Japan’s RFID-enabled PHR device

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 10, 2011        

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asahi-kaseiJapananese company Asahi Kasei has developed a portable device that gives users access to their health records from a computer or smartphone by connecting to these devices through short range, contactless RFID, according to a report in TechCrunch.

The device is a smart card, sized at just 3x3cm, and built on FeliCa technology, which is prominently used by Japan’s mobile operators.

The card would be useful during medical emergencies: Paramedics and emergency response doctors could instantly access vital medical information such as blood type, allergies, and medications on a smartphone or tablet in seconds by tapping the card to the mobile device.

Asahi Kasei stated that the entire medical history of patients can be accessed on the device. Large files, such as radiology images, would be accessed remotely via links on the smartphone or computer. Japanese business daily The Nikkei reports that Asahi Kasei is planning to release the device this year at a $25 price point.

Read the TechCrunch article here.

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mPHR app switches from Google to HealthVault

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 9, 2011        

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mPHR app by CTISGoogle’s shuttering of Google Health in June also affected those mobile app developers that included Google Health integration in their offerings or even as a back-end solution. One such company is CTIS, which offers a personal health record (PHR) application, called mPHR, that requires users to have a Google Health account to access its features. Now, the company is collaborating with Microsoft to integrate HealthVault into its offering. Like HealthVault, it plans to encourage users to migrate from Google Health to HealthVault to continue using the mPHR app.

The mPHR app is currently available for iOS devices and an Android version is expected to be released soon. At the end of July, CTIS said it had surpasses 600 downloads for its mPHR iPhone app.

Interestingly, the application became available in the AppStore this past March, but Google did not give the company permission to issue a press release until July. That was approximately one month after Google announced plans to shutter its PHR platform Google Health.

Google said that Google Health will officially close shop on January 1, 2012, but data stored in Google Health will continue to be available for download until January 1, 2013. (For more information on Google Health’s demise, read 10 Reasons why Google Health failed.)

While Google Health is shuttering, CTIS told MobiHealthNews that it plans to develop its application for users on the HealthVault platform for years to come.

According to the description of mPHR in Apple’s AppStore, the app “syncs with Google health, Google calendar, MobileMe, Microsoft Outlook, major pharmacies and hospital systems. If it works with Google health, it works with mPHR!” No mention yet of Microsoft HealthVault integration in the app’s description. The app was last updated in May, according to the AppStore.

The mPHR app reminds users when to take medications, get directions to their next doctor appointment, and refill a prescription. The app also enables “real-time access” to medical records and enables users to send updates to doctors and other health care professionals.

GE launches Centricity iPad EMR app

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 9, 2011        

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CentricityGE Healthcare announced this week the release of Centricity Advance Mobile, an iPad EMR app designed for primary care physicians in small practices. The app is an extension of GE Healthcare’s web-based Centricity Advance EMR offering, which focuses on practices with less than ten physicians. The app was demoed at this year’s HIMSS conference.

“This is the missing piece,” stated Dr. Medhavi Jogi, Houston Endocrinologist in a press release. “Now I can use my iPad exactly as I’d use a notepad and I don’t miss a single point of communication with the patient. Better still, it eliminates the perceived barrier that some patients feel when I’m sitting at a computer entering data. It’s a much more natural form of interaction.”

In addition to reviewing and editing patient summary information, the mobile application’s features include prescription refills, displaying lab results, answering patient emailed questions, and viewing patient demographics.

The app is a free download for Centricity Advance subscribers.

A number of EMR vendors have developed iPad apps during the past year because recent surveys indicated that about 30 percent of US physicians have tablets today. Most physicians have iPads.

DrChrono, an EMR offering designed specifically for use on the iPad, recently announced close to $700,000 in funding. While it was widely reported last week, DrChrono also now qualifies its users for stimulus incentive monies, as we reported back in June. ClearPractice is another EHR provider who offers an iPad specific version, called Nimble.

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

Frog Design: Four lessons learned on mHealth

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 8, 2011        

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Frog Design Project M

Project Masiluleke: One of the mHealth programs Frog Design has collaborated with.

At last month’s World Congress 3rd Annual Leadership Summit on mHealth, Kate Canales, creative director of Frog Design, spoke about what mHealth programs can learn from the developing world, reports SmartPlanet. Frog Design is working on a number of mHealth initiatives in developing countries. Canales’ four lessons include:

1. Get comfortable with non-clinical sources. Information shared between patients is the most valuable information in healthcare, Canales said. People are increasingly sharing health information with each other, despite physician’s reservations about the practice, and mobile technology is increasingly an enabler of this.

2. Build tools to support and extend existing “human infrastructure,” not replace it. The gaps in healthcare and self-care are filled with humans, not technology. Technology just helps. Frog Design collaborated with a community member who owned a mobile phone, who then reminded other people of when they were due for vaccinations, check-ups and other preventive visits. A new app called PatientTouch echoes the same idea; the app lets nurses customize the sorts of information that patients receive.

3. Find systems that are working to support people, then build on them. Successful initiatives usually ride on existing systems. Canales cited an organization called Prostate Net, which educates and encourages men (especially African American men) to get screened. Barbershops are one community place that the organization found to be most helpful in getting men screened.

4. Start small and learn your way to the right solutions through a deep understanding of patient and user context. Canales described an initiative in South Africa to encourage women to travel to birthing clinics by giving them a “mommy pack” of diapers and other care products started strong but then began to decline. The project leaders found that incentives (the free diapers) weren’t strong enough to offset the hour long walk the pregnant women had to make to receive them. They took this knowledge and used it in development of a mobile app that encourages HIV testing among men in South Africa, stressing anonymity in the testing as a strong incentive.

Read SmartPlanet’a coverage of Canales’ talk here.

Hospital uses QR codes for appointment booking

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 8, 2011        

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AthensAthens, Georgia-area hospital Athens Regional Health Services recently started including QR (Quick Response) codes in its print advertisements to encourage women to sign up for mammograms, according to a report from the Athens Banner-Herald. Smartphone users can take a picture of the QR code with their phones, which then send their mobile web browsers directly to the facility’s website to sign up for a mammogram appointment. In order to read QR codes, users need to download a QR scanner application.

“It came down to wanting to be able to track where people were reading about our services and pulling up our services on the website,” Courtney Alford-Pomeroy, website marketing manager for Athens Regional Medical Center told the Athens Banner-Herald. “I want to make sure that we’re targeting people in the places that are most convenient for them.”

The QR codes allow Alford-Pomeroy to figure out where visitors to the mammogram scheduling site came from and whether they scanned a QR code from a newspaper, magazine or postcard. Most people still head to the scheduling site via the facility’s website’s main page. About 15 percent of the request form’s traffic comes from QR codes, however, those women that get to the page from the QR code are more likely to complete the request form than women who found it via another route.

Athens Regional plans to keep using QR codes because people don’t need computers to use them or need to remember a long website name.

“You just scan and you’re in,” Alford-Pomeroy told the newspaper.

Apple manufacturer funds fitness watchmaker

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 5, 2011        

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wimm-weatherA new Android-powered watch platform from startup WIMM Labs features sensors that could be used for mHealth applications, reports CNET. WIMM Labs is being funded by iPhone manufacturer Foxconn, which will, not surprisingly, be manufacturing the WIMM device, too.

The watch module, which runs on a custom Android OS developed for the small display, includes WiFi, Bluetooth, an accelerometer, GPS, magnetometer, speaker, buzzer, and 30 hours of rechargeable battery life. Exposed contacts on the watches back can communicate with other accessory devices. The watch will not become a WIMM-branded product, however, instead the company plans to license the tech to other companies.

WIMM also plans to maintain an apps platform for the device. The watch can be controlled via a smartphone app or web interface.

WIMM spokesperson Tim Twerdahl stated in the article that the device can serve as fitness gear, as news readers, calendar monitors, displays for sports equipment, and as a secondary display for text message and call notifications. WIMM, which is licensing the technology to other companies, is close to signing with an undisclosed fitness brand who will sell and market the watch, the company claims.

Read the CNET report here.