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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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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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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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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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Will Patients Embrace Wearable Health Technology?

Will Patients Embrace Wearable Health Technology? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Technology hype in the medical industry has been well distributed and plentiful for the last several years. Predictive analytics, personal health records, and other medical software have all enjoyed copious amounts of analysis, but none has garnered the attention that wearables currently enjoy.

And it's easy to see why: gathering biometric data directly from the patient and using that information to create more accurate treatment plans, deliver alerts, and generally improve population and individual health is a compelling use case.


Unfortunately, the wearables revolution remains stuck to the wrists of a particular young, affluent population, while patients who could truly benefit from wearable technology have yet to gain access to these devices.


If that access becomes viable on a broad scale though, it could invoke meaningful change.


A recent study by the Pew Foundation revealed that about 19 percent of people without chronic conditions track their health (with or without software). This is arguably the main demographic that use wearable devices or fitness trackers right now.


In contrast, 40 percent of people who have one chronic condition track their health, and 62 percent of people with two or more chronic conditions track their health.


Logically, these numbers may not be surprising — these people must monitor their health to avoid staying out of the hospital. What is surprising is the lack of penetration health wearables have made in this market. Patients with chronic diseases make up a huge portion of total healthcare expenses, and theoretically, their health tracking could be made substantially easier with the help of wearables.


Yet wearables have not reached this demographic, although there are industry stakeholders trying to change that. Here's a look the most prominent forces at work.


CMS and meaningful use


With the new proposed rules for meaningful use Stage 3, CMS has eliminated the rigid view, transmit, and download requirement for patient engagement. Now, at least 25 percent of unique patients must engage in some way with their personal health information within the provider's EHR.


This can be accomplished in a couple of ways: view, transmit, and download, or syncing the EHR with a personal health record (PHR) or health wearable device. Both of the more complex data transfer scenarios bring health wearables directly into play. Even if the data is transferred from a personal health record to an EHR, it's still possible to use the PHR as a repository for wearable data, before it travels to the provider's system.


Insurers


Though the lines are not yet clearly drawn, insurers would surely like to begin using biometric data from wearable devices to make their risk profiles for patients more accurate, and more influential.

 

Data gathered from fitness trackers would provide a realistic picture of a patient's lifestyle, especially if more complex trackers are used to record glucose levels that indicate caloric intake.


The relationship between insurers could be critical, because wearables have a short track life in the consumer market. It turns out, most people stop using them after a few months. However, insurers can offer incentives that other stakeholders can't.


For example, UK-based Vitality Health has been encouraging patients to use wearable technology since 2006. In exchange for the data produced by these devices, Vitality offers life insurance customers points that can be spent on movie tickets and coffee, as well as reduced premiums.


Of course, the downside to insurers having this much information is that they could use the wearable data to increase premiums for patients who don't meet certain criteria (which may or may not actually indicate health risks).


Either way, this offer appeals to the people: 57 percent of respondents in a TechnologyAdvice survey said that the possibility of lower premiums would make them more likely to use a fitness tracking device.


Providers


The final group in the equation is stuck in an interesting position. Though 66 percent of physicians would prescribe an app to help patients manage chronic diseases like diabetes, it's well-documented that physicians worry about receiving too much (read: irrelevant) data from wearable health devices. Although physicians are likely excited by the possibilities of wearable devices, it will likely take some for them to decide on exactly how (or if at all) they want to incorporate such data into their diagnoses.


As it stands now, the industry is rapidly adopting new medical software to fix processes like information exchange and chronic disease management that have made for such obstinate opponents over the years. Of the proposed technology, wearables seem most likely to catch fire, in part because of their consumer appeal and obvious use cases. They certainly have the stakeholder support.

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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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NIH Awards $20B to Improve Health IT

NIH Awards $20B to Improve Health IT | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The National Institutes of Health Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC) is awarding $20 billion in funds to 65 companies to provide the entire federal government with IT solutions.


The government-wide acquisition contract (GWAC) covers 10 years with potential funds, offering IT commodity-enabling and shared solutions both on-site and in the cloud.  This includes services such as deployment and installation, maintenance and training, engineering studies, enterprise licenses and extended warranties, everything-as-a-service, mobility, collaboration, web and video-conferencing, cybersecurity, big data, virtualization and health and biomedical IT.


Of the 65 companies awarded a contract, 44 are small businesses across multiple socioeconomic categories. “Our vision was to create a strong suite of contracts which meet the IT needs of not only NIH but the entire federal landscape," said Diane J. Frasier, director, office of acquisition and logistics management and head of the contracting activity at NIH.


“We will continue to build strong relationships with our customers through superior customer service and quality contracting. This contract introduces a new, highly select community now poised to serve the federal government's emerging, next generation information technology needs within a culture that embraces uncompromising quality and bold innovation,” added Robert Coen, NITAAC program director.


The complete list of the 65 winners of the award can be seen here.


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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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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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Will the New Apple Product Accelerate Healthcare’s Shift to Consumerism?

Will the New Apple Product Accelerate Healthcare’s Shift to Consumerism? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The Apple Watch market release on April 24 is not only a significant event for the consumer electronics industry, but it will be a significant event for healthcare as well. More than simply a version of the iPhone that fits on a wrist, the Apple Watch promises to be a tipping point for engaging consumers in their healthcare (a topic I wrote about here last year).

Certainly, this evolution will be gradual, and the health and fitness apps available for the smart watch are limited so far. But if sales of the Apple Watch are anything similar to iPhone, iPad and iTunes sales in the last 10 years, then this device will indeed influence how consumers capture, track and share personal health data with providers.

Why? Because the Apple Watch, unlike any of the countless consumer fitness-monitoring devices before it, isn’t just for counting steps or calories. It’s designed to be integrated into every moment of the wearer’s waking hours, offering a calendar, weather forecasts, emails, text messages, phone calls, music, and, of course, the ability to track steps walked, miles run, heart rate and total body movement throughout the day. It even tells the time!

This constant monitoring and integration into consumers’ daily lives—and the fact that they will wear the device on their wrists instead of stuffing it into a pocket—is why the Apple Watch will greatly influence health engagement where others have failed.

Apple changes things
Smart watches have been around since at least 2013, but Apple and its brand, reputation and devoted customer base ensure not only heavy sales, but also extensive coverage in the news media that other consumer technology companies would kill for.

However, the first generation of any transformative consumer technology—television, VCR, Internet modem or smart watch—is rarely the most purchased. Apple will certainly learn from this first version, refine it and add features that likely will include more health and fitness capabilities and integrations with healthcare organizations’ information systems.

This gradual acceptance means healthcare organizations have some time before consumers insist that providers capture data collected from the Apple Watch and combine it with their electronic health records (EHRs). Regardless of how fast this demand grows, numerous healthcare-centric Apple Watch apps already are in development due to the smart watch’s bio-sensing technologies.

Preparing for the demand
Also driving this shift, as I wrote about last year, is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which changed how millions of Americans acquire health insurance. Consumers now shop online for health coverage the same way they shop for airline tickets or clothing. Higher co-pays and deductibles mean that consumers are sharing more expenses with health plans and are inquiring more often about the cost of tests and services. Eventual Apple Watch interoperability is one of the many new expectations that consumers will have of providers.

Organizations can start preparing now for this change by exploring technology companies that offer effective strategies for capturing data from Apple Watches, or any health-monitoring devices, to deliver relevant notifications to providers—in context—to help support clinical decisions. For example, is the 50-year-old male patient who is transmitting a 135 beats-per-minute heart rate through his smart watch experiencing a cardiac event, or is he just training for a half-marathon? Technologies that can combine watch data with the patient’s EHR information and run an algorithm to determine if an intervention is necessary offer the kinds of analytics that providers will need to keep up with consumer expectations.

Providers, however, shouldn’t wait too long. While its evolution may be somewhat gradual, the Apple Watch’s ability to accelerate consumer health engagement is likely to be relatively swift. Perhaps the best example as to why comes from the technology reporter for The New York Times, who after spending three days wearing it wrote that “the [Apple] watch became something like a natural extension of my body—a direct link, in a way that I’ve never felt before, from the digital world to my brain.”³

That direct link is what healthcare providers must leverage to better monitor and improve chronic-condition management, as well as consumer eating and exercise habits. The Apple Watch appears to be a significant tool that will help providers reach this goal.



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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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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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Accenture report highlights digital health priorities for tech-savvy seniors

Accenture report highlights digital health priorities for tech-savvy seniors | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Nearly 70 percent of seniors said technology is important to managing their health, according to a new report by Accenture. The survey of more than 10,00 people in 10 countries included 350 American seniors aged 65 and older.

The majority of people interested in these devices are already actively managing their health, which rings true with the quantified self movement. Of those who said they considered technology “very important” in health management, 75 percent monitored their weight, 50 percent monitored their cholesterol and 41 percent tracked their physical activity last year. Those rates are much higher than seniors who say they see no value in using technology to manage their health, according to the report.

Here were the five biggest priorities identified in the survey:

  • Self-care technology to independently manage health. (67 percent)
  • Wearables to track vital signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure. (62 percent)
  • Online communities to gauge reactions to a doctor’s recommendation (60 percent)
  • Patient navigators (33 percent)
  • Electronic health record management  (25 percent)

About 57 percent of seniors aged 65 and older used their electronic health record to access outcome-related health
data such as lab work and blood test results compared to just 46 percent of younger peers, the report said. Although a little more than one in four said they relied on EHRs for this information, about 42 percent said they expected to rely on EHRs to access health data in the next five years.

Despite the report’s outlook that seniors will embrace digital health in wider numbers, it emphasizes that its power to amplify in-person appointments with doctors, not replace them.

“Ehealth is poised to help increase engagement opportunities and support complex care coordination of the Medicare population. It is a complement, not a substitute, for the human touch in healthcare—at a time in people’s lives when they often need it the most.”

Seniors are a particularly interesting demographic to consider for digital health for a few reasons. They account for a significant portion of the population (40.3 million, according to 2010 U.S. Census data) and a hefty portion of medical expenses as their health declines. But the report’s focus on tech-savvy seniors also reveals its bias towards seniors that enjoy higher incomes. It cites the Pew Internet and American Life Project that of the seniors 65 and older with an annual household income of $75,000 or more, 90 percent go online and 82 percent have broadband at home, both of which are much higher rates compared to this age group overall.

Accenture’s report underscores the need for digital health tools that not only respond to seniors interest in aging in place, but also respond to the broad variety of technology skill levels in such a large, aging population.


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Edward Wisniowski's curator insight, March 10, 2015 5:47 PM

Seniors are getting more tech savy

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Google health wristband is more than a "me too" wearable

Google health wristband is more than a "me too" wearable | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Google announced last week that they’ve developed a clinical grade health tracking wristband for use in medical research and clinical trials. In other words, the Google health wristband won’t show up on Amazon or in Walgreens. And that’s one of the most interesting things about it.

News of the device has been widely reported, generally with enthusiasm. Details on the device, developed out of the Google X group, are still scant however and it seems to be in relatively early phases of validation. According to Bloomberg, the device will measure heart rate, heart rhythm and skin temperature. It will also capture environmental information like light exposure and noise levels.


Clinical trials testing the device’s accuracy are set to begin this year with as-yet unnamed academic partners. I imagine, though, that partners in Google’s Baseline project like Duke and Stanford will play prominent roles.


Perhaps the most striking thing about the device and Google’s plans here is their intent to (1) do validation studies and (2) seek regulatory approval from the FDA as well as European regulators. While the field of health tracking wearables has taken off in recent years, we’ve generally been left to speculate on the accuracy of devices like those from Fitbit based on small studies. Most skirt FDA oversight by marketing their devices as intended for general wellness rather than for the management of specific health conditions.


Google appears to be taking a completely different approach here. They are developing a multi-functional wearable that will not only capture all kinds of health data but will also have evidence supporting it’s accuracy. And with Google’s seemingly endless access to information, it would be interesting to see the information captured through this device combined with other data streams. For example, arrhythmia or pulse oximetry data captured by the device could be correlated to air quality or allergen information.


This approach contrasts and in some ways complements Apple’s approach to health. Through HealthKit, Apple created a common language for how health data captured by wearables is recorded by their connected apps and makes it shareable. And throughResearchKit, clinicians can more readily deploy clinical studies using these devices. However, when it came to Apple’s own wearable – the Apple Watch – the health sensors don’t have validation data and avoided regulatory oversight by sticking with “general wellness” as their intended use. Clinical research will rely more heavily on compatible validated sensors like iPhone connected blood pressure monitors.


It will be interesting to see what sensors Google ultimately packs in here. If theirglucose-tracking contact lens is any indication, we can expect some creative & novel additions to this device.

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Baxter's curator insight, August 13, 2015 1:36 PM

Last year when Isabelle (my co-founder) and I attended the Samsung Digital Conference in San Francesco, 'wearables' like this watch and digital health were all the rage.

And they still are.

Our app will help not only users to manage their specific health conditions, but also give these devices more MEANINGFUL reasons to be worn than just collecting data after data after data (how many times do you need to see how far you walked today?).

When these devices pick up a rise in your heart rate/ rhythm and skin temp, they can send you a subtle warning and remind you to breathe. You can then queue up the breath most relevant to your situation (like the interview breath, or first date breath). Your vitals return to normal range, and you're more relaxed, and no doubt you'll perform better in the situation

Breath-Takingly simple practices for every occasion.

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Indiana medical software company hack exposes protected information of unknown number of patients

Indiana medical software company hack exposes protected information of unknown number of patients | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Medical Informatics Engineering, a Fort Wayne, Ind.-based maker of Web-based health information-technology software, said Wednesday it was the victim of a sophisticated cyber attack that exposed the protected health information of an unknown number of patients. 

MIE emphasized that patients of only some of its clients were affected, including the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Neurological Center, Franciscan St. Francis Health Indianapolis, the Gynecology Center in Fort Wayne, Rochester Medical Group in Rochester Hills, Mich. and Concentra, a national network of primary-care and specialty clinics. The company said in a statement that it is working with a third-party forensics firm to determine an “accurate number of affected patients.”

MIE's clients include about 100 small- to medium-sized physician offices.

The hack includes MIE's NoMoreClipBoard subsidiary, which produces a personal health-record management system. 

The servers that were hacked held protected health information including patient names, mailing and email addresses, birthdates, and for some patients, social security numbers, laboratory results, dictated reports and medical conditions. Financial records were not compromised because the company does not collect or store that information, but experts told Modern Healthcare that clinical data can often be even more valuable to identity thieves. 

The company said it learned about the hack after it discovered suspicious activity on one of its servers May 26, at which point it immediately launched an investigation to resolve any system vulnerabilities, in addition to reporting the security breach to law enforcement, including the FBI, company officials said. 

Eric Jones, MIE's chief operating officer, said it's clear that, big or small, healthcare companies must deal with the serious threat of cyber attacks.

“I certainly I think it's becoming obvious to most of us that this is becoming a more common occurrence," Jones said. "There are sophisticated entities out there that want to do harm and we need to be more vigilant, we need to do a better job to protect the information that we hold."

Jones said he doesn't believe that the Web-based nature of the company's software made it an easier target.

"I think everybody is vulnerable, whether your application is Web-based or if your client server is within four walls, I think there's still high risk that you could be impacted this way," Jones said.

MIE and NoMoreClipBoard began contacting clients and patients on June 2, and are offering free credit monitoring and identity protection services to affected patients for the next 24 months. The company also established a toll-free hotline to answer questions about the hack. 

Data breaches in healthcare are the most expensive to remediate and are growing more so, according to a May report from the Ponemon Institute.

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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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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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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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Research surgical robot hacked by computer science experts

Research surgical robot hacked by computer science experts | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle have demonstrated the ability to remotely hack a research surgical robot, the RAVEN II platform.


Before continuing, I’ll stop to clarify one thing. The RAVEN II is not a clinically used surgical robot like, say, the Da Vinci surgical robot. It’s an “open-source” surgical robot developed at the University of Washington to test and demonstrate advanced concepts in robotic surgery. We contacted Applied Dexterity which is now in charge of the RAVEN platform and according to co-founder David Drajeske,

The RAVEN II platform is not approved for use on humans. The system has been placed at 18 robotics research labs worldwide…that are using it to make advances in surgical robotics technologies…The low level software is open-source and it is designed to be “hackable” or readily reprogrammed.

Clinically used surgical robots, like the Da Vinci platform, operate on secure local networks using proprietary (i.e. not publicly available) communications protocols between the console and the robot. By contrast, RAVEN II can work on unsecured public networks and uses a publicly available communications protocol (see below). So while some have proclaimed an imminent threat to robotic surgery, that’s simply not the case.


That said, the work does have interesting implications; as pointed out by Mr. Drajeske and co-founder Blake Hannaford, RAVEN II is a great platform for testing these type of security issues. Tamara Bonaci, a graduate student at the University of Washigton, led this study to test the security vulnerabilities that could threaten surgeons using these tools and their patients. In this simulation, they aimed to recreate an environment that would be more akin to using these robots in remote areas.


They tested a series of attacks on the RAVEN II system while an operator used it to complete a simulated task – moving rubber blocks around.


They found that not only were they able to disrupt the “surgeon” by causing erratic movements of the robot, they were able to hijack the robot entirely. They also discovered they were able to easily access the video feed from the robot.


One of the main use cases highlighted for surgical robots, or any number of medical robots for that matter, is that they can function in remote, difficult to reach, and underserved areas. In those areas, some of the conditions of this study are likely to be present – like having to use a relatively unsecured data network. And for cost reasons, using a more open-source platform may be important. So this study does however raise interesting questions about the use of medical robots – it just doesn’t mean that clinically used surgical robots are under some imminent threat.


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Cedars-Sinai goes all-in on Apple HealthKit

Cedars-Sinai goes all-in on Apple HealthKit | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles has become the latest provider organization to link its electronic medical records system to Apple's HealthKit software.


CIO Darren Dworkin, speaking to Bloomberg Business, said that information from HealthKit now will appear in health records for more than 80,000 patients. Several other hospitals, including the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and New Orleans-based Ochsner Health System, as well as Stanford University Hospital and Duke University, also integrate with HealthKit.


"This is just another set of data that we're confident our physicians will take into account as they make clinical and medical judgments," Dworkin said, who added that use of HealthKit will be a learning experience.


"We don't really, fully know and understand how patients will want to use this," he said.


Dworkin added that HealthKit will be available for all patients throughout the system to use as they choose. 


"The opt-out is just don't use it," he said.


At the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's mHealth Summit in the District of Columbia last December, Ochsner Chief Clinical Transformation Officer Richard Milani and Duke Medicine Director of Mobile Technology Ricky Bloomfield shared insight into their respective organizations' HealthKit integrations. Both facilities use Epic's patient portal, MyChart.


Milani said the amount of data patients could generate that could then go into their records was pretty small; he said about 50 to 60 discreet elements such as weight, sodium intake and blood pressure could be entered. Bloomfield, however, said that based on conversations with Apple healthcare executives, he expects that number to grow.

Bloomfield added that HealthKit integration will help to transform the use of EHRs for providers.


"This was finally something we could give them that would live up to the promise of what EHRs can provide, and what having access to this kind of data can provide," Bloomfield said at the Summit.


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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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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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The 3 S’s of Smartphone Shopping.

The 3 S’s of Smartphone Shopping. | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

What a difference a few years makes. It wasn’t long ago that healthcare CIOs declared they would never use smartphones for caregiver communication. Now, with smartphones proliferating throughout the nation’s hospitals as an effective clinical communication solution, many vendors are adding smartphone options to their product lines. If you’re attending HIMSS15in Chicago next week, you will undoubtedly see traditional communication vendors touting the benefits of their brand-new smartphone offerings.


The good news: It’s fairly easy to build a smartphone app using current development technologies. The bad news: It’s not so easy to build a solid smartphone platform that’s reliable in the healthcare environment and scalable enterprise-wide.

While vendors may present their smartphone solutions as tried and true, many have only a portion of their advertised functionality deployed in a real healthcare environment. And many of those deployments are small, one-unit pilot projects that haven’t been tested site-wide. As you assess the mobile communication solutions presented at HIMSS, take the time to ask probing questions to determine which vendor, products and services are right for your facility.

When it comes to a smartphone solution, ask if it’s scalable, sustainable and substantiated:

Is it scalable? A simple texting application is easy to demonstrate and simple to sell with a nicely designed PowerPoint presentation, but if it can’t scale to your needs, it’s not worth your time or financial investment. Ask vendors to refer you to major healthcare organizations that are successfully using the solution enterprise-wide.


According to a Forbes article, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles implemented a mobile communication solution unit by unit over the course of about three years. Today, smartphones have scaled to cover the entire the facility, with more than 4,500 caregivers and other staff sending hundreds of thousands of text messages via Voalte One every month.

2. Is it sustainable? The healthcare industry changes quickly. A communication solution that only answers today’s challenges and doesn’t build a solid foundation for a complete mobile communication platform may soon become obsolete. As you explore your options at HIMSS, be careful you don’t bank on a vendor who can handle only one of your overall communication needs, with promises to tackle the others later.

When Boulder Community Health in Colorado replaced legacy phones with smartphones last year, CIO Linda Minghella said text messaging was a big benefit to the staff, but made clear the ability to integrate with other technologies was an even bigger advantage. The hospital tied in the new smartphone solution to the nurse call system, for example, and according to a recent article, hopes to make the electronic medical record available via smartphones in the future.

When meeting with mobile communication vendors, ask if their smartphones can integrate with alert notifications from nurse call, patient monitoring or electronic medical record systems. Be sure these alerts are being delivered successfully to smartphones, rather than tying in with traditional legacy phones.

Also ask how they plan to support their smartphone solutions before and after go-live. Deploying and maintaining applications is time-intensive, and mobile device management requires a precise process to ensure your solution is secure. Be sure you sign up with a partner that can commit to a long-term relationship rather than a “one go-live stand.”

  1. Is it substantiated? With new solutions entering the market quickly, watch out for “vaporware” that’s in development, but not yet ready for prime time. Before entering into an agreement, ask for five or ten reference sites, and check them out thoroughly to ensure the smartphone solution fits your specific needs.

Your hospital is unique, and you need a smartphone solution that can be customized accordingly. By investigating the process other healthcare organizations used to implement smartphones, you can get a sense of the vendor’s expertise in those various areas.

 

You have some difficult choices to make when exploring mobile healthcare technologies. While an influx of companies and solutions will push the mHealth industry forward, it will also make it more challenging to decide how and where to spend your technology dollars. Come to HIMSS15 next week armed with some tough questions, stay focused on your goals, and don’t get blinded by the bright lights and displays that may be more flash than substance.


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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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Apple Research Kit is Open Source But Is It “Open”?

Apple Research Kit is Open Source But Is It “Open”? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

For now, the answer is “we don’t know”.

But… the question is very important and worth tracking over the coming months. Let’s not assume that open source will equate to “open”.

What is ResearchKit?

Apple’s press release provided an overview of ResearchKit:

Apple® today announced ResearchKit™, an open source software framework designed for medical and health research, helping doctors and scientists gather data more frequently and more accurately from participants using iPhone® apps. World-class research institutions have already developed apps with ResearchKit for studies on asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

…With hundreds of millions of iPhones in use around the world, we saw an opportunity for Apple to have an even greater impact by empowering people to participate in and contribute to medical research,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of Operations. “ResearchKit gives the scientific community access to a diverse, global population and more ways to collect data than ever before.”

Many members of the research community have had high praise for ResearchKit. For more details and perspectives about ResearchKit, see the list of articles appended at the bottom of this post.


While it might be surprising to some, Apple has long-embraced open source software. A ZDNet article described Steve Jobs as an “open source pioneer”.

Lessons From Google Android and It’s Control Points

Google Android OS has provided a lesson in how software can be open source but not very open.

When Android was released in 2007, it received many kudos for being open source software. For a few years the collective consciousness of the tech industry described Apple iOS as a walled garden and typically described Android as being a much more open alternative.

However, over time it’s become apparent that BOTH Android and iOS are walled gardens, albeit with different types of walls, in different locations, and having different levels of permeability.

Andreas Constantinou of Vision Mobile wrote about Android “control points”:

You thought Android was open? The Android governance model consists of an elaborate set of control points that allows Google to bundle its own services and control the exact software and hardware make-up on every handset.

He goes on to list and describe eight specific Android control points:

  1. Private branches
  2. Closed review process
  3. Speed of evolution
  4. Incomplete software
  5. Gated developer community
  6. Anti-fragmentation agreement
  7. Private roadmap
  8. Android trademark

What Are ResearchKit’s Control Points?

At the start, one of the biggest control points is that ResearchKit will only be available to people with iPhones. Philip Jones, MD notes that this raises many issues for researchers: selection bias, attrition bias, observer bias, big data.

So for now, if you use an Android, Windows or Blackberry phone (i.e., about 80% of us) you’re out of luck.

It’s not possible at this time to answer fully the question about control points. ResearchKit won’t be released until next month, so we don’t know many details. We’ll also need to see how the ResearchKit toolkit/software is received and adopted in the researcher, developer, and app user communities. Finally,  we’ll need not simply  to look at how ResearchKit stands as independent, discrete software — we’ll need to understand how it fits into the broader Apple business ecosystem, including HealthKit and iOS 8. All this will take some time to discern.

However, simply asking the question is important…and the purpose of this post is to sensitize you to the issue and get it on your radar for the future. Let’s keep our eyes open.


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saturat van's curator insight, March 13, 2015 2:49 AM
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