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Apple, IBM team to work on mHealth apps

Apple, IBM team to work on mHealth apps | healthcare technology |

It’s one of those thoughts many mHealth insiders and observers have at some point had: What if one could put the power of Watson analytics into a smartphone and interact with it like Apple’s Siri at the point of care?

Well, that specific dream moved closer to reality on Tuesday when Apple and IBM joined forces to create a mobile platform christened IBM Mobile First for iOS.

“For the first time ever we’re putting IBM’s renowned big data analytics at iOS users’ fingertips,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a prepared statement. “This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver.”

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty added that the intention is to bring the same “innovations [that] have transformed our lives,” into the ways that people work, thereby “allowing people to re-imagine work, industries, and professions.”

To that end, the companies hope that IBM Mobile First for iOS will “transform enterprise mobility through a new class of business apps,” they explained.

It’s not all that often technology giants align and rattle off healthcare as one of their target verticals, much less that Apple joins forces with any of the IT old guard — which gives the partnership a booster shot of luster. And in an mHealth industry currently going like gangbusters with too many startups to count, the sheer scale that Apple and IBM bring at the very least has the potential for significant market-shaping.

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New Apple pedometer patent may hint at a future iWatch

New Apple pedometer patent may hint at a future iWatch | healthcare technology |

A newly published Apple patent application that details ways to improve a wrist-based pedometer could represent another piece of evidence pointing to an iWatch.

The application, “Wrist Pedometer Step Detection,” came out of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today. This is part of the standard patent process toward issuance. It details ways to improve step detection when someone is wearing a pedometer on a wrist.

In the patent application’s implementation, the pedometer might be able to “automatically determine that the pedometer is being worn on a user’s wrist.”

Pedometers, the application points out, are often attached to a user’s trunk – on the waist or pants or shirt pocket. A commonly used algorithm to measures steps, however, doesn’t work as well when the pedometer is on a wrist, because the arm’s movement can interfere with the measurement of acceleration.

Apple’s patent application would overcome this by filtering the measured movement or inferring steps from previous measurements, leading to more accurate step counts and distance estimation. Additionally, the document notes, “users do not have to specify where the pedometer is being worn” because the software will compensate.

tomnguyen's comment, December 18, 2015 2:19 PM
monitor patents by Apple anytime.
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Apple vs. Google: An mHealth Face-Off

Apple vs. Google: An mHealth Face-Off | healthcare technology |

Industry observers like myself have often painted the competitive mHealth landscape with a brush that wages computer manufacturer Dell and software behemoth Microsoft versus Apple--the reigning mobile healthcare champion. However, the real battle for the heart, mind and soul of the still-emerging mHealth market places Apple and search engine giant Google squarely in the commercial trenches.

Apple's iPhone and iPad have set the standard for other mobile devices in healthcare. Doctors, in particular, simply love their iPhones and iPads. But, now, the mHealth war between Apple and Google appears to be entering a new battlefield, namely wearable devices. 

At the center of Apple's efforts in this area is its long-awaited iWatch, a wristwatch-like computing device with smartphone/tablet and health/activity tracking capabilities. Reportedly, iWatch includes a pedometer for counting steps and sensors for monitoring health-related data such as heart rate.

Apple is growing its team of medical sensor specialists by hiring some of the world's premiere experts in mobile medical technologies. Presumably, this expertise will be heavily leveraged by Apple in their development of the iWatch or some other device.    

Simultaneously, Google has been working on its much-heralded Google Glass, high-tech glasses which contain a heads-up display, camera and a microphone, and can ostensibly support mobile health apps directly on the device. Google Glass, developed by the company's secretive Google X lab, has strong potential for healthcare, particularly in the ER where physicians could use the glasses to scroll through lab and radiology results and in the OR providing surgeons with hands-free access to critical clinical information.

In addition, earlier this month, Google unveiled its contact lenses, which use a tiny sensor and wireless transmitter, to monitor and measure glucose levels in tears, potentially replacing the self-administered blood tests from finger pricks that diabetics must endure on a daily basis. Not surprisingly, Google employees recently met with U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials at FDA headquarters who regulate eye devices. 

Who will be first to market with these wearable devices--Apple or Google--remains to be seen. What is certain, however, is that the two technology leaders with track records for building strong brands will no doubt dazzle the marketplace with innovative, leading-edge products that put sensor-based devices in the hands of consumers and medical professionals. That kind of competition in mHealth can only serve to benefit us all as this nascent industry moves forward

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Ricardo Rocha's curator insight, February 16, 2014 7:53 PM

"wearable devices"  .... Estamos falando apenas do começo, as possibilidades e benefícios são incontáveis!!!! Imagine não ter que tomar uma agulhada por dia para medir a glicose?

Jay Gadani's curator insight, August 6, 2014 11:44 PM

Competition is always great! 

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Apple adds a step-counter, caffeine tracking to iPhones with iOS 8

Apple adds a step-counter, caffeine tracking to iPhones with iOS 8 | healthcare technology |

The latest beta version of iOS 8 adds a pair of new health-tracking data points to the Health app and one of them won’t even need manual data entry or a wearable device if you have a newer iPhone.

Apple’s iOS 8 Health app can track dozens of health stats through other apps and devices, providing a full picture of your well-being. Now, it can track two more things and one of them can be measured by the iPhone itself.

AppleInsider installed the latest beta version of iOS 8, which was made available on Monday, and found two new functions for Health. First is a step counter card that works directly with the M7 co-processor inside the iPhone 5s — and presumably the next iPhones as well. Second is a new caffeine intake card. Since the M7 chip can’t track that, you’ll likely have to manually enter your caffeine data or use a third-party app such as Jawbone’s UP Coffee.

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Apple Patents Fitness-Tracking Earbuds That Can Read Your Heartbeat

Apple Patents Fitness-Tracking Earbuds That Can Read Your Heartbeat | healthcare technology |

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office just granted Apple a patent for a new kind of biometric sensor that, unlike other wearables we've seen so far, connects to you via your ear. The patent applies to a sensor that can be embedded in a pair of earbuds or headphones, which then hoovers up wearer data like heartbeat, body temperature, or even how much you're perspiring when you hit the gym.

How the sensor intends to do that, however, isn't explicitly outlined in the filing. AsAppleInsider first pointed out, U.S. patent #8,655,004 concerns a "sports monitoring system for headphones, earbuds and/or headsets" to be used "during exercise or sporting activities." Originally filed in 2007, the patent suggests Apple has apparently been experimenting with new ways to cull together biometric data for quite some time now.

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What EMR & Medical Software Options are available for doctors who use an Apple Mac !

What EMR & Medical Software Options are available for doctors who use an Apple Mac ! | healthcare technology |

Very few vendors actually support the Mac. Many doctors over the years have wanted a Mac, but would’nt get one due to the lack of Medical Softwares for it. Though lately there has been a surge in the number of vendors promising native Mac versions in the future.


"Technology for Doctors is a blog on Healthcare IT by Plus91 Technologies Pvt Ltd."

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