Tag Archives: smartphone

90% of Americans use digital health tools, survey shows

Author:  Aug. 29, 2018

Dive Brief:
Consumers continue to embrace digital health tools, with 90% of respondents in a new Rock Health survey using at least one last year, up from 80% in 2016.
photo of person with a smart watch, smart phone and health apps for article, 90% of Americans use digital health tools, survey showsThe greatest adoption is occurring around online health information (79% vs. 72%) and online provider reviews (58% vs. 51%). A slower uptick was seen in mobile tracking (24% vs. 22%), while wearables held steady at 24% and live video televisits slipped three percentage points to 19%.
But while 77% of people prefer in-person doctor visits to telehealth, most who used video visits were satisfied with the experience. Among those who paid for their virtual encounter, 91% said they were satisfied. That number dropped to 62% when someone else paid.

Dive Insight:
Likewise, while not everyone is jumping at the idea of wearables, those who use them report progress meeting personal health goals. The chief reasons people use wearables are to track physical activity, lose weight, improve sleep and manage stress.

The tools for doing so are proliferating, with mobile operating systems and various apps offering to track the information. Fitibit has been upping the ante, and recently launched a product line update that includes detection of blood oxygen levels, goal-based exercise modes and a sleep tracking beta.


Easy-to-Use App Eliminates the Scary Feeling of Looking Up Your Health Symptoms Online

photo of Avery Harmans Avery Hartmans   May 2, 2017

We’ve all had the horrifying moment of looking up a health symptom and receiving a horrifying — but probably fake — diagnosis in return.

That’s the scenario the Buoy app is trying to avoid.

Buoy app screenshotThe iPhone app was founded by a team of doctors from Harvard Medical School and uses artificial intelligence to simulate a conversation with a doctor. By asking a series of questions and ruling out possibilities as it goes, Buoy says it provides a more accurate diagnosis than just typing a series of symptoms into Google. Most importantly, Buoy will never tell you you have cancer.

CEO Andrew Le has been working on the app since 2014 and it launched in March. He told Boston Magazine that in a test of 500 patients in the waiting room of a hospital, the app provided the same diagnosis as a real doctor 90% of the time.

The app is free and works much like a text message chat between two people. Here’s how to use it.

How Technology Is Changing Workers’ Compensation

By Denise Johnson | February 22, 2017

tech trends in workers' compensationNew technologies are improving workers’ compensation programs in everything from communications and training to health care delivery and claims, according to experts.

Tom Ryan, market research leader for Marsh’s Workers Compensation Center of Excellence, speaking during a recent Marsh broadcast, identified several areas of workers’ compensation that can benefit from technology:

•   In communications with employees. Information critical to prevent injuries and claim updates can be provided to employees via smartphone mobile applications.
•   In sharing workforce training via an employer’s intranet or through smartphone applications.
•   In delivering care to injured workers through telemedicine and via mobile apps that can direct injured workers to preferred medical providers.
•   In managing claims by providing customizable email alerts, such as notifications when prescriptions are ready.

Wearable technology is also having an impact. Wearables can monitor employee movements and alert co-workers of danger, as well as monitor fatigue, body temperature and repetitive motion. The information can be used in training, fraud prevention and wellness programs, Ryan said.
wearble technology, injury prevention, incident reporting, workforce training, smartphone, apps, telemedicine
Construction industry wearables include high tech vests and helmets that have lights or vibrate to alert employees of potentially dangerous changes in surroundings.
The use of telemedicine has resulted in higher network penetration, lower claims severity and lower claims costs at Bank of America.


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.


Concussion Coach App

Concussion Coach App As A Useful Educational Tool for PatientsA Useful Educational Tool for Patients, With Some Caveats

Brian Chau, MD | February 15, 2017

We recently covered the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Mobile App Store, which includes apps for both providers and patients.

One of the most intriguing apps listed on this store is the Concussion Coach. Designed to help educate users on concussion symptom management and education, in addition to providing support resources, the app is primarily geared towards patients. The app was developed through a multi-disciplinary team including the VA’s Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Services, National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Department of Defense National Center for Telehealth and Technology.

Of note, the term “concussion” is used throughout the app to refer to all types of brain injury. The app itself is geared towards those who have experienced a mild to moderate traumatic brain injury. The American Congress of Rehabilitation (1995) has defined mild traumatic brain injuries to be the same as a concussion, with specific criteria for such. There are a variety of other brain injury scales available in addition, including the American Academy of Neurology Guidelines, Cantu Guidelines, and Colorado Medical Society Guidelines that provide more specifics on the grading (mild, moderate, and severe) for traumatic brain injuries.


Currently, Concussion Coach is only available for iOS devices (5.0 or later), and is free. At the time of release (2013), a promised Android version was in the works. However, there has been no update since and no release for Android. I have attempted to contact the team behind Concussion Coach for clarification on the lack of an Android version but haven’t heard back. MeriTalk recently reported on concerns about the funding behind some of the VA apps, and it’s unknown if this will will affect Concussion Coach.


Concussion Coach is subdivided into 5 key sections: Learn (concussion 101, symptoms, treatment, types of associated headaches, sleep, cognitive symptoms, anxiety, and irritability), Self-Assessment (symptom tracking), Manage the Moment (selection of coping tools and symptom management options), Build Resilience (Wellness journal, goal recording), and Resources and Support (Both VA and outside resources for patients). In addition, at startup, users can elect to be screened to determine if they may have experienced a concussion in the past.


iPrescribe Exercise – Free App Combats Sedentary Lifestyle

Douglas Maurer, DO/MPH/FAAFP | October 12, 2016

iPrescribe Exercise: Helping Your Patients Meet Recommended Fitness GoalsAs of 2014, there were over 165,000 health apps available for download in the iOS and Android app stores (duplicates excluded).

There are over 500 million people using them—1 in 3 patients seen in primary care. This explosion of health apps has created an entire cottage industry that is projected to pull in over $8 billion by 2018.

But few apps for health are evidence based and less than 1% are FDA regulated. A 2016 study by the Commonwealth Fund performed a systematic review of 946 iOS apps and 1,173 Android apps and evaluated them on their merits regarding patient engagement. Of the apps that met the reviewers inclusion criteria, only 161 (43%) of iOS apps and 152 (27%) of Android apps were assessed as “possibly useful”, of which 126 apps existed on both platforms. A 2015 systematic scoping review of 457 articles and 800 apps for weight loss found that only 28 met inclusion criteria for quality and behavior change principles. Continue reading iPrescribe Exercise – Free App Combats Sedentary Lifestyle

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?”


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.