from turning on as well.


I do know one thing, if I see my medical students and residents wearing the Apple Watch when caring for our patients, I will definitely ask them about the notification setting they have on their Watch, as my own Apple Watch will be stuck in airplane mode for the time being.


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Doximity launching app for the Apple Watch

Doximity launching app for the Apple Watch | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Doximity announced today that they are launching an app for the Apple Watch, which hits the shelves later this month.


Many physicians will be familiar with Doximity, now that more than half of us have become registered users. Designed as a social network for physicians, Doximity includes a number of features that physicians will find useful for a lot more than just staying in touch with colleagues. In the recent rush of registrations on Doximity related to their partnership with US News and World Report, we wrote a quick guide on those key features. Included was secure HIPAA compliant messaging as well as an e-fax number and a journal feed.


Doximity’s Apple Watch app will bring some of these key features to your wrist. In particular, you’ll be able to read messages sent to you and dictate messages to other – without taking out your phone or pager, jumping on a computer, or spending endless minutes on hold trying to reach a colleague. You can also get notifications when you have a new fax come in – you can automatically view the fax on your iPhone using the Handoff functionality.

This hits on one the key functionalities we put on our wish list of apps for the Apple Watch – HIPAA compliant messaging. There are some limitations here worth noting. In particular, Doximity is limited to physicians so this won’t help with communication among a multi-disciplinary healthcare team, such as in a hospital or clinic. I wouldn’t be able to let a nurse know about a new medication or a social worker about an at-risk patient. Other platforms, like TigerText, will hopefully step in to bring that functionality to wearables like Apple Watch. That being said, the ability to send messages more easily to colleagues both inside and outside my own institution can be incredibly helpful.


We’re excited to see big players in the digital health space like Doximity embracing the Apple Watch. One natural question that frequently comes up is “what about Android devices?” Well, as Doximity points out, 85% of their mobile traffic is from iPhones & iPads. Its well recognized that physicians have largely embraced Apple devices and so medical app developers are going to go there first. So while many solid options have been available for Android, we expect the Apple Watch to be a catalyst in the development of new tools for clinicians.

Doximity’s app is just the start.


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Apple Watch Has A Simple Killer App - And It's A Lifesaver

Apple Watch Has A Simple Killer App - And It's A Lifesaver | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Nearly 11.7 million people have either signed up or re-enrolled for insurance coverage under the U.S. healthcare reform law, more than the 9.1 million predicted by the Obama administration,health officials said on Tuesday.

As of Feb. 22, about 8.8 million signed up in one of the 37 states that use online exchanges operated by the federal government and 2.85 million were in the 14 states, and Washington, D.C., that operate their own exchanges, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.

The Democratic-backed Affordable Care Act, narrowly passed by Congress in 2010 over unified Republican opposition, aimed to help millions of Americans without health insurance obtain coverage. Conservatives criticize the law, commonly called Obamacare, as government overreach.

The online exchanges, or marketplaces, are geared toward those who do not receive insurance through their employer and provide tax subsidies on a sliding scale to make health coverage affordable for low-income people.

In the states that use the federal exchange, called healthcare.gov, 87 percent qualified for a tax credit averaging $263 per month, according to HHS. It said more than half of consumers in states using healthcare.gov bought a plan that cost $100 or less after tax credits.

Enrollment across the board has largely exceeded expectations, health officials said. The enrollment period for 2015 coverage opened on Nov. 15 and closed on Feb. 15.

President Barack Obama's healthcare policy has been challenged in the courts since the outset. In the latest case, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on March 4 and is expected to decide this year whether or not to throw out tax subsidies in states that do not operate their own marketplaces.

If the court rules against the Obama administration, up to 7.5 million people in at least 34 states would lose the tax subsidies, according to consulting firm Avalere Health.

More than 4.1 million people under 35 years old have purchased health insurance through state and federal exchanges, the HHS said Tuesday, about a third of enrollees.


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