Evidence-based mobile mental health technologies could boost patient self-care and reduce the increasing demand for one-on-one psychological intervention, but such mHealth tools would do well to adhere to specific development guidelines, according to a new research study.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina have partnered with health app maker Recovery Record to recruit more participants for a clinical trial to study how genes are connected to anorexia, according to a report from MedCityNews. The researchers head up the University’s Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative (ANGI).
Personal health is becoming increasingly mobile, and there are now thousands of apps aiming to address everything from lifestyle issues to chronic diseases. But can you trust these apps the same way you trust your prescribed drugs and medical devices?
Medical devices are generally regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and although the FDA reviews some apps, experts say the agency's power and efforts aren't nearly enough to cover the 97,000 and counting health apps out there that are transforming consumer health.
Your smartphone is not only your best friend, it's also become your personal trainer, coach, medical lab and maybe even your doctor.
"Digital health" has become a key focus for the technology industry, from modest startups' focus on apps to the biggest companies in the sector seeking to find ways to address key issues of health and wellness.
Apps that measure heart rate, blood pressure, glucose and other bodily functions are multiplying, while Google, Apple and Samsung have launched platforms that make it easier to integrate medical and health services.
"We've gotten to a point where with sensors either in the phone or wearables gather information that we couldn't do in the past without going to a medical center," says Gerry Purdy, analyst at Compass Intelligence.
"You can do the heart rate, mobile EKGs (electrocardiograms). Costs are coming down, and these sensors are becoming more socially acceptable."
The consultancy Rock Health estimates 143 digital health companies raised $2.3 billion in the first six months of 2014, already topping last year's amount.
Recent studies suggest that people who use connected devices to monitor health and fitness often do a better job of managing and preventing health problems.
A study led by the Center for Connected Health found that people who use mobile devices did a better job of lowering dangerous blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
A separate study published in the July 2014 issue of Health Affairs found that data collected by devices is not only useful for patients but can help doctors find better treatments.
"When linked to the rest of the available electronic data, patient-generated health data completes the big data picture of real people's needs, life beyond the health care system," said Amy Abernethy, a Duke University professor of medicine lead author of the study.
Some firms have even more ambitious plans for health technology.
Google, for example, is developing a connecting contract lens which can help monitor diabetics and has set up a new company called Calico to focus on health and well-being, hinting at cooperation with rivals such as Apple. And IBM is using its Watson supercomputer for medical purposes including finding the right cancer treatment.
Ever wanted to learn from some of the world’s experts on mobile devices and health technology? And apply it towards solving international health issues? Physicians from Stanford University will re-offer their online course, Mobile Health Without Borders, addressing these topics. Their course is available to the public at no charge.
As Online Counseling Gains Popularity, Confidentiality Concerns Arise TWC News WILMINGTON -- The ease of chatting online with a counselor is gaining popularity. But is this convenient form of counseling very confidential for clients?
Google is developing a smart contact lens, with pharmaceutical giant Novartis, to help patients manage diabetes – in one of a number of moves focused squarely on billions of dollars of potential revenue available across the total digital healthcare market.
As technology moves further into treatment with remote consultations, monitoring and operations, robotic treatments, and advanced digital diagnosis, Google has seen the opportunity to apply its own eyewear technology (up until now limited as glasses called Google Glass) to the healthcare field.
Google’s 3D mobile technology and its offering around health record digitization form potential other strands of its expansion in the health market. Last month, it released the Google Fit platform to track exercise and sleep, among other health factors – but it is far from alone, as Apple and Samsung offer similar systems in that area.
Today, under a new development and licensing deal between Google and the Alcon eyewear division at Novartis, the two companies said they will create a smart contact lens that contains a low power microchip and an almost invisible, hair-thin electronic circuit. The lens can measure diabetics’ blood sugar levels directly from tear fluid on the surface of the eyeball. The system sends data to a mobile device to keep the individual informed.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin said the company wanted to use “the latest technology in ‘minituarisation’ of electronics” in order to improve people’s “quality of life”.
Eighty percent of smartphone users are interested in using their smartphones to interact with health care providers, according to a FICO survey of 2,239 adult smartphone users from the UK, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, and the United States.
The survey analyzed how consumers prefer to interact with health care providers on mobile devices, online and in-person.
Background: Mobile text messages are a widely recognized communication method in societies, as the global penetration of the technology approaches 100% worldwide. Systematic knowledge is still lacking on how the mobile telephone text messaging (short message service, SMS) has been used in health care services.
Objective: This study aims to review the literature on the use of mobile phone text message reminders in health care.
Conclusions: We can conclude that although SMS reminders are used with different patient groups in health care, SMS is less systematically studied with randomized controlled trial study design. Although the amount of evidence for SMS application recommendations is still limited, having 77% (46/60) of the studies showing improved outcomes may indicate its use in health care settings. However, more well-conducted SMS studies are still needed.
Apple’s getting serious about health, and the latest update to iOS 8’s developer beta is beefing up its health-related capabilities.
Apple released iOS 8 beta 5 today, and among the many updates, it slipped in support for spirometry data, which is a test that helps with the diagnosis of certain lung conditions by measuring the amount or speed of air a person a person inhales or exhales. (This comes alongside casual consumer capabilities, such as fitness tracking.)
Among technologists, mobile health is thriving. Since the start of 2013, more than $750 million in venture capital has been invested in companies that do everything from turn your smartphone into a blood pressure gauge to snapping medical–quality images of the inner ear. Apple, Qualcomm, Microsoft, and other corporate giants are creating mobile health products and investing in startups.
Age is not a barrier to success in treating depression and anxiety online, says a leading researcher in the field, whose multiple studies have found four in every five participants improve plus older people have higher course completion rates
An internet-delivered cognitive behavioral treatment (ICBT) based on systematic exposure exercises has previously shown beneficial effects for patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Exposure exercises may be perceived as difficult for patients to perform because of the elicited short-term distress and clinicians may be reluctant to use these interventions. The aim of this study was to compare ICBT with the same protocol without systematic exposure (ICBT-WE) to assess if exposure had any incremental value. This randomized controlled dismantling study included 309 participants diagnosed with IBS. The treatment interventions lasted for 10 weeks and included online therapist contact. ICBT-WE comprised mindfulness, work with life values, acceptance, and encouraged reduced avoidance behaviors, while ICBT also included systematic exposure to IBS symptoms and related situations. Severity of IBS symptoms was measured with the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale – IBS version (GSRS-IBS). The between-group Cohen's d on GSRS-IBS was 0.47 (95% CI: 0.23–0.70) at post-treatment and 0.48 (95% CI: 0.20–0.76) at 6-month follow-up, favoring ICBT. We conclude that the systematic exposure included in the ICBT protocol has incremental effects over the other components in the protocol. This study provides evidence for the utility of exposure exercises in psychological treatments for IBS.
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