FDA issues Guidance on Mobile Medical Apps

FDA LogoWASHINGTON – Sept. 24, 2013 – The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) is encouraged by the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) release of guidance on mobile medical apps.
[Modern Health Talk is encouraged too.]

“The FDA has chosen wisely to target its strict regulatory efforts on mobile applications that could pose a significant risk to consumers if used improperly.” said Jonathan Linkous, chief executive officer of ATA. “Their regulation will help reassure patients and consumers that mobile health applications are not only convenient, but safe.”

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Defining Digital Health

Science & Technology Convergence

What’s Digital Health?

According to Paul Sonnier, Head of Digital Health Strategy at Popper and Company, “Digital Health is the convergence of the digital and genetics revolutions with health and healthcare. He sees digital health as empowering us to better track, manage, and improve our own and our family’s health. It’s also helping to reduce inefficiencies in healthcare delivery, improve access, reduce costs, increase quality, and make medicine more personalized and precise.” Read More …

Moore’s Law and The FUTURE of Healthcare

By Wayne Caswell, Founder of Modern Health Talk
Which Future

This article examines a future driven by Moore’s Law and the trend of circuits and components getting smaller, faster and cheaper exponentially over time and the eventual blending of science and technology (INFO + BIO + NANO + NEURO). I approach this topic from the unique perspective of an IBM technologist, market strategist, futurist, and consumer advocate. See About the Author and About Modern Health, below, to better understand what shaped this view of the future. You can also see my slide presentation and related articles & infographics at the bottom.

Which Future?

Futurists regularly consider alternative scenarios and examine factors that can steer the future in one direction or another. That way, clients can select a preferred version of the future and know what they might do to make that future happen.

It’s relatively easy to extrapolate past trends, assuming that nothing prevents those trends from continuing at the same rate, but will they? One can also look at what’s possible by tracking research lab activity and then estimating how long it will take to bring those new technologies to market.

But a potentially better approach is to start with a solid understanding of market NEEDS and what drives the development of solutions for them, or factors that inhibit solutions. Changes in politics and public policy, for example, can be a huge driver, with Obamacare as an example, or a huge inhibitor. That’s why I’m so interested in various healthcare reforms that accompany tech innovation. Read More …

The Digital Diagnosis

The Digital DiagnosisAs shown in the infographic below, digital devices with access to the Internet are redefining healthcare and driving a revolution in its delivery systems.

FIRST is the wealth of medical information available online and the tools to find and make sense of it. This helps medical professionals and patients alike, and consumers can now take more responsibility for their own wellness. Realizing they have a greater stake in the game than their physician, they’re regularly engaging in online conversations using social media or searching online websites like WebMD, PatientsLikeMe and mHealthTalk for healthcare information.

NEXT is mobility, with smartphones, tablet computers, and Read More …

Apple promotes Accessibility Apps

Deaf FaceTime blockedType on your touchscreen with braille. Hear what your camera sees. Learn to sign.

Apple products are already simple, intuitive, and easy to use. They also have accessibility features built in – for people with special needs. And with third party assistive technologies, Apple helps even more people do more in more ways. Learn about the company’s accessibility features in OS X (for Mac) and iOS (for iPhone, iPad & iPod touch).

This article highlights some of the third party apps that Apple is promoting and concludes with a short list of related articles on mHealthTalk.

Vision

BrailleTouch lets you type using braille right on your iPhone or iPod touch screen. Use a unique split keyboard based on the traditional six-key braille keyboard, and type text messages and email more quickly and accurately. Read More …

I-Limb: Bionic hand controlled by iPhone app

CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta shows you the latest in prosthetic technology: bionic hands controlled from an iPhone app. (from YouTube)

 

Related Articles

WanderID – a new identification service

WanderID face matching technologyWanderID is a new service that uses biometric face matching software to give you peace of mind, knowing  that your loved one can be easily identified if they wander away or get lost.

You register and upload photos of a loved one to the WanderID website. If they then get lost, a police officer or EMT could use their smart phone to take a picture and search the company’s database. That’s when the service matches their photo with ones you uploaded, so you can get reconnected with loved one. It works just as well for small children or seniors with dementia. Read More …

The Internet of Things: Prediction

The Internet of Things

Le Web Paris (see video) explores a future of technology that connects everyday devices all the time, often described as The Internet of Things.

This story and video from Reuters and the Huffington Post form the basis of my own observations and developer recommendations as a 30-year IBM technologist, futurist and Digital Home consultant. Included at the end are four interesting infographics from Cisco, Intel, Casaleggio Associati, and Beecham Research. Read More …

The Smartphone Physical: Checkup of the Future?

AliveCor Heart MonitorBased almost entirely on an article by Stacy Lu,
Freelance Writer and TEDMED.com Blog Editor

Imagine a comprehensive, clinically relevant well-patient checkup using only smartphone-based devices. The data is immediately readable and fully uploadable to an electronic health record. The patient understands — and even participates — in the interaction far beyond faking a cough and gulping a deep breath. For real?

Johns Hopkins medical student and Medgadgeteditor Shiv Gaglani says it is not only possible, but may in fact be the checkup of the future. Gaglani and a team of current and future physicians will do a first-of-its kind demo of a “smartphone physical” for hundreds of attendees at TEDMED 2013 on April 16 to 19 in Washington, D.C.

The checkup will capture quantitative and qualitative data, ranging from simple readings of weight and blood pressure to more complex readings such as heart rhythm strips and optic discs. Measurements and instruments will include: Read More …

Under Skin Blood Test Sends Lab Results to Phone

Under-skin Lab-on-a-Chip has 7 sensors to detect blood compoundsSwiss researchers have unveiled a prototype “lab on a chip” that is surgically implanted in the interstitial tissue just beneath the skin, where it analyzes compounds in the blood, and sends results to a phone or tablet through wireless radio connections.

How does it work? The microchip has seven chemical & molecular sensors and gets inductive power from a patch worn on top of the skin. Every 10 minutes the collected data is sent through the patch and a Bluetooth connection to a patient or doctor via smartphone or tablet.

Although the device will not be widely available for at least a few years, its potential practical applications are widespread and include:

  • Glucose monitoring in diabetics, more frequently and without a finger prick.
  • Post surgery patient monitoring
  • Facilitate predictive medicine, including a pending heart attack
  • Measure metabolism and drug absorption
  • Athletes monitoring fluids & nutrition

Video:  Read More …

The Future of Medicine and Virtual Assistants

Virtual Assistants help Doctors Increase ProductivityIn Will Mobile ‘Virtual Assistants’ Propel the Future of Medicine?, the author portrays mHealth and virtual assistants as time savers for practitioners, but I take a different view and commented on his article, mentioning an important new documentary (see below).

He said …

With this evolution of mobility in mind, I’ve been thinking a lot about what a mobile “virtual assistant” could mean for clinicians. In today’s health care setting, far too much clinician time is spent on administrative tasks that, while important, pales in comparison to the significance of their main job duty — ensuring the health and well-being of actual people. But what if we could help clinicians tackle administrative and other day-to-day duties by enlisting the power of a fleet of mobile virtual assistants that: help clinicians simplify interactions and address data-entry headaches with electronic health records (EHRs); provide real-time insight on the next patient, including vital signs and medications; or even prompt them for more information when the record does not contain the level of detail needed to ensure first-rate care?

(Jonathon Dryer is Director of Mobile Marketing for Nuance Communications).

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When NOT to buy a Smartphone

Cell Phones for Seniors who can't use a SmartphoneI do love smartphones and tablets (especially the Apple iPhone & iPad). They’re like having a powerful computer in your pocket and support all sorts of mHealth (mobile health) apps, but I have to admit they aren’t for everyone.

As I read through the 13 articles about “Advancing the mHealth Ecosystem,” I remembered today’s conversation with a dear friend that expanded my perspective. She’s about to give up her iPhone 4 and go back to using a flip-phone. Since I often promote Apple smartphones and tablets for seniors (she’s not yet 60), and my wife talked her into the iPhone a year ago, this was a bit of a shock, so I had her explain.  Read More …

mHealth: What does it mean and what’s included

What is mHealth, and does the term stand for Mobile Health or Modern Health?
That’s the subject of a an online discussion started by David Doherty, moderator of a LinkedIn group interested in using mobile technologies to improve health. He started the discussion to support my view that any definition of mHealth that only includes smartphones is both limiting and arrogant. This article supports that discussion by expanding the definition of mHealth and what’s included.

Much of this article builds on an earlier article that I wrote in May 2012, where I addressed confusion among syllogisms, using the analogy that Lions & Tigers are both Animals, but not all Animals are Lions or Tigers. Likewise, there are some confusing overlaps among the terms mHealth, eHealth, Wireless Health, Connected Health, Digital HealthTelehealth, and Modern Health. The devices that serve these market segments overlap too, so I must discuss them collectively.

Syllogism examples in healthcare Read More …

Does AI provide a Competitive Advantage?

Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence

As smartphones get smarter and speech recognition apps like SIRI and Google Now learn more about you personally and start acting on your behalf, offering information or suggestions before you even think to ask, what will that learned knowledge be worth? What if the knowledge is about you personally — your health needs and medications, your personal traits and preferences and habits, what makes you happy and makes you feel good, or what makes you money? Will AI developers be able to build new barriers-to-entry and gain a significant competitive advantage by treating collected knowledge as proprietary, making it hard to justify a shift to competing products?

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Smartphone app lets you monitor lung health

Hand holding SpiroSmart
photo by: S. Patel, Univ. of Washington
SpiroSmart is a research app to let people test their lung function using only a smartphone.

App lets you monitor lung health using only a smartphone
By Hannah Hickey, University of Washington

9/12/2012 | People suffering from asthma or other chronic lung problems are typically only able to get a measure of their lung function at the doctor’s office a few times a year by blowing into a specialized piece of equipment. More frequent testing at home could detect problems earlier, potentially avoiding emergency room visits and hospitalization.

A new tool from researchers at the University of Washington, UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s hospital lets people monitor their lung function at home or on the go simply by blowing into their smartphones. A paper presented this month at the Association for Computing Machinery’s International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing showed results that came within 5 percent of commercial devices, meaning it already meets the medical community’s standards for accuracy.

“There’s a big need in the pulmonary community to make testing cheaper and more convenient,” said lead researcher Shwetak Patel, a UW assistant professor of computer science and engineering and of electrical engineering. “Other people have been working on attachments for the mobile phone that you can blow into. We said, ‘Let’s just try to figure out how to do it with the microphone that’s already there.’”

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How Seniors Learn Technology

Photo of elderly couple proudly showing off their new iPadToday’s neck-snapping pace of innovation threatens to leave older members of society on the outside looking in through the twilight of their lives.
But what can we do?

That was the sentiment of Get old, tune out: Is technology leaving the elderly in the dust? I stumbled upon this article and had to comment, because I thought it missed an important point. The article was written from the perspective of a 30-year-old after assisting his 60-some-year-old father-in-law and gives you insight into how younger people view seniors.

“These older folks lack the base-line understanding that people of my age (early 30s) received,” he said, and he was right. But it has less to do with basic understanding and more to do with how older people learn and adopt technology. Product designers, especially young ones, need to understand this lesson.

My response

All product designers should see www.mhealthtalk.com/2011/09/webcam-101/. It’s a short video of a cute elderly couple trying to use their new PC and includes a link to a related article presenting the Apple iPad as a much simpler solution. Using any new technology can be daunting because of how seniors learn, and that contrasts with how young kids, or adults who grew up with tech, learn. Read More …

Blood Glucose Meters: Monitoring Diabetes on Your Phone

iBGStar Glucose MeterLiving with Diabetes requires frequent monitoring of blood glucose (blood sugar), an essential measure of your health. The American Diabetes Association can help you better understand Diabetes, select from the latest tools, learn how to manage your blood glucose levels, and prevent serious complications. We provide a guide to help you select a blood glucose meter, many of which are available at local drug stores, but today’s article is inspired by one that’s not listed and you may not have seen yet.

iBGStar blood glucose monitor

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Healthcare Reform to Boost Telehealth 55% in 2013

Home Healthcare Gadgets, Devices, Sensors

Healthcare Reform to Boost Growth in Telehealth Market by 55 Percent in 2013

Austin, TX 19 Dec 2012 – From 2010 to 2011 usage of remote patient monitoring, or telehealth, increased by 22.2 percent as the number of patients enrolled worldwide reached 241,200. However, telehealth device revenues only grew by 5.0 percent from 2010 to 2011; and 18.0 percent from 2011 to 2012. InMedica, a division of IMS Research (now part of IHS Inc.) attributes slow revenue growth over the last year to poor economic conditions leading to restrictions in healthcare funding particularly in Europe, and ambiguity on the impact of healthcare reform and readmission penalties on telehealth in the U.S.

In the U.S., there remained considerable uncertainty on the future of the US healthcare market and the role of telehealth in this market throughout 2012. As the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began penalizing U.S. hospitals for readmissions in October 2012, many healthcare providers remained unclear on the potential impacts on their institutions and are yet to implement a post-acute care plan.

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The Smart Refrigerator & Smart Medical Device

As I prepare to go to Las Vegas in January, where I’ll attend the Consumer Electronics Show and report on the latest health & fitness products, I’ve been thinking about what sort of products to expect, especially since technology is now being embedded in all sorts of devices, including some that make no sense. That brings me to today’s article.

Rapid advancements in computer, networking and storage technology enable new features at lower cost each year, making older products seem obsolete more quickly than ever before, and one example of that is in household appliances like the refrigerator. But do you really need the latest features if what you have works just fine? Do you really need that $9,000 refrigerator with its built-in, color touch-screen and wireless Internet access? What does it do to justify that cost? And what lessons can be applied to health care? Read More …