Blood pressure peripheral heading to Apple store?

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 4, 2011        

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iHealth Blood Pressure iPhoneiHealth Lab, which announced the iHealth Blood Pressure Monitoring System for iPhone today, expects to have the blood pressure arm cuff and iPhone docking station peripheral on Apple Store shelves in the coming weeks. iHealth’s offering includes a battery-powered hardware dock, blood pressure arm cuff and a corresponding app. iHealth enables users to self-monitor their blood pressure at home and share the results with friends, family or care providers. The system works with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

The app helps users view their blood pressure numbers, track the trend and run reports. iHealth plans to create a suite of personal healthcare devices for Apple devices.

“Empowering people to manage their personal healthcare is our passion,” said Yi Liu, CEO, iHealth Lab. “The future of health management starts with the individual. By identifying how daily activities affect one’s vitals like blood pressure and heart rate, people can be more proactive about their personal healthcare.”

While the iHealth app is free, the blood pressure arm cuff and corresponding docking station is currently available at iHealth99.com for $99.95. No official announcement has been made on whether or when the device will hit Apple Store shelves or if the price will change if and when it does. If iHealth succeeds in grabbing shelf space, it would be the first health-related device in Apple Stores. According to a blog post over at Forbes, iHealth’s parent company is Andon Health, a Chinese company that develops conventional blood pressure monitors found in drug stores.

More over at the iHealth site here

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Sutter Health offers patients app for medical record access

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 4, 2011        

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MyChartNorthern California-based not-for-profit healthcare provider Sutter Health is now offering an iPhone application to its patients that enables them to access their medical records. The application, MyChart for iPhone, was developed by Epic Systems. The app interfaces with Sutter’s Epic Systems electronic medical records (EMR) system to provide a Sutter Health network patient “instant access to his or her electronic health record” via an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

The app enables patients to send secure messages to their doctor, check “most” lab and test results, view appointments, receive health reminders, and access a health summary.

In September we reported that Dean Clinic, a Wisconsin-based healthcare provider, had made Epic’s MyChart for iPhone application available to its patients.

“As our patients embark on a new year of wellness goals, Sutter Health is proud to be their partner in health and introduce new ways to help them manage their personal health. Through the MyChart app, we’re giving patients the tools they need right at their fingertips,” Dr. Albert Chan a family medicine physician with Sutter-affiliated Palo Alto Medical Foundation stated in a press release. “Access to the MyChart app complements a variety of unique patient needs and lifestyles. With the ability to view personal health data and connect a patient with his or her health care provider – where and when they need to – we’re putting a patient’s health record in the palms of his or her hands.”

The app is available to patients of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation, Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation, Sutter Gould Medical Foundation, and Sutter Medical Foundation.

For more read this Sutter Health press release

WSJ: Four apps for caregivers

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 4, 2011        

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TellMyGeoWhile most health-related smartphone applications are pitched at users looking to take better care of themselves or healthcare professionals seeking efficiency tools, a precious few are intended for use by caregivers of sick family members or friends. The Wall Street Journal rounded up four such apps in today’s edition, which also features some metrics from MobiHealthNews most recent apps report, The Fastest Growing and Most Successful Health & Medical Apps. Here’s a brief rundown on the four caregiver apps featured in the WSJ:

Tell My Geo is an application for Android devices that costs $9.95 per month per phone. Tell My Geo provides emergency responders with access to the users medical history via the phone, but it also acts as a geolocator for caregivers of seniors with early signs of Alzheimer’s or others with autism, mental illness and other ailments that can cause people to become confused about their own whereabouts.

Personal Caregiver is a free iPhone application that purports to do what many other health apps do — track medications. Personal Caregiver enables a caregiver to schedule and track medications for up to three people. The $9.99 premium edition includes recall alerts from the FDA and more detailed medication info.

Pain Care is a free app for iPhone, Android and (soon) BlackBerry devices that enables users to track pain levels, location, duration, mood and more. According to the WSJ, the data can then be shared with a physician instantly.

iBiomed is a free iPhone app created by Dr. Kwame Iwegbue and his wife Florence that helps them care for for their own special-needs children with autism, seizure disorder, asthma and allergies. In addition to the expected tracking capabilities, the app also enables users to share stories and solicit advice from other caregivers through an online forum.

Read the Wall Street Journal report (sub. req.)
Read the extended version over at MarketResearch

Sprint brings 3G connectivity to fitness device

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 3, 2011        

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BodyMedia Fit ArmbandA new partnership with BodyMedia shows that Sprint has finally woken up to the consumer health opportunity.

BodyMedia, which develops connected fitness devices and mobile applications, has inked a deal with mobile operator Sprint to embed 3G cellular connectivity into its BodyMedia FIT Armband. BodyMedia already offers a number of devices that help users track calorie burn, activity levels and sleep, but those devices transmit data to users’ nearby phones via Bluetooth. The new deal with Sprint enables BodyMedia’s devices to continuously transmit the collected fitness data to the user’s mobile phone no matter where it is.

In July 2009 we noted that Sprint had been supporting the healthcare industry for some 30 years but that support has largely focused on helping physicians and hospital staff become more efficient. To date, the opportunity to leverage the mobile phone and other wireless technologies to further the rise of the empowered patient is an opportunity that third party apps and other mobile operators have done more to realize than Sprint. Sprint has offered the industry Celio’s Redfly mobile companion device for physicians, mVisum’s EKG mobile app, Calgary Scientific’s Resolution MD imaging app for physicians, AirStrip’s mobile vital sign monitoring apps for clinicians, and many more.

The Sprint 3G-enabled BodyMedia FIT Armband is compatible with three Android phones that run on the Sprint network: LG Optimus S, Sanyo Zio and Samsung Transform. The apps, which are set to be officially unveiled at this week’s CES event in Las Vegas, will be free to Sprint subscribers who have one of the phones above as well as an Everything Data plan. The New York Times notes that BodyMedia’s current Armband devices carry a monthly subscription fee.

Sprint stated that BodyMedia FIT Armbands are already an “important part” of Sprint’s employee health and wellness program, which echoes recent news that WellDoc’s DiabetesManager will become available to a select group within AT&T’s employee population.

“We’ve just taken our first baby-steps into mobile platforms with the recent launch of our Bluetooth-enabled Armband,” Christine Robins, CEO of BodyMedia stated in a release. “With Sprint as our development partner, we now have the opportunity to create an innovative platform of wireless body monitoring systems that will revolutionize the body monitoring industry.”

For more on the BodyMedia deal with Sprint, read the press release
Also, read this NY Times article for other details

Top 10 Mobile Health Stories of 2010

By: Brian Dolan | Dec 30, 2010        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsWhen it comes to popular MobiHealthNews stories in 2010, medical-related news about tablet devices dominated. Apps-related news continues to be a popular topic of discussion, but tablet news overtook apps news overall in 2010.

Four of our Top 10 Mobile Health Stories of 2010 are focused on tablets, including Apple’s iPad, the BlackBerry Playbook and Cisco’s Cius. Two apps related stories also made the list — Epic Systems iPhone EHR app, Haiku and Mobile MIM, the iPhone app that was denied 510(k). The launch of Epic’s Haiku app was our most widely read story of 2010.

Remember, these are the stories that appealed to the largest number of our readers during the course of the past year, but they aren’t necessarily the most important. The MobiHealthNews team will begin reflecting on the past year come January. For now, revisit the most popular stories of 2010:

1. Epic Systems launches iPhone EHR app, Haiku – January 13, 2010: After months of rumors, news that Epic Systems, which develops electronic health records systems announced that a partnership with Apple had led to the creation of Haiku, an iPhone app for EHR access. Haiku was by no means the first EHR app to come to the market, but at the time it launched it generated a lot of buzz. The Wall Street Journal had been teasing the partnership between Apple and Epic in a series of articles leading up to the Haiku launch. Article Keep reading>>

Mobile Health Roundup: Ericsson; AstraZeneca

By: Brian Dolan | Dec 29, 2010        

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wireless201012_figureMobile only households continue to rise: Surprise, surprise! Mobile only households continue to rise as use of landline phones declines. Preliminary results from the January-June 2010 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) indicate that more than one of every four American homes (26.6 percent) had only mobile phones. The survey includes data current as of the first half of 2010. It marks an increase of 2.1 percentage points since the second half of 2009. Even those homes with landlines don’t necessarily use them too often: Nearly one of every six American homes 15.9 percent received all or almost all calls on wireless telephones despite having a landline. NHIS

Another challenge for smartphones in clinical settings: Physicians and other healthcare providers using mobile phones are assumed to be “goofing off” even if they’re actually using them for medical apps. It’s been dubbed the “iPhone Attribution Error.” 33 Charts

Saudi Arabian mobile operator teams with Ericsson: Mobile operator Mobily has created a “proof of concept” mHealth service along with Ericsson and a “major” healthcare provider in Saudi Arabia. The service reportedly leverages sensors to remotely monitor vital signs and provides healthcare providers with relevant data and alerts. Details seem to be scant, but it’s also only a proof of concept. Arab News

AstraZeneca UK launched its first app for Apple devices: The app is an education resource for clinicians on epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene-testing in lung cancer. “There is a clear appetite amongst patients and healthcare professionals for more information and opportunities to communicate with providers… we will continue to explore the opportunities that mobile technologies could bring to AstraZeneca,” an AstraZeneca spokesperson told Chemist + Druggist

Mobile health hype in review: CNET put together a post on the mobile health-related news it covered throughout 2010, including much-hyped headlines on remote diagnostics, remote eye exams, mobile phone-powered microscopes and more. CNET

European mobile health video: BBC News has a sprawling but short (about 4 minutes) video on a handful of mobile health and connected health tools in the market today, including a number of services being piloted by mobile operators in Europe. Video