What mobile phone and tablet do you use?

What platforms should healthcare app developers support?

iPhone4s showing Facetime with granddaughterWhile participating in the “What is Mobile Health?” Linkedin discussion that I mentioned a few days ago, an Australian app developer asked me the following question, sensing that I might have a helpful perspective. Because my response might also help Modern Health Talk readers, I’ll include both his question and my reply here.

Hi Wayne,
Can I ask what mobile phone you currently have and use? Do you have an iPad? The reason I ask is I find it interesting to appreciate the technology individuals use and the effects it has on the opportunities we see to advance healthcare.

@David, I have an Apple iPhone3, and both my wife and son (in Dallas) have an iPhone4s so they can use FaceTime video conferencing and we see our year-old granddaughter. On the tablet side, I have my wife’s old iPad after getting her an iPad2 to resolve conflicts over who gets to use it. BTW, she completely quit using her PC after getting the first iPad. Read More …

Intel-GE Care Innovations, a critique

Care Innovations™ is a unique joint venture that brings together GE’s expertise in healthcare and Intel’s technology expertise 
— to help change the way health care is delivered.

I’ve worked with Intel before in the wireless standards area and have great respect for the company. And I also like their approach to market development, which often starts with ethnographic market research to understand the people who use technology products rather than starting with what’s technically possible. But in this case I question their design choices, because I think they ignored widely accepted standards and mainstream opportunities. Let me explain. Read More …

How to Find Mobile Apps for Home Health Care

App overload on Smartphone: more or smarter?Try Appolicious and let us know what you think in the comments below.

This article was originally published in June 2011 but is republished due to high interest in finding apps. It’s based on The Best Tools to Help you Discover New Mobile Apps, by Hillel Fuld, but I removed CHOMP, since that search tool seems to have disappeared.

Back in June ’11, there were over 500,000 iOS apps (for iPhone, iPad and iPod) and 250,000 Android apps, as well as apps for BlackBerry, Nokia, WebOS, Windows Phone 7, and other platforms. They’re almost all quite affordable or free, and many are dedicated to health and fitness. But the number is still so overwhelming that finding what you need a challenge.

The tremendous variety is good news for consumers, but how do you find the best apps for your needs and filter out the junk? It’s so out of control that startups and established companies are responding with even more apps – to help you find apps.

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CES 2012 … in Pajamas

CESinPJs

Did you go to CES this year? What struck you as a highlight (comment below)?

If you didn’t get to go, CES 2012 in Pajamas gives you all of the insight with none of the hassle or expense. This 12-page virtual trip report combines a healthcare and consumer electronics perspective so you can:

  • Learn what the analysts and pundits said.
  • Know about key trends from different perspectives.
  • Discover cool products for digital health & wellness.
  • See the products in action with over 4.5 hours of video.
  • And discover who was missing and the significance.

Headings:

  • About CES
  • Getting the Most from this Report
  • General Media Coverage of CES
  • Is CES becoming Irrelevant?
  • It’s All about the Platform & Ecosystem
  • Smarter, Thinner Televisions
  • Smarter, Thinner PC & Tablets
  • Smartphones & mHealth
  • Healthy Games
  • Home Networking & Energy Management
  • Robots

Be part of the Future of Healthcare. Our in-home evaluation is a fun and education survey that helps medical researchers collect autonomous health information so they can find unexpected correlations and find new treatments. It’s part of the Next Frontier for Big Data.

The Future of Health Care Delivery

book cover - The Future of Health Care DeliveryAuthor’s summary by Stephen C Schimpff, MD

Health Care in the United States is a paradox.  We are the most abundant, highly advanced market in the world, where research, commitment of providers, and dollars spent are unmatched.  And yet… medical care is not uniformly available, is much too expensive and the quality of care is all too often less than satisfactory and not nearly safe enough. It is time for a different approach. .

There are many disruptive, often transformational changes coming, which will further complicate matters for the average patient.  These changes are being driven by an aging population, our adverse lifestyles and behaviors, an increasing shortage of providers, our attitudes about the end of life, and a nascent rise in consumerism.

One of the most important changes  is a shift from acute illness (e.g. pneumonia, appendicitis) to chronic diseases (e.g.,  diabetes with complications, heart failure and cancer) which are lifelong once developed, difficult to manage and very expensive to treat – yet mostly preventable.

There are also many misconceptions about what medical care delivery is and what it could and should be. For example, Read More …

Let me down Easy is a must-watch performance

image from Let Me Down Easy on PBS.orgYvonne and I loved Anna Deavere Smith’s solo performance of Let Me Down Easy, which blends theatrics, journalism and social commentary about Healthcare, and I highly recommend watching it. PBS aired the program as part of its Great Performances series this week on Friday the 13th, how fitting with the state of our nation’s healthcare system. Here’s what they said about it.

She performs 19 characters in the course of an hour and thirty five minutes. Their stories are alternately humorous and heart-wrenching, and often a blend of both. Building upon each other with hypnotic force, her subjects recount personal encounters with the frailty of the human body, ranging from a mere brush with mortality, coping with an uncertain future in today’s medical establishment, to confronting an end of life transition. The testimony of health care professionals adds further texture to a vivid portrayal of the cultural and societal attitudes to matters of health.

Watch this 2:10 min video preview;

Read about what PBS had to say and what New York Times critics said.

ZOMM’s Lifestyle Connect wins 3 CES Innovation Awards

ZOMM Lifestyle ConnectZOMM earned 3 CES 2012 Innovation Awards this week for Lifestyle Connect™, a credit card sized accessory for any Bluetooth®-enabled phone, including the one you have right now. With a touch of a button or an alert from wireless sensors, the device can summon assistance from a Personal Safety Concierge™ or your trusted network of friends, family and health professionals. If needed, the concierge will dispatch police, fire or medical rescue personnel to the user’s location.

Lifestyle Connect utilizes Bluetooth Classic and Bluetooth Low Energy wireless technology to connect with Bluetooth Smart devices such as health monitors, heart monitors, glucose monitors, fall detection sensors, and activity trackers.

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Walt Mossberg blasts medical consumer products

In his TEDMED 2010 talk, Walt Mossberg, Technology Journalist for the Wall Street Journal, shares his thoughts about medical consumer products. He’s clearly a fan of Apple’s iPad and iPhone but laments the lack of really useful consumer medical products like good blood glucose monitors. Thankfully, we’ve seen lots of innovation in 2011, but I wonder if it’s enough to change Walt’s mind. Watch the video and let us know what YOU think with a Reply below.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet challenges Apple iPad

Amazon Kindle Fire

See comments for Cautions & Reviews

Amazon Kindle, including the high-end Kindle Fire, is quickly becoming the second-fastest selling tablet in the market. Sales are projected to reach 3.9 million units in 4Q’11, giving it a 13.8% global market share, which is second only to Apple’s 65.6% share, according to IHS Research. In total, 64.7 million tablets are expected to ship in 2011, up 273% from last year and on tract to reach 287.2 million units 2015.

The Kindle Fire is less than half the price of the iPad2, which starts at $499. It does less, but if all you want it for is entertainment (books, music & movies), shopping, and online web browsing, then the $199 price sounds pretty good. Kindle Fire is sold at a loss (less than the $201.70 manufacturing cost) in hopes of making profit from content and online shopping. The purchase price even includes a one year subscription to Amazon Prime, a $79/year service offering free 2-day shipping with any Amazon purchase.
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Jawbone UP wristband & iPhone app tracks your wellness

image of Jawbone UP, a motion sensing wristbandUP by Jawbone (http://www.jawbone.com/up) is a revolutionary system (wristband + iPhone app) that tracks your activity and sleep and inspires you to move more, sleep better and eat smarter. UP also integrates a social experience and open content platform to motivate you with personal and team challenges tailored to help you achieve your goals.

UP is Jawbone’s first step in giving people tools to become engaged as consumers of their own health. It integrates an accelerometer to sense motion and track how much you’re walking, exercising, or sleeping; and it then uploads that data to an app that shows progress charts and lets you photograph and log your meals, even sharing all this with friends for additional motivation if you wish.

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Accessible iPhone Apps

screen shot of VoiceOverThe following article is adapted from some iPhone training material that Pat Pound created for special education teachers in June 2011. It describes over 70 accessible iPhone apps, and I thank her for permission to publish it here.

Vision: A Guide for iPhone Users who are Blind was one of the first articles on this blog. It’s short but has several good links to more info, and this YouTube video demo shows how a blind person would use the VoiceOver feature.

And visit http://www.apple.com/accessibility to learn more about assistive features in iPod, iPhone, iPad and Apple TV and to discover other 3rd party add-on products and apps for all sorts of needs, including visual, hearing, dexterity, and learning.

By Pat Pound

Apple’s iPhones (starting with the 3GS) are accessible to people who are blind as they come, complete with a screen reader, “VoiceOver”, and print enlarger “zoom”. As you know, the iPhone is famous for its touch screen so this is a very new experience for most blind users.  Apple reps are well prepared to sell these phones and to explain their accessibility features in their stores, although it’s a noisy environment so it can be somewhat challenging. Similar accessibility is experienced on iPod Touch and iPad devices.

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Smartphone does Vital Signs

Ki Chon, left, in his lab with PhD candidate Christopher Scully.

Ki Chon, left, in his lab with PhD candidate Christopher Scully.

Hold the Phone for Vital Signs

WPI researchers turn a smart phone into a medical monitor.

October 6, 2011 — An iPhone app that measures the user’s heart rate is not only a popular feature with consumers, but it sparked an idea for a Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) researcher who is now turning smart phones, and eventually tablet devices, into sophisticated medical monitors able to capture and transmit vital physiological data.

A team led by Ki Chon, professor and head of biomedical engineering at WPI, has developed a smart phone application that can measure not only heart rate, but also heart rhythm, respiration rate and blood oxygen saturation using the phone’s Read More …

Telikin, a Boomer-optimized Touch Screen Computer

Links to cnet review of Telikin by Rich BrownTelikin is a new all-in-one, touch-screen computer optimized for seniors. It forgoes the Microsoft Windows operating system for a custom version of Linux and is billed as “quite possibly the world’s easiest computer.” Telikin comes with several useful software applications pre-installed, so you can just plug it in, connect to the Internet, and you’re ready to go, according to the website, but it still requires someone capable of doing that. It comes in two sizes with a 18.6-inch or 20-inch display and slightly .

After power-on, the system presents a home screen designed for accessibility. Use the mouse, or tap the always-visible sidebar menu with your finger, to access the applications, which include video chat, email, photos, calendar, address book, weather, news, web browsing, games, calculator, CD & DVD player,  file browser, word processor, and common utilities.

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An iPad for All Ages

No computer skills required … and now no computer either

 

iPad for the Ages - from Toddlers to Seniors

Flickr photo credits: Toddler by umpcportal.com, Senior by Courosa, licensed under Creative Commons

 

Everyone says the Apple iPad is intuitive, easy to learn, and easy to use. It almost seems tailored to toddlers and seductive to seniors. Grandparents and great grandparents with no prior computer experience can reconnect with family and make new friends online with email, social media, and video conferencing. But as easy and seductive as  iPad is, it still required a PC or Mac in order to download or upgrade its software. Not any more. Apple changed that last week with its iCloud announcement and its latest iOS 5 operating system.

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Apple iCloud has implications for home health care

I amended this post with new information shown in red.

On June 6, at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, CEO Steve Jobs introduced iCloud, a new service that addresses a growing problem of keeping our devices in sync, especially since they now each have the ability to create and store data, images, music, and video.

iCloud stores your content and wirelessly pushes it to all your devices. The service automatically uploads the content, stores it, and pushes it to your other devices, and it’s completely integrated with your apps. That way everything happens automatically, and there’s nothing new to buy or learn. As Jobs put it, “It just all works.”

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Mini Eco-i-Lite: When a Great Product Review Turns Bad

Mini Eco-i-Lite, available at retailers like Amazon.com, Container Store and OfficeDepotBeing a digital home consultant and an advocate for universal design and simplicity, one of my favorite home automation gadgets is the nightlight with photocell. It improves the safety of moving about in a dark room, because it turns on when it’s dark and off when it’s light. Like magic, when you turn on the room’s light(s), the little nightlight turns off; and when you turn off the lights, the nightlight turns on again. That’s why I was happy to find a new version and wanted to write about it.

While visiting OfficeDepot in Houston, I discovered the Mini Eco-i-Lite. It only costs about $10 and combines the functions of a nightlight, power failure light, and flashlight. How cool is that? By addressing the combined benefits of safety, ease of use, and sustainability, it seems ideal for the elderly, so I bought one and planned to write a glowing review about it here. But all is not what it seems.

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Seniors Learn to Use & Appreciate iPad

The iPad may be the Ultimate in universal design. If cats can play games especially designed for them, and infants use iPads for play and as a learning tools, then surely seniors at any age can use this cool device for everything from emailing their children and grandchildren, downloading books and music and recipes, researching old haunts and finding out what they look like today, playing games, and even playing piano music on the touch screen. This article includes three embedded videos (below). One is about cats (it got 2,500 hits on YouTube), one about infants (from my local TV station), and one about seniors (from Colorado 9 News).

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Do Hands-free faucets really harbor germs?

Hands-free Faucets Harbor Germs

A motion-activated faucet in a Los Angeles-area home. Such faucets at the Johns Hopkins Hospital were found to breed more Legionella bacteria than traditional manual fixtures. (Christine Cotter/ Los Angeles Times)

According to reporter Eryn Brown of the LA Times, the electronic hands-free faucets save water but can spread germs. So how’s that?

I don’t know, but apparently folks at Johns Hopkins Hospitals in Baltimore discovered that their new faucets were so much more contaminated with bacteria that they ripped them out and went back to the conventional lever-handle type.

Read whole story here.

Vision: A Guide for iPhone Users who are Blind

BrailleI’m a huge fan of smart phones and tablets as the ideal gateway for home healthcare apps, but I always wondered how a blind person could use an iPhone since there are no tactile buttons.

I was delighted to find the Assistive Technologies Blog, a publication of the Virginia Department of Education’s Training and Technical Assistance Center (T/TAC) at VCU. It had a pointer to an interesting book, “Getting Started with the iPhone: An Introduction for Blind Users.” This book is available in paper, electronic Braille, text or DAISY for $18.00. Another Braille book of interest is “Social Networking and You: Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin for Blind Users.”

Video Conferencing for Home Healthcare

iPad2 FaceTime Test

Review by Justine Ezarik (www.iJustine.com)

Here’s a way to keep in touch with grandchildren on one hand and elderly parents on the other, while improving care and reducing travel. Use the network and video capabilities of a TV, tablet, phone or computer to connect caretakers and caregivers. The technology is available today and improving rapidly, but the choices are confusing due to the lack of standards and interoperability among systems.

In a Boston Globe article, Hiawatha Bray reviews various video conferencing options that can support home healthcare. I summarize it here and provide links to video demos of each of the apps she mentioned, as well as apps I added.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is an open standard that was made popular by PC-based video products like Skype, Google Chat, and iChat. (Here’s a review of all three.) Most VoIP products rely on broadband-connected PCs with speakers and a webcam. the once challenging setup is improving, and image and sound are now approaching HD quality. VuRoom even extends Skype capabilities to multi-user conferencing, which can be used to connect the patient to their family, professional caregiver, and physician all at once.
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