A global survey focusing on mobile health apps shows the majority of those companies and developers who produce them are dissatisfied with the reception their apps receive on the market, and say performance falls short of their goals. The report by German market research company research2guidance also indicated a changing profile of the developers and businesses behind these apps, along with their priorities.The survey also sought to explore some of the distinguishing characteristics of successful mobile health app
Law firm Osborne Clarke has called on regulators to rethink the implication of the future European General Data Protection Regulation on health informationA law firm has called on EU regulators to rethink the impact of the forthcoming European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on data generated by health trackers and other wearables, including the Apple Watch, Fitbit and Garmin fitness bands.
The Apple-less among us who are interested in applying digital health technologies to healthcare and life science research may soon have a response to ResearchKit. A Robert Wood Johnson backed collaboration between Cornell Tech, the nonprofit group Open mHealth, and Android development firm Touchlabare developing an Android version called ResearchStack, according to iMedicalApps.
Deborah Estrin, Professor of Computer Science and Public Health at Cornell Tech and Cornell Medical College respectively, the co-founder of Open mHealth, promoting an open standard for mobile health data is heading up the project.
It’s an exciting development for the use of digital health technologies to support medical research because there are more Android users than iOS network users. What’s more, this will exponentially increase the number of applications to support medical research.
Mobile and social technology makes patients feel empowered in caring for their diabetes, leading to tangible health improvements in just a few weeks as well as a heightened sense of control, according to a paper presented Wednesday at the American Medical Informatics Association conference in San Francisco.A three-month experiment with bimonthly text messages, a Web portal and home-based medical devices produced an average weight decrease of 3.5 pounds and a mean reduction in hemoglobin A1c levels from 7.41 to 6.77 percent, reported Dr. Kendall Ho, director of the eHealth Strategy Office at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. (The A1c number is significant, Ho said, because anything below 7 percent indicates good control of Type 2 diabetes.)
When it comes to retaining users for health-driven applications, there’s a simple tool for success: “Remember customers deserve understanding, health and love, said Lark CEO Julia Hu during a talk at this week’s Exponential Medicine conference in San Diego.
Lark is a mobile health company that’s built out an artificial intelligence platform that serves as a personal nutritionist and weight loss coach – providing encouragement and tips with a humanized interface.
The company’s gotten some impressive accolades in the past year – including MacWorld labeling it the best new app for Apple Health. It’ll also come preinstalled in all Samsung phones.
Hu outlined four patient engagement strategies she’s learned in the past five years developing a successful mhealth app:
Polar Loop CrystalFitness device maker Polar recently launched a new wristworn activity tracking device, called Polar Loop Crystal, in partnership with Swarovski.Loop Crystal offers the same functionalities and software available in Polar’s Loop 2 band, which tracks steps, distance, sleep, and inactivity, but the Loop Crystal is embedded with 30 Swarovski crystals. While the Loop 2 costs $119.95, the Loop Crystal costs $159.95.Polar is just the latest wearables maker to partner with a designer to create a sleeker, more fashionable offering. Because wearable devices are often worn like accessories, the question of whether these devices are fashionable has been discussed for a number of years.
A new survey of 1,500 consumers from Apple Watch research service Wristly has found that 83 percent of the Apple Watch owners surveyed said the device at least somewhat contributes to their overall health and fitness.Just under 60 percent of respondents said the watch contributes to some change in their health and fitness and 24 percent said the device contributed to a lot of change.The survey also found that 12 percent of respondents said the Apple Watch’s fitness capabilities were the primary reason they bought it, while 48 percent said these capabilities were at least one of the main reasons, 30 percent said they were somewhat important, and 10 percent they were not important.
Mobile phone use in health coaching efforts can boost adherence to healthy behaviors, improve glucoregulation levels and foster better mental health for patients managing Type 2 diabetes, reveals a new study.
Regulating diabetes by maintaining regular exercise and a balanced diet can be a challenge, notes the research team, comprised of individuals from the School of Kinesiology and Health Science at York University, in Toronto, Canada, and the North York General Hospital at the University of Toronto.
"Providing cost-effective interventions that improve self-management is important for improving quality of life and the sustainability of healthcare systems," the researchers write in the paper, published at Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR).
How is medical device interoperability regulated? And, when it comes to mobile health apps, what should be regulated?
As medical devices converge with wireless technologies, the FCC along with the FDA is beginning to take an active role in regulating mobile health and device interoperability. This relationship between the two agencies was discussed at this week’s AdvaMed 2015 conference in San Diego.
The fact remains, after all, that the government must provide regulatory oversight for medical devices that communicate remotely – to preserve users’ privacy and security, and to ensure these devices actually work. And it’s a constant question over what should be regulated, and what should not.
“We make choices about which products to scrutinize, and which to not scrutinize,” said Bakul Patel, associate center director for digital health at FDA. “That comes from the inherent heterogeneity of medical devices.”
Back in March 2013, Research2Guidance counted in the neighborhood of 100,000 health, fitness and wellness apps in the Apple App Store and Google Play. That number almost certainly has increased since then.
Today, consumer health engagement company HealthMine said that while 64 percent of Americans own smartphones, just 18 percent of the general population enjoy learning health, wellness and lifestyle information via mobile apps. That’s based on a survey of 1,200 people by the Dallas-based company.
And then comes the money quote from the HealthMine press release: “Mobile health is still far from broad engagement—unless you are sick.” That’s because another HealthMine survey of 509 people with diabetes or pre-diabetes from August found that 42 percent manage their condition with mobile blood-sugar monitors, while 39 percent use mobile monitors for blood pressure.
Scanadu CEO Walter De Brouwer played digital health provocateur during a talk at this week’s Transforming Medicine: Evidence-driven Mhealth conference at Scripps Translational Science Institute. The future of healthcare involves commoditizing the patient. Or rather, as he put it, the consumer.
Some background: Scanadu is developing a Jetsonian device that monitors bodily functions and vital signs; it relied initially on crowdfunding to kick off production. So, given the company’s forward-looking bent, De Brouwer highlighted the following concepts that he projects will be important over the next five years:
One of Thomas Insel’s most dramatic initiatives as the government’s mental-health research czar was to try to throw out the psychiatrists’ bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM (see “NIMH Will Drop Widely Used Psychiatry Manual”).It bothered Insel, who has been head of the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, since 2002, that unlike AIDS or lymphoma, mental illness is still diagnosed on the basis of clusters of symptoms rather than “any objective laboratory measure” such as a biomarker or readout.
The best updated health and fitness apps for the Apple Watch worth braving the cold and rain for this ChristmasAs it gets ever colder in the run up to Christmas, forcing yourself to go to the gym or for a run is even less appealing than during warmer seasons. But maintaining a regular exercise routine through the winter months will help to minimise any festive weight gain, as well as keeping you ahead of the pack in January when the annual influx of born-again fitness fanatics will flood the capital's parks and gyms
S HealthConsidering recent events, big name consumer brands are more likely than ever to move into regulated medical devices.Two weeks ago Apple CEO Tim Cook told a newspaper that while his company wouldn’t put the Apple Watch through the motions of an FDA clearance process, Cook “wouldn’t mind putting something adjacent to the watch through it.” He said that before adding maybe that’d be an app or something else. At the time, I wondered if maybe it’d be a strap for the watch — one that sported its own sensor array.
New products will take health monitoring to new levels and even save livesMicrosoft intends to become the leader in advanced wearable technology for healthcare and medicine, according to Leila Martine, Microsoft product marketing director of New Device Experience.Speaking at the Mobile News ‘Wearables and Accessories’ conference held in London last week, Martine said:“[Microsoft chief executive] Satya Nadella was in London last week and brought us back to our heritage about helping every person and company to achieve more.”Microsoft, she said, was designing wearable devices which could take advanced biometrics to a new level and monitor complex cardio functionality such as VO2 max – the maximum amount of oxygen that can be removed from circulating blood and used by the body during a specified period.
For the 2.5 million people living with epilepsy in the United States, medications can help control their seizures — most of the time. But some suffer unpleasant side effects from the drugs. And a few remain at risk of death.Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University hope to help those with the neurological condition by collecting information about their seizures through their watches, specifically their Apple Watches.
If you’re tired of wearable fitness trackers fighting for space on your wrist, it might not be a problem in the near future: researchers say they can reliably measure your heart and breathing rates just by looking at data from a smartphone sitting in your pocket or bag.
Researchers at MIT are working on a project called BioPhone that derives these biological signals from your smartphone’s accelerometer, which they say can capture the small movements of your body that result from the beating of your heart and rising and falling of your chest. A paper on the work was presented at a conference in August.
The findings from this study illustrate that mHealth app developers will need to consider some of the consumer concerns regarding the products such as excessive data entry requirements and the associated costs.Smartphone users seem to have a high regard for mobile health apps, especially those focused on providing diet and fitness support. A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research shows that 58 percent of surveyed mobile phone users have downloaded at least one mobile health app onto their device.
Imagine: You’ve been trying to keep your cholesterol low, but constant business travel means too many fast food meals and not enough exercise. What if you received recommendations on healthier restaurants nearby—from your watch? And, what if that watch also encouraged you to take a 20-minute walk? Or what if it realized that you actually hate walks and would rather take a yoga class around the block that starts at 7 p.m.?This may be the future of better health, at least if IBM’s Watson has its way. The cognitive computing wunderkind, known for its winning turn on Jeopardy!, is pairing its artificial intelligence with the mobile sensing power of Apple’s smartwatch AAPL -1.10% to create a health platform that can interact and adapt to each individual user. It’s the first time Watson’s super computing power will be used with the Apple Watch to transform how people manage their wellbeing. It all happens within an app called CaféWell Concierge, Powered by Watson.The app, developed by Welltok of Denver, takes advantage of Watson’s natural language capabilities to allow CaféWell Concierge to become more personalized over time as the cognitive computer reasons and learns. Users can talk directly to the app to ask questions about health, nutrition, exercise or even IBM’s health benefit details and get quick answers.
Apple is expanding its ResearchKit program with three new studies and three new partner universities. This time, Apple will help research studies on autism, epilepsy and melanoma.As a reminder, ResearchKit is a set of tools for collecting participant consent, conducting surveys and assigning active tasks to participants that they can perform to help researchers achieve specific study goals. It lets researchers leverage Apple devices for their studies.If users agree to share these sets of data, researchers can collect data from iPhones, Apple Watches and now iPads as well as iOS accessories, which is great if you want to measure blood pressure, glucose levels and more. Researchers can take advantage of the accelerometers, gyroscope, heart monitor, GPS sensor, microphone and more.
Is mobile healthcare and health apps the future? “Mobile health, loosely defined as the practice of medicine and public health, supported by mobile devices is projected to be a 26 billion dollar industry by 2017!” With that one stat I would say the answer is YES. Here is a quick breakdown of the Mobile Health apps that are leading the way. Weight loss apps (50 million downloads) Exercise apps (26.5 million) Women’s health apps (10.5 million) Sleep & meditation apps (8 million) Pregnancy apps (7.5 million) Tools & Instruments apps (6 million Doctors are loving the health apps as well. 80% of physicians use smartphones and medical apps. 40% believe mHealth technologies can reduce the number of visits to doctors’ office. 93% believe that these apps can improve patient’s health.
Apple announced its watchOS 2 on September 9. One of the major selling points behind the Apple Watch has always been combining the smartwatch idea alongside health and fitness tracking. Is this selling point panning out? What technological trends are seen in the healthcare industry and mobile devices — and are they really making a difference for doctors and patients? Amidst the buzz, here is a sampling of some Apple Watch apps that actually might be revolutionizing the healthcare industry.
Even though FDA has issued guidance on mobile medical applications, many people in the field of wearables, remote monitoring technologies, and mobile health apps are still unsure of the regulator's take on specific requirements. So it was newsworthy when Leonard Sacks, associate director for clinical methodology in the office of medical policy at FDA, spoke at last week's "Mobile Health: The Power of Wearables, Sensors, and Apps to Transform Clinical Trials" conference, hosted by the New York Academy of Sciences and Medidata.
Sacks said that he and many at FDA are enthusiastic about the potential of mobile health technology, but emphasized that the large amount of data gathered must yield a clinically meaningful endpoint:
Obviously these technological devices are fun. We enjoy Fitbit, it gives us a little bit of immediate gratification. Some of them are cool . . . that’s not what FDA is interested in. We’re interested in making robust decisions on whether drugs are working properly for our patients. From the regulatory point of view, we have to be sure that these devices are reporting a meaningful clinical benefit. The important thing to realize is that the effect on a physiological measure doesn't guarantee a meaningful benefit to the patient . . ."
With the ongoing reforms in the healthcare industry, the high amount of technology implementations taking place, and the rising number of patients in need of services due to the burgeoning baby boomer generation, a large number of doctors claim to be experiencing burnout. Could mobile health tools help solve the problems associated with physician burnout?
A report from QuantiaMD, a subsidiary of Physicians Interactive, explains that many doctors today would not recommend going into the medical field to generations of the future. EHR systems and other medical technologies that take up time and money are the main reasons behind this trend of burnout. However, mobile health tools and telemedicine could potentially change this effect.
Today, doctors looking to incorporate telehealth technology and mobile health tools are looking to early adopters for advice on how to effectively transition to this new mode of healthcare delivery. Hospital systems are looking to implement telemedicine to increase referrals toward their organization.
The survey results show that 62 percent of doctors aren’t currently offering virtual visits to their patient population but would like to learn more about this practice. More than half – 57 percent – are interested in conducting video-based visits with patients. Additionally, 60 percent of respondents stated that if a nearby hospital offered video consultations with specialists, they would be more likely to refer their patient to that healthcare system.
There are now more than 165,000 mobile health apps available in the U.S., yet most continue to have limited functionality and barriers remain for connecting mHealth app data to providers’ clinical data, which hinders full adoption of mHealth into healthcare management, according to the findings of an IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics study.
According to the IMS Institute’s recently released report about consumer-focused mHealth apps, the number of mHealth apps has nearly doubled in the past two years and almost a quarter of consumer apps are now focused on disease and treatment management, while two-thirds target fitness and wellness. Mental health apps led among disease specific apps, followed by diabetes.
For the study, researchers drew on IMS Health’s AppScript Score database and analysis of 26,864 apps available in the U.S. The study found that app connectivity has become a major focus for app developers, with one in ten apps now having some capability to connect to a device or sensor. This connectivity provides biofeedback and physiological function data from the patient and greatly extends the accuracy and convenience of data collection, according to the IMS Institute study.
As part of the study, the IMS Institute also interviewed healthcare provider executives on the role and status of healthcare apps.
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