Consumer brands lead the week’s noteworthy apps

By: Chris Gullo | Nov 18, 2011        

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In the last week, 250 apps published to the health and medical categories of Apple’s AppStore. By our count, 134 belonged to the health & fitness category, while 116 were found in the medical category of the AppStore.

We found eight apps of those 250 that launched this week to be noteworthy. They include offerings from three big name consumer brands, one from a well-known medical association, an ECG viewer app, a marathon training app, and more.

Both apps for medical professionals and consumers will continue to grow in the coming year. MobiHealthnews’ Professional Apps Report predicts that more than 5,000 apps will arrive by next summer. Our Consumer Health Apps Report estimates that the number of consumer Apps will exceed 13,000 apps by next summer.

eptovulatione.p.t. Ovulation Calculator – Free

Pregnancy test manufacturer e.p.t has created an ovulation tracker, Our Ovulation Calculator, for pregnancy planning. Women can track their cycles by enter the start date of their last period, average cycle length, and a preferred due date if so desired. The app will show you, in calendar and list views, which days you will be menstruating and ovulating. There is also an email reminder feature that sends a message one day before you the beginning of ovulating so that you can take advantage of this fertile time. You can add an additional email address, such as that of your spouse or significant other, that will also receive the reminder. In addition to or instead of the email reminder, you can add an ovulation notification to your phone’s calendar.

In our latest consumer apps report, MobiHealthNews found that ovulation calendar apps account for more than 4 percent of all women’s health apps with more than 30 apps. Keep reading>>


Epocrates added 40,000 physicians to its user base

By: Brian Dolan | Nov 18, 2011        

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epocrates ehrAt the end of September, Epocrates’ worldwide user base for its mobile drug reference tools topped 1.4 million healthcare professionals, of which 340,000 are US physicians, according to a recent SEC filing. The company says that figure makes up more than 50 percent of all physicians in the US. For its interactive services business, Epocrates has had the 20 top pharmaceutical companies as clients as well as 350 individual brands. Almost all of its customers are based in the US.

Epocrates said that the number of its users who are US physicians increased by about 13 percent: At the end of September 2010 the company boasted 300,000 US physician users, and that number climbed to 340,000 by the end of September 2011. Epocrates said that the substantial growth in physician users was because of physician adoption of iPhone and Android devices. While Epocrates expects its overall user base to increase, it will do so by a lower rate than was experienced this past year. In other words, it seems Epocrates believes that the rate of physician adoption of smartphones was unusually aggressive over the course of the last year and it may slow down over the course of the next 12 months.

Not surprisingly, the majority of Epocrates users have downloaded its free apps, while users who paid for a subscription to Epocrates premium offerings decreased from 15 percent at the end of September 2010 to 13 percent at the end of September 2011.

“We expect paid users to represent a decreasing percentage of total active users,” Epocrates stated in its filing. “As a result, we expect revenues from subscriptions to our premium products to decrease as a percentage of total revenue in the future.” Keep reading>>

Today’s health apps webinar

By: Brian Dolan | Nov 17, 2011        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsTwo important announcements this morning:

First up, we are busy this morning getting prepped for our webinar later today. We’ll be discussing health and medical apps and tracking efforts to determine health apps’ effectiveness. My presentation will include some exclusive metrics from our recent apps reports as well as some new data we’ve been collecting this past week. Kyle Dolbow, EVP, Preventice will also share his take on what makes a health app effective. Already 900 MobiHealthNews readers have signed up to attend the complimentary online event later today so we’re expecting lots of great questions in the Q&A that follows the presentations. We’ll kick things off at 2PM EST / 11AM PST today. Complimentary Registration

Second: Next week expect your MobiHealthNews newsletter to hit you inboxes a day early. Since Thanksgiving is next Thursday here in the US, we are moving our publishing schedule up so that you can read the week’s MobiHealthNews come Wednesday morning.

Catholic West inks $4.3M deal with AirStrip

By: Brian Dolan | Nov 17, 2011        

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AirstripOBThe fifth largest health system in the US, Catholic Healthcare West, has inked a $4.3 million 3-year deal with AirStrip Technologies to use the company’s AirStripOB application at 32 of its system’s hospitals. AirStripOB was the very first iPhone app to receive medical device clearance from the FDA.

AirStripOB gives physicians mobile access to data from fetal monitors, like fetal heartbeats, maternal contraction patterns and vital signs, as well as from the care facility’s labor and delivery documentation system. AirStripOB is available for iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, and Android devices. The app enables doctors to remotely monitor patients and see up to four hours of data.

Out of CHW’s 40 hospitals, 32 will implement AirStripOB since those are the ones that have birthing facilities. CHW piloted AirStrip at two of its California hospitals, Mercy Medical Center and Sequoia Hospital.

The hospitals within CHW’s system are just 40 of the some 200 hospitals that AirStrip’s CEO Alan Portela said the company signed on as customers in the past year: “That’s more than we added in the first 5 years of the company,” Portela said at an industry event in Brussels this past September.

At the event Portela also offered up a compelling and simply analogy for how he views mobile clinical apps and EMRs:

“EMRs are platforms,” Portela said. “The same way that your computer has an [operating system] — EMRs are the OS. You benefit from the apps that you put on top of the OS, while you don’t benefit so much from the OS. I gave this talk at Microsoft recently — they didn’t like that line so much.” Not surprisingly, Portela believes that the value of health information systems will be realized on mobile devices: “Mobile will enhance every aspect of the EMR you deploy” and ”all physicians will have smartphones by 2013,” he said.

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For more on the CHW deal with AirStrip, check out the press release below: Keep reading>>

iPad setback at Seattle Children’s is but a minor growing pain

By: Neil Versel | Nov 17, 2011        

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Neil VerselWhen Apple introduced the iPad in January 2010, Steve Jobs (R.I.P.) called the touch-screen tablet “magical and revolutionary.” The word “magical” appeared in an Apple commercial a few months later when iPads first hit—and flew off the shelves of—stores.

The pace at which healthcare professionals, particularly physicians, have embraced the iPad is nothing short of revolutionary, too. More than 30 percent of U.S. doctors now own one, according to both Manhattan Research and Chilmark Research. Apple itself has said that more than 80 percent of the “top hospitals” (whatever that means) in the U.S. are using iPads.

But as the Gartner hype cycle has shown time and again, the initial excitement inevitably wanes as growing pains crop up. That’s starting to happen with the iPad in medicine.

As CIO magazine reported last week, iPads failed miserably in a test at Seattle Children’s Hospital. “Every one of the clinicians returned the iPad, saying that it wasn’t going to work for day-to-day clinical work,” CTO Wes Wright was quoted as saying. “The EMR apps are unwieldy on the iPad.”

Granted, Seattle Children’s made its doctors access the Cerner EMR not through a native iPad app but via the Safari Web browser. Certain elements of the EMR were designed for viewing on 21-inch monitors, not the 9.7-inch iPad. (Come to think of it, this is the same reason Independa offers a 22-inch touch-screen desktop PC as an alternative to its much smaller Android tablet for its home-health monitoring system.)

Keep reading>>

S. African insurer adds billing to mobile health plan

By: Neil Versel | Nov 17, 2011        


In so-called “low resource” areas of the world, flexibility often is the key to sustainability. That’s why we noticed a recent deal between health insurer Sanlam Healthcare Management and systems integrator GlobeTOM, both of South Africa, to provide a billing platform for a new line of mobile healthcare services.

GlobeTOM will offer pre- and post-paid options and the capability to track transactions from multiple service providers over differing telecommunications networks through a package known as convergent billing. “Without a secure pre- and post-paid convergent billing gateway, third-party service providers will find the revenue assurance aspect of the mobile market quite complex and challenging,” GlobeTOM Managing Director Philip Stander said in a story that appeared on the site of the Africa Com telecommunications conference series.

“Convergent billing and revenue assurance in this sense, is as important to third party service providers and mobile networks as a watertight tax collection process is to a government,” Stander added.

Back in January, Sanlam entered into an agreement with MTN Group, a telecommunications company serving 21 African countries, to deliver various health-related services to mobile phones. These programs include MTN Care Connect, a 24-hour hotline that connects the general public to health information delivered by nurses. Users pay by the minute, and the GlobeTOM technology will allow for proper charges, whether the caller has a prepaid phone account or receives a monthly bill.

Late last year, Sanlam entered into an agreement with two healthcare information providers to deliver EHR, diagnostic and health insurance services to MTN subscribers. Both MTN and Sanlam have promised additional m-health applications, including for the collection of clinical and public-health data from remote, underserved locations and real-time monitoring of patient vital signs.

More news was to have been forthcoming earlier this year, but it seems as if this GlobeTOM deal might fill in a missing piece, namely the revenue element.

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