Tag Archives: mhealth

Can An mHealth Kit Improve Outcomes in Workers Comp Treatment?

Cedars-Sinai will be testing a digital pain reduction kit, which includes VR glasses and mHealth wearables, to see if mobile health technology can replace opioids for people recovering from workplace injuries.

 By Eric Wicklund

 – Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is participating in a study to determine whether an mHealth kit containing wearables and a pair of virtual reality glasses can help people suffering from work-related injuries recover more quickly and without the use of opioids.

patient in hospital wearing VR glasses for article, Can An mHealth Kit Improve Outcomes in Workers Comp Treatment?

Researchers at the Los Angeles hospital are partnering with Samsung Electronics America, Bayer, appliedVR and The Travelers Companies for the 16-mointh study, which will put the “digital pain-reduction kit” in the hands of between 90 and 140 participants.

“Workplace injuries that lead to chronic pain can cause ongoing issues, as an injured employee may mask pain with opioids or other drugs,” Dr. Melissa Burke, Travelers’ National Pharmacy Director, said in a press release. “

Identifying new, non-pharmacologic alternatives for pain reduction  can help an injured employee avoid chronic pain, lower the chances that they will develop a dangerous opioid addiction and reduce medical costs.”

Led by Brennan Spiegel, MD, MSHS, Director of Health Services Research for Cedars-Sinai and a professor of medicine and public health at UCLA, Cedars-Sinai has been one of the leadersin studying the application of virtual reality tools and other mHealth devices in healthcare, focusing particularly on digital therapeutics.

Continue reading Can An mHealth Kit Improve Outcomes in Workers Comp Treatment?

Online Tools Help People Improve Their Health …

… But Need More Study

By Madeline Kennedy

grid of health app icons(Reuters Health) – Mobile apps and web-based programs do help people reach health goals like exercising more, losing weight and quitting smoking, but studies need to follow-up longer to see how sustainable these interventions are, according to a recent review of existing research.

Lifestyle choices like poor diet and smoking are a major cause of death and disease worldwide, the researchers write in the Journal of the American Heart Association, and digital tools may be a low-cost and more accessible option for people looking to improve their health.

“Our results suggest internet-based and mobile-based interventions can be effective tools for behavioral modification,” said lead author Dr. Ashkan Afshin, the Assistant Professor of Global Health at the University of Washington in Seattle.

“We also found these programs were more effective if they included some interactions with healthcare providers,” Afshin added by email.
Continue reading Online Tools Help People Improve Their Health …

Stroke App Helps Patients Speak Again Using iPad-Based Language Therapy

Brian Chau, MD | April 14, 2016

app for helping stoke patients speak againFrom the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Cambridge comes a new study on iPad speech therapy for patient’s with chronic aphasia resulting from a stroke. It follows other studies we’ve covered using gamification apps in stroke care.

The road to recovery after a stroke can be tough in part because the effects of the stroke often manifest in ways that have a profound impact on day to day life. While the ubiquity and accessibility mobile technology & apps make them appealing platforms through which to deliver support and therapy, the quality of stroke apps on the market now leaves much to be desired. Clearly there is a need for more validated stroke apps.

In this study, researchers recruited patients who were at least 1-year post left MCA stroke, with English as their first-language, and expressive (Broca’s) aphasia from a 200-patient sample at the Addenbrookes Hospital stroke service in the UK. Continue reading Stroke App Helps Patients Speak Again Using iPad-Based Language Therapy

Workplace mHealth Program Shows Improvement In Step Count, Weight Loss

Satish Misra, MD | April 6, 2016

imagesA new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) has shown that a team-based workplace mHealth challenge using pedometers and online tools can get people moving more and help them lose weight.

Sedentary lifestyles, particularly in the United States, are a big contributor to a variety of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. There’s a lot of enthusiasm around using mobile technology to help get people moving more, highlighted in a recent scientific statement from the American Heart Association. And the data is starting to catch up with that enthusiasm.

The mActive study recently showed improvements in step counts with an intervention using adaptive, personalized text messaging paired with a connected pedometer.

This study looked at Stepathlon, a workplace mHealth program that gives employees pedometers, gets them together in teams, and sets up a 100-day competition to increase activity and step counts. Participants came from nearly 500 employers in 64 countries, the majority of whom were from low and middle income countries. Using a website or a mobile app, participants could track the leaderboard, access personalized tools for self monitoring, and get health & fitness tips. Continue reading Workplace mHealth Program Shows Improvement In Step Count, Weight Loss

Free App Helps Reduce Alcohol Intoxication

An innovative health app from U of Michigan

Iltifat Husain, MD |March 14, 2016

U of Michigan’s innovative health app helps reduce alcohol intoxicationStay in the Blue is a health app from the University of Michigan with the goal of keeping your blood alcohol content at 0.06 or below. The Michigan app refers to this zone as “Staying in the Blue”. The Stay in the Blue app feels 0.06 or below blood alcohol content (BAC) helps students keep their drinking at lower risk levels.

The Stay in the Blue health app is packed full of interesting features — the main one being the blood alcohol content calculator. The BAC calculator uses your gender and weight, combined with the type of alcoholic drink you are consuming, to estimate your blood alcohol level. Your blood alcohol level changes over time as your body processes the alcohol in your system and the Stay in the Blue app emphasizes this in the app by keeping track of this.

The Stay in the Blue app gives you real time blood alcohol levels but emphasizes that these are estimations, and not absolute. You would obviously need a blood draw or breathalyzer to get exact amounts.

There are other key features included in the health app:
• Call a Cab: Using your GPS location the Stay in the Blue app will call a cab (gives you an option to Uber as well)
• Detailed tracking — you can keep track of “sessions”. For example, you can trend how often you have been able to keep yourself “In the Blue”.
• Resources: A list of key resources for U of M students.
• Events: A list of calendar events happening at U of M.


Text Messaging Benefits Medication Adherence

Brian Chau, MD |March 11, 2016

Doctor texting on tablet ipadIt’s easy to miss a few doses of medications, even when you’re taking just one or two. Imagine the complexity involved with a whole litany of daily medications, all at varying times and in different regimens throughout the day.

The World Health Organizations has estimated roughly 50% of all medication is not taken as prescribed. It’s no surprise that medication adherence is a real barrier to when it comes to improving health. With the growth of digital health, there has been a lot of interest in using technology like apps & text messaging in medication adherence programs.

A recent meta-analysis published in JAMA Internal Medicine investigated the role of using text messaging for medication adherence.
This meta-analysis reviewed 16 randomized controlled trials with over 3000 total patients. 2-way communication (between provider and patient), and daily messages were seen in the majority of trials. They performed a pooled analysis of The authors found that text messaging significantly improved adherence with an odds ratio of 2.11 (95% CI, 1.52-2.93; P < .001). Interestingly, text-messaging characteristics did not appear to alter the behavior (i.e. personalized, 2-way communication, etc).


Harvard, IBM Watson, and GenieMD Launch Pilot App for Patients

Paul Cerrato |February 16, 2016

IBM Watson app for patientsHarvard Health Info is a medical app that’s part of a pilot program between GenieMD, Harvard Medical School, IBM, and Anthem Blue Cross.

The medical app offers patients a symptom checker, medical reminder, ability to ask IBM’s Watson health questions, and more.

The GenieMD mobile platform includes several pillars for patients to tap into: A care team, personal health records (PHRs), medication adherence, vital sign tracking by means of smart devices, the IBM Watson computing engine to answer common health questions, and the aforementioned symptom checker. The care team component fosters care coordination by allowing family and health professionals to manage a patient’s medical needs.

The GenieMD web site further explains that “In addition to having access to the care recipient’s health information, a care recipient or caretaker can also send requests to other team members as well as being able to more easily communicate with a care team by using the moments option.”

The PHRs let patients keep track of their medications, allergies, disorders, family history, vital signs, and exercise. In-depth educational materials are provided through licensed content from Up-To-Date, the well-respected clinical decision support tool used by many clinicians. With access to the IBM computer, patients can ask their smartphone questions and get answers to questions like “What are the symptoms of a stroke?”


59% of Large Employers Expected to Offer Telemedicine in 2015

By Safety National










At the 2015 Workers’Compensation Educational Conference in
Orlando, a panel discussed telemedicine and its potential application in the workers’ compensation space.

The panel consisted of: Bill Lewis, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Concentra Medical Centers, Steve Shaya, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Health Net Connect, Sri Mummaneni, M.D., Chief Health Officer, Opus Telehealth

Telemedicine is being utilized more and more in healthcare models throughout the United States:

  • 59% of large employers are expected to offer telemedicine in 2015
  • Many national health plans offer telemedicine to employers
  • The VA and Department of Defense have adopted telemedicine.
  • 43 Medicaid programs currently reimburse some forms of telemedicine services

In spite of this, workers’ compensation has been a slow adopter of telemedicine.

Are we addressing patient needs?

  • 37% of rural patients do not have easy access to medical care, which is something telemedicine helps to resolve.
  • Telemedicine would also allow a primary physician to immediately consult with an specialist during the appointment. This would significantly speed up treatment delivery to the patient.
  • Consumers are gaining awareness with telehealth and mHealth options and have interest in using them for individual health and as a means for their health providers to have up-to-the-minute updates on their health status.
  • Chronic disease management is increasingly reliant on telehealth tools to engage the patient and provider.

How can we enhance relationship with key stakeholders?


Era of Mobile Health Tracking Definitively Arrives …

Samsung S4 with stethoscopeSamsung Galaxy S4 & Accessories Focuses on mHealth

by Iltifat Husain, MD

The Galaxy S3 is the most popular Android smartphone on the planet. Their followup to the S3, appropriately dubbed the S4, was announced yesterday. Although the form factor has largely stayed the same, there are significant upgrades to the phone’s overall specs.

In addition to the announcement of the phone — Samsung also announced three key health device accessories that will launch with their feature phone.

We won’t get into the nitty gritty of the S4′s processor and some of their gimmicky software features  – but it’s important to note Samsung’s S4 will have a built in pedometer for tracking the number of steps you take.  This is notable as Samsung’s S4 will be the most popular feature phone with a native health tracking feature.

Sensors in the phone also enable it to measure ambient temperatures and humidity in the room you’re in.  This data feeds into Samsung’s S Health app.  I must admit, I have a difficult time appreciating what your surrounding temperature and humidity have to do with health fitness.

Samsung’s S Health app is a native app the phone comes with — enabling you to input the calories you consume in a day and a slew of other fitness metrics.

Samsung is also releasing three key external accessories — the S band, Body Scale, and Heart Rate Monitor.  For the S Band — think Jawbone.  For the Body Scale think of the already released Withing Wi-Fi Scale. For the Heart Rate monitor, think of the Wahoo Fitness HR monitor.

Why does this all matter?

All of these peripherals have a “been there, done that” feel. But Samsung’s foray into the accessory market is tremendous.  It shows the age of mobile health devices has arrived. Furthermore, Samsung has a knack of taking something that’s been done — and optimizing and mass producing it with wide consumer adoption.

They are applying this same model to mHealth.

When a company that had over $180 billion in net revenue (more than Apple) for 2012 decides to seriously get into mobile health devices, it’s safe to say the age of mobile tracking has definitely arrived.

For a Physician’s guide on the best self tracking devices, check out a compilation review done by one of our writers.