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Latest Posts

New Survey: 1 In 10 Cell Phone Users Have Health Or Medical Apps

A new survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project shows how the proliferation of smart mobile devices is causing a shift in the way users are accessing data and information on health.

Some of the most interesting findings are related to the substantial number of users who actually have applications that help them manage and track their health. Some key findings from the survey:

*17 percent of cell owners have used their phone to look up health or medical information on the Internet; 29 percent of cell owners ages 18 to 29 have done such searches.

*9 percent of cell phone owners have apps they use to help track and manage health.

*The heaviest use of health or medical related apps was by young adults: About 15 percent of those ages 18 to 29 have such apps, compared to 8 percent of cell users ages 30 to 49. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

Apple’s Steve Jobs On The iPad’s Use By Kids With Special Needs

In a Wall Street Journal profile on how iPad apps are being used by special needs children, such as those who have speech impediments and as a communication tool — Steve Jobs commented on how even he did not have the foresight to see that the iPad could be used in such a fashion.

“We take no credit for this, and that’s not our intention,” Mr. Jobs said, adding that the emails he gets from parents resonate with him. “Our intention is to say something is going on here,” and researchers should “take a look at this.”

Last year we reported on how how much cheaper Apple’s portabile devices were compared to the traditional speech software/hardware products, and how insurance companies were hesitant to reimburse for a significantly cheaper Apple products verse industry products. At the time of our report, insurance companies were willing to reimburse up to $8,000 for a product that could be replaced by an iPod Touch with speech therapy apps would cost approximately $600. Since our report on the topic last year, not much has changed. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

Medical App Improves Healthcare Access In Remote Areas

A team of student and faculty researchers at MIT have developed an open source software system with the goal of improving healthcare access to patients in remote regions.

The software is called Sana and runs on the Android platform. The app allows healthcare workers in remote clinics to send pictures and videos to a database where they can be reviewed by a physician who is then able to provide a preliminary diagnosis via texting.

Sana is different than other collaborative electronic medical sharing efforts because it allows complex medical imaging, such as X-rays and ultrasound images to be uploaded and analyzed.

Since Sana is open source, it can be customized to a specific regions needs and tailored to specific pathologies that need to be studied. Program developers hope this gives healthcare workers a shared sense of responsibility and promotes a level of sustainability. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

iStethoscope App Does Not Replace A Doctor’s Stethoscope

An article in The Guardian, the popular British newspaper, on an iPhone medical app that attempts to replicate the stethoscope starts out as:

The stethoscope — medical icon, lifesaver and doctor’s best friend — is disappearing from hospitals across the world as physicians increasingly use their smartphones to monitor patients’ heartbeats.

More than 3 million doctors have downloaded a 59p application — invented by Peter Bentley, a researcher from University College London — which turns an Apple iPhone into a stethoscope.

It’s obvious to those intimate with medicine that “3 million doctors” using this app was a ridiculous number. Unfortunately, it took The Guardian one full week to realize this egregious error — they meant to say “3 million overall downloads” –- but by then the news had been disseminated to hundreds of news websites, blogs, and potentially millions of readers. Leading readers to infer that with “3 million physician downloads” the medical community had signed off on the app.

The story went on to say:

Experts say the software, a major advance in medical technology, has saved lives and enabled doctors in remote areas to access specialist expertise.

Lets be clear what this application does. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

FDA Actively Monitoring Medical And Healthcare Apps

Bradley Merrill Thompson, an attorney with expertise in the FDA approval process for medical devices, is stating that the FDA is actively monitoring app stores on various platforms. Regulating medical devices and health care-related applications falls under the FDA’s jurisdiction.

James Kendrick from JkOnTheRun spoke with Thompson, where he stated the following:

The FDA is actively engaged in surveillance of various app stores to see if apps should trigger their involvement. Applications where a smartphone is connected in any way to imaging are under scrutiny, in particular. Any app that is used to transmit images to a medical facility requires FDA approval.

By “various app stores,” Thompson is likely referring to the App store [Apple], Palm App Catalog [Web OS], App World [BlackBerry], and the Android Marketplace [Android OS]. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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