Tag Archives: Android

New blood pressure app

September 7, 2018
Source: Michigan State University

Summary: Researchers have invented a proof-of-concept blood pressure app that can give accurate readings using an iPhone — with no special equipment.Michigan State University has invented a proof-of-concept blood pressure app that can give accurate readings using an iPhone — with no special equipment.

smartphone app screen for article, New blood pressure appThe discovery, featured in the current issue of Scientific Reports, was made by a team of scientists led by Ramakrishna Mukkamala, MSU electrical and computer engineering professor.

“By leveraging optical and force sensors already in smartphones for taking ‘selfies’ and employing ‘peek and pop,’ we’ve invented a practical tool to keep tabs on blood pressure,” he said. “Such ubiquitous blood pressure monitoring may improve hypertension awareness and control rates, and thereby help reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and mortality.”

In a publication in Science Translational Medicine earlier this year, Mukkamala’s team had proposed the concept with the invention of a blood pressure app and hardware. With the combination of a smartphone and add-on optical and force sensors, the team produced a device that rivaled arm-cuff readings, the standard in most medical settings.

With advances in smartphones, the add-on optical and force sensors may no longer be needed. Peek and pop, available to users looking to open functions and apps with a simple push of their finger, is now standard on many iPhones and included in some Android models.

If things keep moving along at the current pace, an app could be available in late 2019, Mukkamala added.

“Like our original device, the application still needs to be validated in a standard regulatory test,” he said. “But because no additional hardware is needed, we believe that the app could reach society faster.”


Researchers Sound The Alarm On Privacy Policies For Medical Apps

Health apps and privacy policiesHealth apps are integrated into most of our lives. With sensors and user-generated input we can track our steps, fertility cycles, manage chronic conditions, and even find affordable medication. But do you know what the privacy policy is? According to a study by AV-Test, an independent cybersecurity firm based in Magdeburg, Germany, most are not.

In most countries, it’s a legal duty to let the end-user know how any data gleaned is used. Their report found that:

“Of the 60 Android applications examined, a mere 32 offered a direct link from Google’s Play Store to a privacy policy. However, only 22 were available via the link, ten apps led the user nowhere or rather onto orphaned websites. Only 19 out of 60 apps provided a privacy policy directly related to the application evaluated. For 53 out of 60 apps, the existing privacy policy dated back to the year 2014 or even earlier – or there was no information as to when the policy was valid.”

The study also warned about the dangers of clicking “allow,” including giving apps unmitigated access to cameras, microphones, even data from other apps like Facebook.

This problem isn’t just for medical apps, subscription email management platform Unroll.me recently got some very negative press for selling user’s email data to Uber and privacy policies in general are getting a significantly amount of scrutiny lately.


New Smartphone Apps Help Reinforce Workplace Safety, Train Teen Workers

They had me at training a teen!

By WorkersCompensation.com  February 23, 2017

Workplace Safety app for iOS and Android
   There’s a YouTube video that shows how to use the app.

Tumwater, WA – Improving workplace safety just got easier with two new free apps available from the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). They were developed with grant money awarded by L&I’s Safety and Health Investment Projects (SHIP) Program. Both can be downloaded for IOS or Android devices.

The SHIP Program funds innovative projects that prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities and help injured workers return to work.

“We hope all employers will give these apps a try,” said Jenifer Jellison, program manager for L&I’s SHIP grant program. “They’re convenient, easy to use in the workplace, and offer a great new way to prevent injuries and reinforce safe work practices.”

Capture and report safety incidents instantly

The Good Observation, Near-Miss and Accident Reporting app provides a simple and effective way to document safety incidents in the workplace. Employers can use it to photograph a safe practice, a near-miss or an accident, and then use the finger-drawing tool to markup the photo. A quick-report feature lets you save the photo, add a few details and send to others in your organization.

This new workplace safety tool was developed by three companies working together — John W. Shervey & Associates, Schuchart Construction and Mellora — using a $45,735 SHIP grant.

The app is suitable for most industries and can be used for training, hazard recognition, risk analysis or process improvement. There’s also a Spanish version, and there’s a YouTube video that shows how to use the app. Download the app at WA-HSEQ app.


Antimicrobial Companion App: Promotes Antibiotic Stewardship

Douglas Maurer, DO/MPH/FAAFP | August 29, 2016

anti bacaterial helper app for prescribing physiciansAntibiotic resistance is a growing problem. According to the CDC, over 2 million each year becomes infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Over 23,000 of these people die of their infections due to the lack of an effective antimicrobial.

We have recently seen the discovery of so-called “superbugs” such as colistin-resistant E. coli in multiple facilities across the United States that makes methicillin-resistant Staph aureus look like a harmless fly. Multiple studies have shown that antibiotic

overprescribing is a common problem in primary care, where over 90% of antibiotics are prescribed. In the US, the CDC is leading the charge promoting antibiotic stewardship. The CDC has launched numerous online tools as part of a playbook of core elements to combat antimicrobial resistance. The Joint Commission is evaluating hospitals on their antibiotic stewardship programs as part of their accreditation processes. Continue reading Antimicrobial Companion App: Promotes Antibiotic Stewardship

Do Team Based Health Apps Improve Compliance & Impact?

1. What was the motivation behind your study?
The motivation of our study was to explore and characterize the individuals’ engagement with and use of new team-based mHealth application to promote healthy eating and exercise behaviors in individuals.

team-based health apps
There’s no “I (phone)” in TEAM

2. Describe your study.
In this study, we specifically aimed to study the effect of team-based use of the app on adherence and completion of health goals compared to that of solo use of the app.

Grounded in social cognitive theory, we hypothesized that individuals receiving team-based intervention would show higher compliance with healthy behaviors promoted by the app. In addition, in order to control for the effect of the mode of delivery of the health behavioral intervention content, we studied participants who received the same intervention as the mobile app in the form of ePaper documents.

3. What were the results of the study?
Participants in the team-based mhealth intervention group showed greater engagement and compliance to the health behavior change goals for healthy eating and exercise. However, participants did not show any changes in behavioral outcomes such as eating behavioral patterns, and overall physical activity levels post-intervention as compared to pre-intervention. We believe this was due to the short 8-week duration of the health behavioral intervention that was studied in this initial feasibility study.

4. What is the main point that readers should take away from this study?
Participants in the team-based mhealth intervention group showed greater engagement and compliance to the health behavior change goals for healthy eating and exercise.

5. What was the most surprising finding from your study?
When we probed participants to compare the differences in compliance self-report between participants in the ePaper and mobile app conditions, we found that participants in the mobile app group indicated greater accuracy and confidence in self-reporting, along with self-reports in greater temporal proximity to actual health goal completion. It suggests that mobile diaries may prove to be a better tool for individuals to self-monitor and track their health behaviors more accurately over longer periods of time.


7 Best FDA Approved Health Apps

By Damian McNamara

Star Trek Tricorder vs. iPad QuantumAs the mobile health industry continues to rapidly expand with no signs of slowing down, FDA regulation of health apps has evolved too.

Today, there are more than 100,000 mobile health apps on the market for Apple and android devices, with mobile health revenues projected to jump to $26 billion by 2017, according to Mobile Health Economics.

In February 2015, the FDA announced plans to review mobile medical apps that interpret data and act like medical devices.
(We include examples of companies the FDA warned about this at the end of this post.)

The agency is basically making a call on the safety and effectiveness of certain apps. “Some mobile apps carry minimal risks to consumer or patients, but others can carry significant risks if they do not operate correctly. The FDA’s tailored policy protects patients while encouraging innovation,” said Jeffrey Shuren, M.D., J.D., Director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, in a statement.

The agency does not intend to regulate apps that track a person’s daily steps, enable patients to refill prescriptions or search medical references. Nor will they oversee the mobile devices, such as iPhones and tablets, which can run medical apps.

It’s important to know which apps are worth your precious time and money. Therefore, PYP updated our popular 2013 list of the best FDA approved health apps and devices:

AirStrip ONE

AirStrip ONE evolved from a diagnostic aid that delivers patient data from medical devices, electronic medical records and patient monitors to clinicians – to a platform that enables mobile interoperability. AirStrip Technologies’ platform intends to connect clinicians with patient data and with other providers to share data and promote care collaboration.

Mobile ECG turns your smartphone into an electrocardiogram by snapping on the back of an iPhone. To take cardiac measurements, a person presses the device against the skin over the heart. A new feature allows people to keep a digital journal and track their symptoms, activity and diet.

Diabetes Manager

This device captures blood-glucose information and transmits it in real-time. WellDoc’s system offers a personalized coach to help patients manage their medication and treatment. WellDoc now calls its device BlueStar, and offers a commercial model that also engages a healthcare team in the management of type 2 diabetes.


Top 10 Apps Physicians Recommend to Their Patients

From: Modern Medicine Network

screen shot of iTriage app1.  iTriage – Health, Doctor, Symptoms, and Healthcare Search: Patients now have access to an endless amount of health information right in their pockets. This app allows them to check their symptoms and easily locate a physician or hospital in the event of an emergency.

2.  Diabetes App – Blood Sugar Control, Glucose Tracker, and Carb Counter: Outside of the physician’s office, patients with diabetes often struggle to monitor their condition. This app provides a food database for patients to track their consumption. It also allows physicians to monitor any fluctuations. The price is $6.99, but a lite version is available for free.  

3.  iCookbook Diabetic – Recipes and nutritional information plus health articles for people with diabetes: When it comes to cooking healthy, patients may need some inspiration. Developed by dietitians, this app provides diabetic-friendly recipes, as well as tools for meal planning and grocery shopping.

4.  Diabetes in Check

5.  Glucose Companion

6.  Blood Pressure Monitor – Family Lite

7.  HeartWise Blood Pressure Tracker

8.  Mayo Clinic Health Community

9.  Tummy Trends – Constipation and Irritable Bowel Syndrome Tracker

10.  iCalcRisk


Mobile Apps Reduce Readmissions

July 15, 2015 | Sherree Geyer – Contributing writerRevolving door of hospital readmissions cartoon

POSTED IN: Mobile, Quality and Safety, Financial/Revenue Cycle Management, Patient Engagement, Population Health

Cynthia Deyling, MD, chief quality officer at Cleveland Clinic, sees burgeoning use of mobile technology at the health system.

While emphasizing that, of course, “some readmissions are clinically appropriate and necessary,” Deyling says Cleveland Clinic, like so many other hospitals and health systems these days, is putting a focus on “reducing preventable readmissions through improved patient education, follow up, communication and care coordination.”

Smartphones are playing a big part in helping them get there.

“We have apps in development that will support access by allowing patients to quickly identify local Cleveland Clinic resources, including on-demand scheduling,” she says. “Other tools, including apps that promote patient wellness and chronic disease management, are also in use.”

A 2014 study from the Mayo Clinic showed that patients who used smartphone apps to record weight and blood pressure – and participated in cardiac rehab – lowered cardiovascular risk factors and 90-day readmissions. According to the study, 20 percent of the app-user patients experienced readmission compared to 60 percent of patients who completed rehab only.

Another mobile technology survey from HIMSS this year suggests “healthcare organizations are widely beginning to deploy mobile technologies with the aim of engaging patients.” Use of mobile technology continues to interest providers as a way to meet requirements for meaningful use and Medicare reimbursement requirements, the study shows.

Andrey Ostrovsky, MD, CEO of Boston-based Care at Hand, developer of an app-based care coordination system, says the move toward value-based payments drives efficient use of affordable, accessible technologies, such as mobile apps.

“Our company wouldn’t exist if not for Affordable Care Act,” he says.

Indeed, the rise in mHealth technologies correlates with ACA’s plan to to reduce preventable, excessive readmissions with cuts to the Inpatient Prospective Payment System in 2012. Medicare spends more than $17 billion annually on avoidable readmissions with penalties that total up to 3 percent of inpatient claims for 30-day readmissions.


The #1 doctor in the world is Dr. Wikipedia

Zehn Jahre Mitmachlexikon WikipediaWikipedia is the leading single source of healthcare information for patients and providers, according to a report on online engagement by IMS Health. According to the study, 50% of surveyed physicians who use the internet have consulted Wikipedia for information—especially on specific conditions. That may explain another finding: That more serious, less common diseases are actually the most frequently searched for by English-speaking Wikipedia users.Top-25-health-related-Wikipedia-articles-in-2013-Millions-of-page-views_chartbuilder

While Tuberculosis isn’t rare—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 3.2 cases per 100,000 in the US in 2012, and UK agencies reported 13.9 per 100,000—it’s certainly not the most common health concern of the average English-speaking internet user. Acne, for example, was 100th in the list for the year, drawing only 1.3 million page visits—and affects 80-90% of all teenagers. The higher searches for more serious, less common ailments, the authors suggest, could be because those are the ones that patients are less likely to have first-hand knowledge of. In other words, if acne is bothering you, you’ve probably got a few friends (and, hopefully, a dermatologist) who knows what’s what. If you find yourself in need of a Tuberculosis test or experiencing symptoms of Gout, you might be a bit more lost.

By looking at trends in drug sales—both for new prescriptions, and for continuing patients—the authors of the report also found indications that people use Wikipedia to get informed about their drug and treatment regimens. But just when they decide to do their research could depend on age: Young patients—those around 39, and younger—tended to research illnesses and drugs on Wikipedia before they started a course of treatment. Patients a decade older were likely to search their treatment right around when it was prescribed. By around age 54, though, patients were looking up their prescriptions well after they were first prescribed. The authors of the report believe this may be because of family members and caregivers searching on the behalf of the elderly, once they become aware of the patient’s new treatment or side effects it may be causing. Younger patients, this data suggests, may be more likely to weigh possible treatment options based on information found online.

The Next Frontier, Attaching Health Sensors Directly To Your Smartphone

by Timothy Aungst, PharmD

physician using iPad

A month ago I saw a video on YouTube about creating modular smartphones, created by Phonebloks. Phoneblok puts forth their idea that such a product could reduce waste, and allow highly customizable products for smartphone users who utilize their phone for different purposes. In essence, this platform moves beyond a modifiable user interface that focuses on apps, and focuses on a system with modifiable hardware to supplement those apps.

While the premise was interesting, I did not give it much thought due to the fact I could not envision any smartphone developer investing into such a product. Needless to say, I was wrong since Motorola has announced it will be creating modular smartphones with its Project Ara. Motorola’s idea is to create an endoskeleton that will provide the key components of a phone with modules that may be attached.

Such a modifiable phone would allow users to create a phone that will be tailored to their primary user preferences. For instance, someone who may like to take pictures with their phone could invest into a better camera module and more storage to keep the pictures.

However, I see such a development as the next step in creating a smartphone that can serve patients and the medical community to a greater extent than currently available. While many have recognized that smartphones are changing healthcare, it has–until this point–relied on the ingrained apps available or peripheral accessories that work with a phone.

A modular phone could, in essence, make it possible to completely remove those peripheral devices reliance on indirect connections and be directly incorporated into the phone itself. For example, I have created a mockup of a modular piece that could measure EKG’s. Taking, for example, the currently available product AliveCor, it could be transformed into a module that could directly connect to the phone, therefore bypassing the need of an external battery source and feeding data directlyinto the phone itself.

Continue reading The Next Frontier, Attaching Health Sensors Directly To Your Smartphone