Affectiva releases Bluetooth-enabled emotional arousal sensor

By: Chris Gullo | Dec 1, 2011        

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Q Sensor 2.0Affectiva released the second generation of its Q Sensor this week, a wearable wireless biosensor that measures emotional arousal (excitement, anxiety, and calm) via skin conductance, as well as temperature and movement. The Q Sensor 2.0 adds Bluetooth functionality and the ability for its real-time emotion data to integrate with third-party mobile apps.

The Q Sensor 2.0 lists for $2,000, including activity software for Mac and Windows, with bulk and educational discounts available. As an example of its potential applications, the company highlighted in a press release a Stanford University team that is using the Q Sensor 2.0 “to prototype responsive games that offer new challenges to keep people engaged based on their arousal level.”

Affectiva was founded in 2009 by two MIT scientists and started as a research project on autism at MIT’s Media Lab. The company received a $5.7 million second round of financing this summer, led by WPP’s insight group Kantar and Myrian Capital, who now have seats on Affectiva’s board of directors. At the time, the company said it intended to use the funding to develop the Q Sensor 2.0 as well as its Affdex emotion-tracking software. Another Media Lab start-up, Ginger.io, is developing similar software for mobile devices that aims to give pharma companies and providers detailed data on patient behavior to more effectively target new drugs and therapies.

“We brought research-quality EDA data together with the mobile, wearable features researchers love and real-time Bluetooth technology that opens up a whole new field of applications,” stated Dave Berman, CEO of Affectiva, in a press release. “The Q Sensor 2.0 makes it easy to add a real-time emotion measurement dimension to your research and clinical practice.”

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Read the press release after the jump. Keep reading>>

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RSNA highlights potentially disruptive mobile technology for radiologists

By: Neil Versel | Dec 1, 2011        

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Neil_Versel_LargeIs it me, or is radiology outpacing pretty much every other specialty in the mobile arena?

There has been a lot of news about imaging apps this week, mostly because the Radiological Society of North America is holding its annual meeting right now. The massive event, one of the two biggest healthcare meetings in the world, regularly draws 60,000 people or more to Chicago’s McCormick Place the week after Thanksgiving—right about the time most sane people would be seeking warmer climes. (Why anyone would want to be anywhere near O’Hare International Airport on the Sunday after Thanksgiving also escapes me—and I live in Chicago.)

Work commitments prevented me from making the 8-mile trek down the lakefront to RSNA, but I still get plenty of the press releases coming out of the conference, which typically fills at least two of the cavernous halls of the largest convention center in the country with displays including mobile MRIs on semitrailers parked right on the exhibit floor. Seriously, you know it’s big when you have to consult the map to find Cerner’s booth.

But I digress. Even with the oversized vendor fortresses, small, mobile devices have been making their way into radiology for years. As early as 2004, I reported about viewing images on the since-discontinued iPod Photo, the first iPod model that could display digital pictures. Mobile medical image viewing has evolved as Apple technology has progressed, first to video-capable iPods, then to the iPhone and now, of course, to the iPad. Keep reading>>

Mobile, social, fun: Games for Health

By: Brian Dolan | Dec 1, 2011        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsThis week MobiHealthNews offered up a complimentary report, Mobile Social Fun: Games For Health, which we produced in collaboration with independent analyst Bonnie Feldman. Any one who has attended a mobile health event this past year has likely noticed the increasingly common talk of health gaming, gamification, game mechanics, and so on. It’s quickly becoming the go-to strategy for startups working to engage consumers in their own health. And, for the most part, that’s a good thing. When appropriate — why not make healthcare fun?

“Healthcare, in of itself, is boring, while gaming is exciting, fun and addicting,” Qualcomm’s Vice President of Wireless Health, Global Strategy and Market Development Don Jones said. “Applying game theory — gamification — to health apps, you can capture the consumer’s imagination and engage them in their own health.”

The report’s author, Bonnie Feldman sums up the overall trend nicely in the opening pages of the report:

“Given the widespread adoption of mobile phones and social networks in addition to the popularity of casual gaming, those focused on improving health outcomes see an opportunity to leverage these technologies to drive health behavior change. Admittedly, this sector is still in its early days, but given the trends towards anytime, anywhere and personalized information with group influence, we expect that use of games, game mechanics and gamification will increase in healthcare services.”

Get your complimentary copy of the report here.

I’ll be discussing the social and gaming trends in mobile health in one of the panels I’ll be moderating at next week’s mHealth Summit in Washington DC. My other panels include an mHealth 101 session focused on mobile health regulatory bodies and a discussion focused on how to align “function, business, policy, and regulation” in mHealth. Between those three sessions I expect we’ll have it all figured out by mid-week. Please send suggested questions for my panelists before the event or tweet them at me here: @MobileHealth and I’ll try to ask them on-stage next week.

The MobiHealthNews team will be out in DC in full-force along with our good friends from ListenIn Pictures, who shot and produced our video What is mHealth? at last year’s mHealth Summit.

We hope to see a lot of familiar faces next week and meet a good many more in between sessions and on the show floor.

Report: 44M health app downloads in 2012

By: Brian Dolan | Nov 30, 2011        

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iBGStar Sanofi Aventis Agamatrix diabetes blood glucose meterAccording to a new report from UK-based Juniper Research, the number of downloads for health-related apps in 2012 will total 44 million by the end of next year. The research firm also predicts that the number of health app downloads will jump to 142 million by 2016. Considering the Apple AppStore only launched about three years ago (mid-2008), a prediction for app downloads five years from now is certainly a risky one.

Juniper Research also stated that hardware peripherals that attach to smartphones will “greatly extend the capabilities” of health apps. That much is true. Glooko, Withings, iHealth, and Entra Health all enable users to connect health devices, like weight scales, blood pressure monitors, glucose meters, and more to smartphones. Mobisante recently commercially launched its ultrasound probe peripheral, Mobius, which connects to Windows Mobile devices today and plans to connect to some Android devices in the future. Agamatrix has launched its iPhone glucose meter, the Nugget, through a partnership with Sanofi in Europe (US launch still pending FDA clearance). AliveCor’s much anticipated iPhoneECG case plans to launch in 2012 and close to a dozen fitness devices in various stages of commercialization have companion apps for smartphone users.

Juniper’s estimate of 142 million health app downloads in 2016 falls a bit short of the 600 million downloads worldwide that a Pyramid Research report from 2010 expected by 2012.

Other details from the Juniper report in the press release below: Keep reading>>

Voice input for medical apps to trend?

By: Chris Gullo | Nov 30, 2011        

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Nuance Dragon Medical Search iPhone AppTouchscreen devices will never catch up to the speed of typing on keyboards, but speech recognition technology can help such devices bridge that gap. That’s the mindset of Nuance’s Jonathon Dreyer, senior manager of mobile solutions marketing at the company’s healthcare division:

“I definitely think voice will be the primary form of input into these mobile devices,” Dreyer told MobiHealthNews recently.

Nuance first entered the apps market two years ago with the launch of its Dragon Mobile Medical Search and Dragon Medical Recorder, free applications that were complementary to its desktop products for healthcare. In February, it launched the Nuance Mobile Healthcare Development Platform, a cloud-based service that allows third parties — software developers at vendor companies as well as hospital providers (internal IT labs at hospitals or provider facilities) — to rapidly integrate speech recognition into their mobile device or web client. Next year, the service will expand to Europe with 23 additional supported languages.

Dreyer said that its development platform has “pretty good traction” now that it’s been about eight months since its launch. More than 100 developers have signed on and around “a couple dozen” Nuance-enabled apps will arrive before the end of the year, Dreyer said. “The biggest thing holding up app developers [for our platform] is approval of their apps [from Apple],” he said. The main types of apps using Nuance are point of care and reference, while other categories include pharma, clinical trials, education programs, patient communications, and disease management apps. Dreyer believes that these categories will eventually change: “These things will morph over time, and we’ll see new categories emerge, as well as categories we thought were categories turn out to not be categories.”

The vast majority of Nuance-enabled apps are for Apple’s iOS devices. “I’ve seen a growth in the number of Android developers, but it’s still significantly less than iOS,” Dreyer said. “It might come down to the fact that a significant amount of clinical professionals own [iOS] devices for personal use.” However, Dreyer doesn’t think Apple’s lead in the marketplace is set in stone. “If a company can claim its device is more secure — that it is more tailored to the market — it can help them lock in that lead.”

“I’ve read so many reports recently that complain that [medical apps] are unusable,” Dreyer said. While adding voice recognition to a medical app may make it a little easier to use, it doesn’t necessarily make it a good app.

“If the app sucks, the app sucks,” Dreyer said. “There’s not too much we can do about it.”

GE Centricity Radiology app receives FDA nod

By: Chris Gullo | Nov 30, 2011        

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GEGE Healthcare’s Centricity Radiology Mobile Access 2.0 app received FDA (510k) clearance this week, the company announced in a press release. The mobile imaging application is a free download for Apple iOS devices and is cleared for remote viewing of computed tomography and magnetic resonance exams.

Centricity Radiology Mobile Access 2.0 accesses images and reports from the Centricity PACS (picture archiving and communication system) platform remotely, with no data downloaded to the phone. The company says that one in five radiology exams in the US is stored on its Centricity platform. The first mobile radiology app to receive FDA clearance, Mobile MIM, was cleared in February of this year. The FDA cleared Calgary Scientific’s ResolutionMD app earlier this month.

“This application and its diagnostic clearance provide further validation of our continued investment in our Centricity PACS platform,” stated Don Woodlock, Vice President and General Manager of GE Healthcare IT, in a press release. “As a native application for the Apple iOS and Android operating systems, Centricity Radiology Mobile Access requires very little training and, we believe, provides a more productive user experience versus an emulated Windows application that was designed to be driven by a mouse.”

UPDATE: A GE Healthcare representative has informed MobiHealthNews that while Woodlock mentioned an Android native app in the quote above, GE Healthcare’s Centricity Radiology Mobile Access 2.0 app is available and FDA (510k) cleared for diagnostic use on the Apple iPad and iPhone only. There is an Android app available, but it is not cleared for diagnostic use by the FDA and is actually an earlier version of the app.

GE released its Centricity Advance Mobile this summer, an iPad EMR app designed for primary care physicians in small practices. That app is an extension of GE Healthcare’s web-based Centricity Advance EMR offering, which focuses on practices with less than ten physicians.

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Read the GE radiology app press release below. Keep reading>>