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Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset Used to Fight Phobias

Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset Used to Fight Phobias | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it
While the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality immersion device, is slated for release only early next year, researchers are already trying to implement practical uses for it. At Santa Clara University a couple engineering and computer science students are working on using the Rift to fight phobias, initially focusing on a fear of heights and flying. With a background in video games, the pair teamed up with the chair of the university’s psychology department to study how phobias are treated and how to create a virtual reality experience that will progressively address patient fears.

The investigators came up with a system that pairs a Rift headset with a touchscreen tablet. The patient wears the Rift, while a therapist uses the tablet to guide the experience and tailor it to the patient’s unique needs. In their heights simulation, for example, the treatment starts with the patient virtually standing on top of a building. Initially it is not very tall, but the therapist can slowly increase the building’s height while watching the emotional response of the patient. By increasing the height without terrifying the patient, the therapy can gently nudge acrophobics to get used to being on tall objects and hopefully eventually lose their fear.

While the heights in the virtual world may frighten patients, the team noted that because wearers of the device know they can take it off at any time, they seem to more accepting of trying out the system. Of course an important step will be to actually test the system with real patients to see whether it is truly effective at allaying fears once and for all.
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Lyfe Media's curator insight, June 17, 2015 10:01 AM

The Oculus Rift virtual headset is going to create a world of opportunity for doctors, therapists, and counselors alike. Dealing with patients and their fears can be one of the most difficult topics to approach, especially since a lot of our fears are irrational or impossible. It's exciting to see the world of technology colliding with modern medicine in such an innovative, helpful way.

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Snap-n-Eat nutrition app calculates nutritional info from a picture of food

Snap-n-Eat nutrition app calculates nutritional info from a picture of food | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

A group of researchers with the nonprofit SRI Internationalhave developed a nutrition app that can detect the caloric and nutritional content of food from a picture that you snap with your smartphone.

Obesity is a major problem in the United States – we’ve all seen the powerpoint slides showing CDC maps of obesity prevalence spreading over the past fifty years. Apps like MyFitnessPal and LoseIt let you track the food you eat in a very detailed way. We also recently reviewed Rise, a platform that lets you snap pictures of your meals and get feedback from certified nutritionists.


Researchers with the nonprofit SRI international recently published a paper describing Snap’n’Eat, an app that lets you snap a picture of your meal and calculates nutritional information like caloric content automatically for you.


Basically, the app figures out which segments of the picture contain food and then tries to figure out what type of food is in each segment. Based on that determination, it estimates the caloric content and other nutritional information.


They found that when dealing with a limited set of samples (fifteen in their tests), they were able to achieve 85% accuracy. But when expanding to a larger sample set, the app did not work as well.

They do note that it may be possible to improve the system by having users “train” the app early on; if the app can be taught about the users typical diet, then its accuracy could be improved.


In some ways, the ability to automatically detect nutritional information from a picture is the “holy grail” of diet apps. It would make diet tracking incredibly easy. However, this study highlights the current challenges and limitations of available technology. Further work is certainly needed but it’s a goal worth working towards given the scope of the problem it seeks to address.


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Qardio blood pressure monitor will support Apple Watch

Qardio blood pressure monitor will support Apple Watch | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Qardio announced Apple Watch support for their Bluetooh blood pressure monitor for the iPhone and Android devices.

We reviewed the QardioArm blood pressure monitor a few months ago. We were impressed by the elegant design of both the app and the device. The sharing functionality was also the best we found among any of the connected blood pressure monitors that we’ve reviewed. However, the lack of independent validation of the device and single cuff size kept the device from being our pick for the best connected (Bluetooth or WiFi) blood pressure monitor.


According to Qardio, the Apple Watch will let users both control the blood pressure monitor and also review data for themselves and their family,

QardioArm blood pressure monitors work seamlessly together with the Apple Watch, allowing users to take blood pressure measurements and monitor loved ones with the touch of a single button right off their wrist. Your blood pressure and heart rate data history are viewable at a glance, making heart monitoring even more effortless.

Qardio includes a really nice Family and Friends section in their app that lets you keep an eye on the blood pressure measurements of a loved one. The Apple Watch app will let users quickly check in on those loved ones. Hopefully, they’ll also include the ability to set notifications as well so that I could be alerted if, say, a parent checked their blood pressure and it fell outside of a certain range. For that to really work though, Apple will need to do a better job with letting users control notifications on the Apple Watch.


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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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A new wearable device could let you know you're stressed before you even realize it

A new wearable device could let you know you're stressed before you even realize it | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Ever arrived to work so flustered by your perilous commute that you just want to scream at someone?

What if you could go back in time to that stressful part of your morning, play it in slow motion, and press "pause" right at the beginning — when you first feel the blood rush to your cheeks and the thoughts in your brain start to blur? What if you could stop, take a deep breath, and ride it out — instead of letting your emotions get the best of you?

Tech startup Neumitra, one of billionaire Peter Thiel's newest Breakout Labs grantees, wants to give you that option. (The exact amount of funding Neumitra received from Thiel is undisclosed, but Breakout Labs typically invests between $100,000 and $350,000 on each of its selected companies.)

The new company, headed by former MIT neuroscientist Robert Goldberg, is designing a wearable device to measure our stress levels in real time — whether we're paying attention or not — and alert us to the first signs of stress via a gentle vibration.

The idea behind the technology is simple: Since stress triggers a physiological response in the body (quicker heart rate, faster breathing, sweating), measuring it could give us an opportunity to nip it in the bud.

Goldberg's device is a smartwatch with sensors embedded inside that use skin conductance, a century-old technique (still widely used for things like biofeedback therapy, in which patients learn to control body functions with specific thoughts) that measures the electrical conductivity of the fingers, palms, and feet. The more we sweat, the more electricity we conduct in these areas.

Since sweat is controlled by the same part of the nervous system that handles our stress response, our skin conductivity can serve as a potential indicator of whether or not we're stressed — though of course it's not quite that simple.

NeumitraScreenshot of the Neumitra app, which pairs with a smartphone. The color-coded squares are designed to show your stress levels during each activity: The darker orange a square is, the more stressful that activity; the darker blue a square is, the less stressful.

How it works

Users wear a smartwatch with the Neumitra hardware embedded inside. After a few days of wearing the device, it "learns" the user's typical levels and picks up on when those levels dramatically rise or fall — such as when someone is exercising or sleeping. If the device starts to vibrate and you're at the gym, for example, you could simply press a button to turn it off.

Which brings us to the purpose of the device: To alert people to places, situations, or events that they may never have identified as "stressful," but may nonetheless be triggering a physical stress response in their bodies.

Say you're in the middle of a meeting or driving on the freeway when suddenly your wrist starts to buzz.

This is your opportunity to change how you respond to the stressful incident. Rather than carrying on, business as usual, as your stress levels mount, you could ideally stop, take a breath, and calm yourself down.

"We often don't recognize a stressful situation until far after it's happened," Goldberg told Business Insider. "This allows you to know in the moment what's happening to you mentally and physically."

NeumitraScreenshot of the Neumitra app showing stressful periods of a user's commute. Blue-highlighted areas show places where stress levels were low; red areas show places where stress levels were high.

This could be especially useful at work, where stress can snowball throughout a long

day at the office until suddenly you feel emotionally overwhelmed or burned out. 

Even if we're completely unaware of it initially, stress over the long term can mess with our memory, make us more emotionally reactive, and decrease our ability to focus. When we're constantly under stress, we also become more prone to illness.

Neumitra could help show people what parts of their day might stress them out without their knowledge, so they can come up with solutions to avoid added anxiety. "If you find out the most stressful part of your day is your commute," Goldberg suggests as an example, "and you're coming to work already stressed out, you're not going to do your best work. Maybe it would be better for you to work from home."


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Cheryl Palmer's curator insight, February 19, 2015 6:53 PM

WEARABLES - Interesting Business Insider article detailing a new wearable in development in Australia to monitor stress by startup Neumitra.  Describes how the wearable will work and what research is still needed before it can be successful.  I was pleased to come across this article as so much tech development happens overseas,  yet Australia has such a great a history of innovation and I know many great things will be created here by startups like this one. 

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Obama's Precision Medicine Plan Sounds Great

Obama's Precision Medicine Plan Sounds Great | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

After teasing a "Precision Medicine Initiative" in his State of the Union address, President Obama today released the details of his $215 million plan: A massive database containing the genetic profiles and health records of at least a million volunteers. Genetics sequencing! Big data! These all sound like good things! But there is potential problem: Electronic heath records are a goddamn mess.

The big winner under Obama's plan is the National Institutes of Health, which gets $200 million to develop the million-large volunteer cohort and carry out cancer research. (To read more about the research, head on over to our sister site io9.) A tiny slice of the initiative's budget—$5 million—is also going to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. According to the White House's fact sheet, the ONC is going to "support the development of interoperability standards and requirements that address privacy and enable secure exchange of data across systems."

That sounds deathly boring, I know, but the ONC is building the scaffolding that makes this Precision Medicine Initiative possible. If it fails, the whole thing is not going to get off the ground. Here's why.

The NIH is not going to recruit a million volunteers anew; instead, it's going to pull data from a pool of over 200 existing cohort studies that could range from the Framingham Heart Study in Massachusetts to a database at Kaiser-Permanente in California. Each of these studies has been collecting data in their own way in their own systems. Smooshing all those individual databases together into one centralized one will be a gargantuan task.

"They're going to have severe problems because the federal government refused to demand data standards," says Ross Koppel, a sociology professor at the University of Pennsylvania who specializes in healthcare IT. He is referring to the lack of interoperability between EHR systems built by different companies. For example, says Koppel, a simple question about smoking can be asked in many different ways: Do you smoke? Have you ever smoked? How many times a day do you smoke? When did you quite smoking? How do you combine answers to all those questions into one coherent database?

The ONC currently has a 10-year road map for interoperability, which Koppel calls "nine and a half years too late." The $5 million is welcome boost to the ONC's $75 million budget, but it's a tiny droplet in the ocean for the $3 trillion that American hospitals and clinics are spending to implement EHR.

But there are reasons to be optimistic because, honestly, we do all want this to work out. The NIH's eMERGE Network successfully combined medical records from nine different healthcare centers. The Precision Medicine Initiative has the real potential to revolutionize medical research, so it'd be a grand shame for it to be hobbled by IT problems.

Correction: The post incorrectly said EHR cost $3 trillion per year. The $3 trillion number is the total cost for implementing EHR over seven years, starting in 2009 when the HITECH Act expanding healthcare IT was passed.

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The Irony Of Healthcare Standards | EMR and HIPAA

The Irony Of Healthcare Standards | EMR and HIPAA | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Healthcare delivery should be standardized. Medicine is, after all, primarily a science. Providers must diagnose and treat patients. Clinicians must form hypotheses, test hypotheses, and act. As providers obtain new information, they must adjust their thesis and repeat the cycle until patients are treated. Although there is an art to patient interaction, the medical process itself is scientific.

Science is based on repeatable, nullable hypotheses. Diagnostics and treatments are too.

And yet, it’s widely known that healthcare delivery is anything but standardized. Even basic pre-operative checklists vary dramatically across locations. Although some of this variation can be accounted for by physical constraints and capital limits, most of the aberrations can be attributed to management and culture. Checklists and protocols attempt to standardize care, but even the protocols themselves are widely debated within and between organizations.

It’s also widely known that most innovations take the better part of two decades to roll out through the US healthcare system. For an industry that should be at the cutting edge, this is painful to acknowledge.

There’s a famous saying that vendors represent their clients. It should be no surprise that major health IT vendors are slow to innovate and respond. Providers are used to slow changes, and have come to expect that of their vendors. Since providers often cannot absorb change that quickly, vendors become complacent, the pace of innovation slows, and innovations slowly disperse.

In the same light, health IT vendors are equally unstandardized. In fact, health IT vendors are so unstandardized that there’s an entire industry dedicated to trying to standardize data after-the-fact. The lack of standards is pathetic. A few examples:

Claims – Because insurance companies want to reject claims, they have never agreed on a real standard for claims. As such, an entire industry has emerged – clearing houses – to help providers mold claims for each insurance company. In an ideal world, clearing houses would have no reason to exist; all claim submissions, eligibility checks, and EOBs should be driven through standards that everyone adheres to.

HL7 – It’s commonly cited that every HL7 integration is just that: a single HL7 integration. Although HL7 integrations share the same general format, they accommodate such a vast array of variety and choice that every integration must be supported by developers on both sides of the interaction.

As a technologist, the lack of interoperability is insulting. Every computer on this planet – Windows, Mac, iOs, Android, and other flavors of Linux – communicate via the TCP/IP and HTTP protocols. Even Microsoft, Apple, and Google play nicely within enterprises. But because of the horribly skewed incentives within healthcare, none of the vendors want their customers to interact with other vendors, even though cooperation is vital.

Perhaps the most ironic observation is that technology is widely considered to be hyper-competitive. Despite hyper-competition, the tech giants have coalesced around a common set of standards for communication and interoperability. Yet health IT vendors, who operate within a vertical that prides itself on its scientific foundations, fail to communicate at the most basic levels.


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Beyond games, Oculus virtual reality headset finds medical uses

Beyond games, Oculus virtual reality headset finds medical uses | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

To help treat soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder, Jennifer Patterson turned to a gadget typically associated with video games: the virtual reality headset from Oculus, a company Facebook Inc bought for $2 billion last year.


Patterson, an engineering student at the University of Pittsburgh, studied a software used on the prototype of the head-mounted display that creates virtual settings, such as a Middle Eastern-themed city or desert road, that soldiers would otherwise avoid, as a way to help them recover from their PTSD.


She hopes doctors and therapists around the country will better understand how the technology can be helpful to their own patients.


Patterson is one of a handful of researchers who have used the display for experimental treatments and studies that range from treating glaucoma patients to easing pain in burn victims.


While there are no estimates of the potential size of the market for virtual reality applications in the health care field, analysts say that success in this area would likely spur even broader adoption in a range of industries, such as education, fashion, media and telecommunications.


The potential size of those markets is quite large, possibly surpassing $5 billion over the next three years, according to some estimates, especially as the gadget's uses extend far beyond gaming.


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he views virtual reality as the next major computing platform, and he is working hard to ensure that it is. While Oculus headsets will not be available to consumers until 2016, the company has made prototypes of the system available to developers since 2013, with the expectation that an array of applications will be available to those buying headsets after the formal launch.


The company plans to hold a news event Thursday in San Francisco but has not specified what it will announce. It declined to comment for this story.


Virtual reality is not new to medicine or therapy, but its affordability is. Doctors and researchers often shell out $30,000 to more than $300,000 for medical headsets and simulators while the Oculus is available to developers for $350 to $400.


The more expensive medical virtual reality sets will still be needed for certain studies, doctors and researchers said, because of their accuracy in detecting sensitive movements and because patients with severe facial burns cannot use a head-mounted Oculus device.


But they still expect the Oculus Rift and other cheaper virtual reality headsets to quickly replace the expensive ones.


"As more and more companies get involved in this, we will keep seeing inexpensive and very accurate systems," said Felipe Medeiros, a professor at the University of California San Diego who used the Oculus device to evaluate patients with glaucoma, a disease of the eye's optic nerve.


FLOOD VIRTUAL MARKET


Other companies, including Sony Corp, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Microsoft Corp, Google Inc and HTC Corp have either already released virtual reality headsets or plan to do so in the next year.


Oculus, however, has already distributed more than 100,000 units of its developer version. This is more than has been available in the history of virtual reality, giving it early brand recognition among medical researchers, analysts said.


"Oculus has basically jumped out in front," said Hunter Hoffman, a virtual reality researcher at the University of Washington Seattle who used the Oculus Rift to ease severe pain in an 11-year-old burn victim.


Some headsets, such as Sony's Morpheus, are built exclusively for video games. Oculus, however, allows researchers and developers to create their own software, whether for specialized applications like health care or for video games.


In Medeiros's study, for example, he evaluated patients with glaucoma. He created a simulated environment that made patients feel as though they were moving through a tunnel and then studied their bodies' responses.


That helped researchers predict the likelihood of a fall for glaucoma patients, allowing doctors to teach them how to avoid it.


Medeiros and other researchers said future studies will compare the inexpensive headsets against one another. But because of Oculus's early availability, it has already become the most popular headset.


"Oculus has done a great job of keeping themselves front and center and making themselves the product that everyone has to be compared against," said Brian Blau, Gartner research director.

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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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Google Builds a New Tablet for the Fight Against Ebola

Google Builds a New Tablet for the Fight Against Ebola | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Jay Achar was treating Ebola patients at a makeshift hospital in Sierra Leone, and he needed more time.

This was in September, near the height of the West African Ebola epidemic. Achar was part of a team that traveled to Sierra Leone under the aegis of a European organization called Médecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders. In a city called Magburaka, MSF had erected a treatment center that kept patients carefully quarantined, and inside the facility’s high-risk zone, doctors like Achar wore the usual polythene “moon suits,” gloves, face masks, and goggles to protect themselves from infection.

With temperatures rising to about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, Achar could stay inside for only about an hour at a time. “The suit doesn’t let your skin breathe. It can’t,” he says. “You get very, very hot.” And even while inside, so much of his time was spent not treating the patients, but merely recording their medical information—a tedious but necessary part of containing an epidemic that has now claimed an estimated 10,000 lives. Due to the risk of contamination, he would take notes on paper, walk the paper to the edge of the enclosure, shout the information to someone on the other side of a fence, and later destroy the paper. “The paper can’t come out of the high-risk zone,” he says.

Looking for a better way, he phoned Ivan Gayton, a colleague at the MSF home office in London. Gayton calls himself a logistician. He helps the organization get stuff done. In 2010, he tracked down someone at Google who could help him use its Google Earth service to map the locations of patients during a cholera epidemic in Haiti. As part of its charitable arm, Google.org, the tech giant runs a “crisis response team” that does stuff like this. So, after talking to Achar, Gayton phoned Google again, and the company responded with a new piece of tech: a computer tablet that could replace those paper notes and all that shouting over the fence.

The Tablet You Dunk in Chlorine

Over the next few months, drawing on employees from across the company, Google helped build a specialized Android tablet where Achar and other doctors could record medical info from inside the high-risk zone and then send it wirelessly to servers on the outside. Here in everyday America, a wireless tablet may seem like basic technology. But in the middle of an Ebola epidemic in West Africa, which offers limited internet and other tech infrastructure, it’s not.



The tablet is encased in polycarbonate, so that it can be dipped in chlorine and removed from the facility, and the server runs on battery power. “There was a real need for this,” says Dr. Eric D. Perakslis, part of the department of biomedical informatics at the Harvard Medical School, who has closely followed the project. “It’s very impressive, and it’s unique.”

The system is now used by Achar and other doctors in West Africa, where patients are still being treated. During the testing phase, the server ran off a motorcycle battery, but now it includes its own lithium ion batteries, much like those in your cell phone, which can charge via a portable generator. Then, inside the high-risk zone, Achar can not only wirelessly send data over the fence, but also readily access information he didn’t have before, including a patient’s latest blood test results. Plus, after dipping the thing in chlorine for ten minutes, he can take it outside the zone and continue working with it after removing his moon suit.

Yes, the Ebola epidemic appears to be wane. But the system provides a blueprint for future. After catching wind of the project, Perakslis says, he’s working to help MSF “open source” the technology, freely sharing the software code and hardware designs with the world at large. The hope is that system could also be used to battle others epidemics, including cholera outbreaks, and perhaps help with medical research, including clinical trials for drug-resistant tuberculosis. “You can think of other highly toxic environments, even laboratory environments, where this could really be helpful,” Perakslis says.

Fighting Disease Like a Tech Company

But it could also provide a path to all sorts of other new technologies for fighting disease and illness in developing countries. If tech is open source, you see, you can not only use it for free, but modify it. This is actually what MSF and Google themselves did in creating their system for the Ebola wards. In fashioning the software that runs on the tablet and server, they built atop an existing open source medical records tool called OpenMRS. One technology is just a starting point for another.

What’s more, says Ivan Gayton, the project offers a lesson in how organizations like MSF should operate. In the past, they operated according to carefully organized hierarchies of employees. And they were forced to use what came down from the big software and hardware sellers. But the tablet project was an almost ad-hoc collaboration. Achar phoned Gayton. Gayton phoned Google. Soon, Google sent about a dozen employees to London, including Google Drive project manager Ganesh Shankar, who was living in Australia. Later, Gayton says, MSF roped in several other volunteer techies from outside the organization, including a 19-year-old gaming entrepreneur.

Finally, various parts of the team, spanning multiple organizations, flew down to Sierra Leone to test and deploy the system in the real world. Organizations like MSF don’t typically work in this way, Gayton explains. And they should.

“We’ve learned new ways of doing things,” he says. “In the past, we used the Roman-legion, hierarchical, triangle structure. But Google and the tech volunteers we work with organize in different ways—ways more like what you see with open source projects like Linux, with more or less one manager and then a bunch of equal peers. That can have profound implications for the humanitarian field.”


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Eduardo Vaz's curator insight, March 25, 2015 10:33 AM

#Google created a new #Tablet, but you won't be seeing it on store shelves. #ygk

Jared Stewart's curator insight, March 27, 2015 3:12 AM

A application of modern Tablet technology to help the fight against the Ebola Virus. It also shows the possibilities of this technology being used in future epidemics.

Louisa ROQUE's curator insight, April 23, 2015 5:59 AM

When technology is useful.

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Why 2015 is the pivotal year for #digitalhealth

Why 2015 is the pivotal year for #digitalhealth | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

While we don’t truly know what the future holds, we all know that health is personal—and will need to be handled accordingly to optimize the progress that is possible with digital health.

The mainstream healthcare consumer in 2014 embraced the ALS Ice Bucket challenge and panicked (rightfully so) about the staggering wake-up call of the Ebola outbreak. While the politicians in US played the Obamacare ping pong game, and Brussels accepted its first applications for eHealth projects as part of Horizon 2020, there was also a major undercurrent in how digital health and health IT have penetrated our everyday lives.

In the US alone, digital health funding more than doubled from 2013, according to RockHealth, and even almost tripled according to StartupHealth. While the delta is not a rounding error, the key point is the exponential trajectory that showcases the fact that smart money believes this industry is ripe for significant disruption.

There are still many companies and investors that are sitting on the sidelines and watching the show from the balcony. As an example, there are many critics of wearable devices and even some hesitations on the value of big data. But, I want to remind everyone that Rome was not built in a day and the first generation or even second generation of devices, big data platforms, and decision support tools will improve care mainly driven by healthcare entrepreneurs, healthcare consumers and passionate scientists and clinicians – the “stormchasers”.

On February 2nd, I attended a local Singularity University lecture with a keynote from Gerd Leonhard, who is a thinker, futurist and a digital heretic. One of the statements he made really resonated with me: “Technology is exponential, humans are not”. The keynote was all about ethics in the age of exponential technology. But, leaving privacy and ethical issues aside, 2015 will be a pivotal year for digital health in an era of exponential technology:

1. Precision medicine

During the State of the Union Address, President Obama announced the precision medicine initiative.  

"I want the country that eliminated polio and mapped the human genome to lead a new era of medicine — one that delivers the right treatment at the right time. In some patients with cystic fibrosis, this approach has reversed a disease once thought unstoppable. Tonight, I’m launching a new Precision Medicine Initiative to bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes — and to give all of us access to the personalized information we need to keep ourselves and our families healthier."

Precision, or personalized medicine, (I use the term interchangeably) is an approach to using medical and genetics data, body-generated data, biotechnology, and science, to first and foremost understand the root causes of the disease—but also come up with personalized and individualized treatments and therapies.

Due to forthcoming government funding, but more importantly smart money and brilliant entrepreneurs, we will certainly see more activity this year. After all “Health IS Personal”.

2. Genomics

As DNADigest describes it:

"The techniques for researching and characterizing genomics diseases are available to both researchers (next generation DNA sequencing) and the general public (in the form of personal testing), so we should soon be able to diagnose any genetic disease by sequencing a patient’s DNA."

Indeed, this is the future but the future is almost here: Illumina with $1,000 per full genome sequencing, Tute Genomics which is now allowing researchers and clinicians to interpret the entire human genome, and a big announcement for 23andMe regarding their entrance into the UK market.

As an industry, there are still a lot of hurdles, but we will see some significant moves this year in this space—including ways to actually analyze 150 zetabytes (1021) of data per full genome, begin integrating this data into evolving and ancient EMR platforms, and provide genetic counseling to offset the lack of knowledge by the masses.

3. Smart Data and Data Science

Well actually, data itself is not smart, people are! And while there is huge promise in big data analysis, collecting and hoarding zetabytes (yes this term again) of data does not bring any value.

People need to ask the right questions of the data. We are at an age where collecting data is easy with body-generated data, environmental data, and traditional medical data—but it is the data scientist combined with sharp business and clinical skills that will empower the healthcare system to make all this data actionable, with the healthcare consumer at the center.

"If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything" - Ronald Coase
4. Next Generation EMR is personal

Let’s face it—and this is not news to anybody—core medical data is already becoming a small percentage of the overall personal health record. Existing EMR platforms are over two decades old and some are struggling to keep up with archaic architectures, millions of lines of code, and minimal-to-no differentiation to their client base today.

The smart ones are looking to open up their APIs, integrate body-generated and genomics data, and even combine that with environmental data at a personalized level to be able to provide that precision medicine at point of care.

5. Design and Aesthetics

Our bodies are complex, and therefore the medical profession is complex. Once again, an unprecedented amount of content is generated daily—and for both consumers and clinicians alike, dealing with this information overload is becoming yet another full time job.

The aforementioned smart data discussion is only one piece of the puzzle. User experience is another.

At the core of our health is human behavior. Hence, incentivizing healthcare consumers (patients), making their treatment pathways clear, and presenting stupid data in a smart and actionable way are all key to improving our healthcare system.

Global health care transformation is still in its infancy. While we don’t truly know what the future holds, we all know that health is personal—and will need to be handled accordingly to optimize the progress that is possible with digital health.


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Apple's New Plan For Healthcare: The Doctor Will Track You Now

Apple's New Plan For Healthcare: The Doctor Will Track You Now | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

An Apple relay will keep your doctor’s fears allayed.

That’s the plan, at least, behind the company’s growing health care strategy: To use the Apple HealthKit platform to collect real-time data from iPhones, the soon-to-be-released Apple Watch, and other devices — and connect it to hospitals, doctors, and your electronic medical records.

More than a dozen top hospitals already are piloting Apple’s HealthKit software, Christina Farr reported Thursday in an exclusive for Reuters.

This isn’t a surprise. Five months ago, details leaked that Mayo Clinic had teamed up to test several health care applications for the iPhone, such as a service to alert patients when their Apple apps detected abnormal health results, and help schedule them for follow-up visits.


And at the September debut for the iPhone 6, Apple officials said that they’d struck partnerships with a number of other top hospitals, like Stanford University Hospital and Duke University.

The two medical centers last year began helping Apple test whether chronically ill patients could use HealthKit to remotely track and manage their symptoms.

A similar trial is now underway at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, where providers are seeing if HealthKit can help several hundred patients control their blood pressure. The patients use sensors and other devices to remotely measure their blood pressure and other clinical indicators, and send the data to Apple phones and tablets through HealthKit.


Apple plans to use its new Watch as part of its strategy to move into the U.S. health care market.

Ochsner also has launched what it’s calling the “O Bar” — the hospital’s version of Apple’s Genius Bar — to help patients pick between different health and fitness apps for their iPhones, and teach them how to use them.

Are Apple’s Rivals Playing Catch-Up?

What is surprising is how far ahead Apple is compared to purported rivals, Google and Samsung.

According to Farr, Google has developers working on applications for its Google Fit service, but hasn’t appeared to make major inroads among the top hospitals yet. Samsung’s own health care platform also has lagged Apple HealthKit on both hype and deal-making.

The market potential for these companies is significant, to say the least: The U.S. spends about $3 trillion each year on health care, and all the incentives are pushing hospitals and doctors to get better at remotely managing patients’ symptoms.

Being able to see real-time data for chronically ill Americans could offer significant financial and clinical benefits. For instance, tracking their health and fitness could encourage positive behaviors that reduce the cost of doctor visits and other treatments. And doctors could use the data to be proactive when a person’s health appears to be taking a turn for the worse.

There are several major hurdles before realizing that vision, however.

For example, Apple appears to have pinned some of its health care-hopes on the Apple Watch, which launches in April. But early indications suggest that the device’s initial applications for health care may be limited; based on current reports, there’s very little chance that the Watch will come with a breakthrough technology, like a built-in glucose monitor.

(However, the Watch may display updates from a separate glucose monitor, per this demonstration last month.)

If Apple Watch can’t add much unique health care value, it may face a practical problem: Regardless of how cool the technology is, most Americans end up abandoning their wristbands and other smart-tech wearables.


And simply introducing new data streams isn’t so simple in health care. Hospitals already are juggling the pressure of protecting patients’ medical information, with hackers constantly trying to penetrate their systems, while trying to identify and organize the data that they do need.

“This is a whole new data source that we don’t understand the integrity of yet,” according to William Hanson, chief medical information officer at the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

So unlike the launch of the iPad — where Apple essentially redefined the tablet computer market overnight — the company will almost certainly need months or years to fully realize its health care strategy.

“There are unrealistic expectations for when and how mobile health is going to come together,” Patty Mechael, former executive director of the mHealth Alliance, told the MIT Technology Review last summer. “We are somewhere between the peak of the hype cycle and the trough of disillusionment,” she added.

Of course, Apple may defy the odds. For one, it’s Apple — the company can create buzz by simply posting a job opening. More than 600 developers are already integrating HealthKit into their health and fitness apps, helping ensure that Apple’s new software is already becoming an industry standard.

That kind of scale and momentum is the key reason why Apple stands apart.

John Halamka, the chief information officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an informal adviser to Apple, told Reuters that many patients at his hospital already use Jawbone trackers and other devices to collect personal health and fitness data.

“Can I interface to every possible device that every patient uses?” Halamka asked ruefully. “No.”

“But Apple can.”

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Digital natives' to drive technological revolution in medicine

Digital natives' to drive technological revolution in medicine | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The biggest changes to come in the medical industry down the road will be at the hands of those who have grown up surrounded by technology all their lives, according to digital health philosopher John Nosta.

These digital natives, Nosta tells Real Business, are going to drive the technological revolution in medicine. They have grown up with a smartphone in their hands, he says, and that will cause the role of mobile health technology to undergo a change.

"The role of the smartphone or handheld device to aid in a differential diagnosis or a clinical scenario may become much more mainstream as we see this generation of medical students graduate," Nosta says.

More than 50 percent of U.S. hospitals are using smartphones and or tablets and 69 percent of clinicians are using both a desktop/laptop and a smartphone/tablet to access data, according to the 2014 HIMSS Analytics Mobile Devices Study, published last month. One-third of respondents polled believe smartphones and tablets will drive overall efficiency in care by eliminating redundancies and view mHealth devices as having a positive impact on care quality and coordination.

"Clinicians currently using this technology also offered numerous suggestions about how the next generation of smartphones and tablet computers could better help them support patient care," Jennifer Horowitz, senior director of research at HIMSS Analytics, told FierceMobileHealthcare. "A few examples include improved access to clinical information housed in EHR and other sources, ability of smartphones and tablet computers to enhance clinician workflow and improved tools for interacting with patients."

Nosta says that digital native patients likely will begin to know more about their healthcare than possibly even the physician does. He uses the parents of children with cancer as an example, who he says "take such an active role in the child's care that they monitor the data in an extraordinary way."

There also will be new roles coming to the industry, such as that of information specialist, and the work laboratory and medical technician perform may grow to include genetic analysis and diagnostic imaging, Nosta says. More stakeholders, including paramedics and nurses, will be empowered by emerging technologies, he adds.


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