Post image for AT&T pilots a cloud-based medical image system

Recent advances in cloud computing will revolutionize how individuals and companies store and access data. The “cloud” has many implications for mHealth, with the potential to increase efficiency and cut costs for both patients and providers.

Last week, AT&T announced that Baptist Health System in Alabama and Henry Ford Health System in Michigan have signed on to pilot the new cloud-based medical imaging and information management service. With this system, physicians will be able to access images quickly, regardless of which device took the image. AT&T claims that this system will both lower costs for health systems and increase physicians’ access to diagnostic imaging.

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Post image for Master the abdominal exam with a new medical app from Answers in Medicine

A strong abdominal exam is a must-have clinical skill for an aspiring healthcare professional.  Diagnoses spanning cirrhosis, appendicitis, hernias, peritonitis, aortic aneurysms, and cholecystitis, for example, can be suspected and even made via abdominal exam.

Unfortunately, secondary to factors which include an increasing dependence on imaging and other diagnostics, time constraints in the practice of medicine, and fewer chances for bedside instruction in medical education with work-hour regulations, physicians rely increasingly less on their physical exam skills today than has been the case in the past.

In that manner, here we review the Answers in Abdominal Examination App, released in May 2011 by Answers in Medicine.  Answers in Medicine, which specializes in presenting medical content via short modules in audio or video format for healthcare professionals, has developed a number of medical apps, including Answers in Alcoholic Liver Disease, Answers in Ulcerative Colitis, Answers in Crohn’s Disease, Answers in Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Answers in Dyspepsia, to name several.

As you may surmise, Answers in Medicine represents a prolific developer of Gastroenterology- and Hepatology-related content, and boasts an impressive collection of contributors from major academic medical centers in the United Kingdom.  This app, in particular, was created by Owen Epstein, Professor of Gastroenterology at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

Read below the jump to learn more about how the Answers in Abdominal Examination app can help you master the abdominal history and physical exam.

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Post image for Why “free” Epocrates and Medscape aren’t really free medical apps for Physicians

Medical apps are becoming big business. Epocrates is now a publicly traded company worth nearly $500 million. Medscape is owned by WebMD, another publicly traded company worth nearly $3 billion. Despite the clearly powerful financial factors at play here, the most popular and comprehensive apps are free. Even for fee-based apps, the prices and volumes don’t explain the overall financial pictures of the companies behind them. Clearly the money is not coming from the physicians, medical students, and other healthcare professionals who are using these apps.

In the past ten years, there has been a growing movement to restrict marketing of drugs to physicians by pharmaceutical companies. As a result of programs like the PharmFree project, traditional marketing avenues like free samples, sponsored dinners, and so on have become far more limited. And so naturally, pharmaceutical companies have looked to new avenues through which to reach physicians.

So what’s the connection to your favorite apps?

Epocrates was one of the first medical apps, a mainstay on the Palm devices of physicians over a decade ago, and remains one of the highest quality and most popular medical apps available. In the past, access required a rather substantial subscription fee. However, recent company filings note that the subscription base has shrunk substantially, with far more users opting for the free app. And yet the company is recording tremendous growth. A statement in the companies recent SEC filing makes it clear how:

Through our interactive services, we provide the healthcare industry, primarily pharmaceutical companies, access to our user network to deliver targeted information and conduct market research in a cost-effective manner.

These targeted services include the features that many users have seen develop in recent years. DocAlerts are short clinical updates which can be sponsored by pharmaceutical companies (e.g. Lipitor manufacturer Pfizer sponsoring an alert related to heart disease); the virtual pharmaceutical representative service allows physicians to reach companies for drug samples and product information; formulary hosting for insurance companies allows physicians to identify coverage for medications they prescribe. (read more)

Post image for Pfizer’s mobile & web based clinical trial could attract a more diverse patient population

Pfizer has announced the first “virtual clinical trial” pilot in the US that will utilize mobile and web technology to assess the safety and efficacy of Detrol LA, Pfizer’s extended release treatment for overactive bladder.

With this pilot, Pfizer hopes to improve the efficiency of clinical trials while cutting costs by having participants report results remotely, without having to visit trial sites. The REMOTE project (Research on Electronic Monitoring of OAB Treatment Experience) will attempt to replicate results of a traditional Phase IV study that Pfizer completed on the same drug.
A mobile based clinical trial has the potential to greatly improve the drug testing process for both patients and pharmaceutical companies. Recruiters could target much more diverse populations, including those who have traditionally been excluded because of factors such as travel to and from clinical appointments.

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Post image for NYU medical centers implement biometric patient identification, why physicians should love it

As anyone who has visited a doctor’s office or emergency room knows, there is an ample amount of paperwork to fill out; ranging from registration to medical history to insurance information.

While this information is necessary especially for initial visits, for those who are going for repeat visits to the same doctor’s office or emergency room, it can seem tedious and redundant.  For those hoping for a solution, the answer can be found right in the palm of their hands.

In an attempt to improve patient safety and cut down on the possibility of miscommunication, NYU’s Langone Medical Center has introduced PatientSecure.  The biometric technology from HT Systems allows NYU to utilize vein-scanning technology – which the vendor claims is 100 times more accurate than fingerprinting – to identify patients.

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At iMedicalApps we have experienced tremendous growth over the last year, and are now the most popular mobile medical publication written by health care professionals. To help with this growth and to manage the many new exciting projects we have in the pipeline, we are looking for summer interns to help!

Some of the responsibilities:

  • Manage the content that comes from our team of writers
  • Help manage upgrades to the website, prioritizing tasks and tracking deadlines
  • Help with creation new types of content, such as webinars, and manage activities with our content partners
  • Help with other new projects iMedicalApps is in the process of launching

What we’re looking for:

  • Self motivated individuals
  • Ability to seek opportunities and set goals — if you need close supervision, this is probably not a good environment for you, we are a start up after all
  • Medical background is preferred, but by no means a deal breaker
  • An understanding of the nuances of mobile technology — If you’re not a tech enthusiast then this isn’t for you
  • Strong writing skills are essential

What you’d get out of it:

  • Opportunity to get an inside look into the burgeoning sector of mobile medicine
  • Opportunity to be part of a rapidly growing start up
  • Paid internship
  • We’re looking to hire a part time / full time employee(s) this fall, and this could be a gateway to that position.

If interested, e-mail us your resume and why you’d like to contribute to: contact [at] imedicalapps [dot] com ; or use our contact page.

 

Post image for Genetics 4Medics presents a focused approach to genetic diseases, but may have limited utility for most practitioners

The field of genetic medicine is growing at an exponential pace as a very specialized field that requires its practitioners to integrate basic science, thorough familiarity with ongoing research, and clinical knowledge. While manageable for a specialist, it is a field that is poorly understood and applied by many other healthcare providers.

Genetics 4Medics by Apps4Medics Ltd presents an app that attempts to present an often-confusing set of diseases in a simple and easy format.  Accessed through the iPhone, the developers created this app with medical students and physicians in mind.  However well-meaning their intentions, would the app deliver to the everyday clinician?

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Post image for The revered CHEST Journal, now an app for the iPhone & iPad, gets reviewed

Earlier this month we reviewed the free ACCP-SEEK app from the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), concluding the app represented an “outstanding resource” to assist with preparation for the pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine board exams.  Today we review the ACCP’s other app, the mobile version of the prestigious CHEST journal.

CHEST is the official peer-reviewed publication of the ACCP, and publishes research advancements throughout the multidisciplinary umbrella of chest medicine, which includes pulmonology, critical care, sleep medicine, cardiorespiratory interactions, thoracic surgery, transplantation, and airways disease.  Monthly readership numbers are over 30,000, and the acceptance rate has run 9-13% since 2005.

Among the 43 respiratory journals, CHEST ranks 3rd in impact factor and 2nd in total citations.  Other features of CHEST include sections on recent advances in chest medicine, chest imaging and pathology, topics in practice management, medical writing tips, and pulmonary and critical care pearls.

Read below the jump to learn more about how CHEST Mobile helps deliver CHEST content to your mobile device (iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad).

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Post image for Apple finally joins Bluetooth standards group, could usher in new era of bluetooth medical devices

Today, the Bluetooth special interest group (SIG) announced the addition of Apple and Nordic Semiconductor as members of the organization’s board of directors.  Many of the larger tech companies, especially mobile device makers, have been a part of the board for some time — such as Motorola, Nokia, Ericsson, and others.

This is a big deal for the mobile medical peripheral industry because Apple currently uses a proprietary bluetooth system to interact wirelessly with devices.  The hope is with Apple finally on the board, they will help set ubiquitous standards, enabling medical peripheral devices to communicate with not only their iOS devices, but other mobile platforms as well, and vice versa.

The new push from the Bluetooth SIG is bluetooth 4.0, a bluetooth protocol that takes extremely low battery power.  We spoke with the Bluetooth SIG executive director Mike Foley last year — where a focus of his discussion was how Bluetooth 4.0 standards were basically meant to usher in a new era of low energy  wireless medical peripheral devices.

Unfortunately, Apple’s track record is marked with propriety standards (excluding WebKit), but their willingness to join the board may be a serious push towards creating ubiquitous wireless medical peripheral devices that can communicate with any type of mobile phone.

Obviously, a ubiquitous standard would help device makers with economies of scale, and would incentivize them to produce more innovative products.

When the announcement of iHealth and Withings iPhone connected blood pressure cuffs was made was much fanfare at CES, we were quick to mention how we were huge fans of the technology — but thought the tools were a bit overhyped, leading our original article to have many comments, from those agreeing and disagreeing.

While the iHealth BP cuff has been out for awhile, even available in the Apple Store, it’s competitor, Withings, has finally launched their own version.  Below is a video of Engadget testing the BP cuff in the field.

Incidentally, we’ve been working on a full review of the iHealth BP cuff, which we will post later this week.

Via Medgadget

Post image for Pocket Body iPad Anatomy app helps improve anatomical understanding

According to iTunes: “Award winning Pocket Body features a fully anatomically accurate human character with nine layers of musculoskeletal and neurovascular content…plus over 30,000 words of learning material.”

Pocket Body [Musculoskeletal] demonstrates the full range of capabilities of the iPad. This medical app has recently undergone a major update. It now includes information on nerves, arteries and veins as well as an improved lateral view.

Read after the break to see why it’s become one of our favorite anatomy apps.

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Post image for Pediatric Emergency Drugs is designed to help in critical pediatric emergencies

by: Mohamed Gaffoor, MD

Pediatric Emergency Drugs is designed to be a quick med list calculator for pediatric emergencies. For folks who deal with pediatric emergencies have the challenge of not only determining the proper drugs to use, but also to get the dosage right by age.

At the first page you are met with a screen to enter the age of the child and either allow the program to pick the estimated weight or put your own weight in. This is a nice feature as often in pediatric emergencies patients arrive through the door needing immediate care and a weight is unavailable. The estimated weight it appears to pick is the 50% for a boy of the selected age. Allowing you to pick the gender of the child would be helpful in narrowing down the weight a little further since girls of a given age would weigh a little less.  Another option would be to allow the use of Broselow colors. These days the standard for most ERs is the Broselow tape which is a plastic foldable tape that doses based on length.

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