Post image for Hospital hand washing compliance improved using a mobile app

By: Ankur Gupta, MS1

According to a study presented at the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America’s annual meeting, the iScrub app for iPhone and iPod Touch is effective in increasing hand hygiene compliance among healthcare workers. The iScrub app improves over conventional systems to monitor hand hygiene by eliminating the need for extra staffing and transcription of observation data.

More importantly it provides instant feedback to users, as opposed to to older systems that had lag times of a couple weeks, or even a full month. When implemented at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics over 34 weeks, the iScrub app was shown to statistically increase compliance.

Hand hygiene is a topic at the forefront of patient safety – iPhone apps such as iScrub, if implemented effectively, have the potential to improve patient outcomes in a simple yet elegant manner.

Hospital acquired infection is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in our health system. The CDC estimates that there are approximately 1.7 million hospital associated infections that cause up to 99,00 deaths per year. These infections not only cause a significant amount of morbidity and mortality, but they also greatly increase health care costs.

As hand hygiene compliance is one of the most effective ways to combat the spread of infection within a hospital, an app such as iScrub could provide an efficient way to effectively “crowdsource” compliance measures to all health workers. The results of the study conducted at the University of Iowa show its potential, and we would love to see further studies on similar programs.

Check out the full article here.
Abstract of the actual iScrub study

iTunes link to iScrub

Post image for The nuts and bolts of contraception: Contraception i-pocketcards for the iPhone

“A baby crying is the best birth control.” – Anonymous

Despite a world full of crying babies, access to effective and timely contraception remains a pressing women’s health issue.
All students in the health professions learn the basics of contraception.  Most health care professionals will prescribe contraception at some point in their training or clinical practice.  Some clinicians make contraception and family planning the primary focus of their practice.

Contraception i-pocketcards is a resource for each of these health care providers – from the medical student working his first gynecologic clinic to the experienced ED doctor wondering which emergency contraceptive method to use in her patient with a history of DVT.
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Post image for Mobile Medical News Roundup from iMedicalApps

For anyone interested in mobile health, the pace of new developments, partnerships, and innovations is dizzying. In this series, we pore through the latest in the mobile health world and pick a few articles that we think are interesting and convey important developments. Be sure to let us know what you think by adding your comments to this post !

GenerationOne Selected by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for Mobile Health Pilot with Teen Asthmatics
From PR Newswire

GenerationOne and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have conducted a pilot study testing the efficacy of using mobile phones to improve the treatment of teenagers with asthma.

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Post image for Favorite iPhone medical apps hit the Android market, and 5 iOS apps we’re hoping come to Android

In recent weeks, Android-using medical professionals have had good reason for concern.  A study released in April showed that approximately 90% of the traffic through a medical news service was accessed on Apple’s iOS devices, and only 6% on Android devices.

For the time being, it appears that medical professionals – at least those who use their device for medical news – favor the iPhone and iPad.  Furthermore, the senior writers at iMedicalApps concluded in a recent editorial that the iPhone is clearly the best smartphone choice for physicians and other health care providers… for now.

Any good news for Android recently?  Actually, yes.

In just the last month, several high quality medical apps from the iOS platform quietly became available in the Android Market.  Among them are WebMD and iTriage, two physician-designed consumer decision support apps, and VisualDx, a highly-rated mobile encyclopedia of dermatology images and information.

Will more big name releases follow?

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Post image for Mobile radiology study shows bandwidth speed is a limiting factor for smartphone diagnostic imaging

Last year, we reported how the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine were doing a stroke trial comparing the performance of diagnostic radiology on a mobile device using the ResolutionMD app verse a standard clinical reading work station.

Our article last year focused on how Health Canada, analogous to our FDA, had approved the device for medical diagnostic use.

At that time, faculty were reporting the performance on both types of devices (mobile versus desktop) was the same.  The Calgary researchers have since published the details of the study. Although we’ve known the results for over a year, their study produced interesting data from a mobile bandwidth perspective that could shed light on key limiting factors for mobile diagnostic radiology. (read more)

Post image for US Department of Health and Human Services mobile app for health care providers emphasizes prevention

At the National Prevention Summit in 2006, the US Department of Health & Human Services’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) unveiled the electronic Preventive Services Selector (ePSS) tool for healthcare professionals.

AHRQ ePSS was designed to help primary care clinicians choose the appropriate preventive services for their patients, to help “create a culture of wellness; a society that thinks of staying healthy rather than simply being treated once we’re sick,” in the words of then-HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt.

Since 2006, this emphasis on preventive care services has surged among healthcare professionals, the lay public, and the federal government under the leadership of President Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Read below the jump to learn how the AHRQ ePSS App, which appeared on our Top 20 Free iPhone Apps for Healthcare Professionals List, is helping emphasize preventive care services.

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Post image for MyVoice Communication Aid is a simple and robust iPhone app for patients with speech difficulties

By: Darwin Wan, MS II

Speech and language difficulties are a feature of many different medical disorders, ranging from developmental disorders such as autism, to cerebrovascular diseases such as stroke.  While a variety of communication aids are already available on the market, many can be quite large, cumbersome, unwieldy and expensive, especially when the “medical” label is attached to it.

Developed by a team from the University of Toronto, MyVoice Communication Aid aims to disrupt this paradigm by offering an iPhone app (Android upcoming) designed to help patient overcome the challenges of speech.  The most notable advantage this app offers over other devices is that it is available on mobile phones; no additional physical devices are required.

Another immediate advantage is that the app is presently offered for free for 6 months, so there is no barrier to any patient with a compatible phone to try it, though it has been reported that it may eventually become subscription based, priced at $30 per month.

Upon opening the app, one is presented with a hierarchy of words and categories.  One is able to navigate through categories to select desired word or phrase.  Tapping on the words prompts the app to speak the word or phrase in a fairly natural-sounding (though not perfect) voice. (read more)

Post image for Top 10 iPhone medical apps for Internal Medicine Physicians and Residents

Editor’s note: Make sure to check out our new Top 10 free iPad medical apps piece

The Medical App category of Apple’s App Store is a chaotic hodgepodge of thousands of applications, very few of which are potentially useful to healthcare professionals, and dominated by irrelevant, trivial, or even downright dangerous apps.

Here at iMedicalApps, we do the heavy lifting for you, finding apps that could potentially benefit you in clinical practice or education and vet them for utility. In this fashion, today we rank our Top 10 Apps for Internal Medicine resident physicians. Today’s rankings will represent the first of a series of Top 10 Apps lists for other specialties, including Emergency Medicine, Surgery, and OB-GYN.

Internal Medicine residents are extraordinarily busy, spending their very full days doing their best to keep up with heavy inpatient ward responsibilities, calls and tasks from clinic patients, ongoing clinical research projects, presentations for resident reports and journal clubs, and Step III and board preparation, all the while trying to keep abreast of the latest medical literature and evidence-based medicine guidelines.

As such, our Top 10 Apps are meant to allow Internal Medicine residents to maximize their efficiency with daily routine and tasks, to serve as compelling instructional tools to educate residents and help them become better physicians, and, most importantly, to enhance clinical care by aiding in diagnosis and management.

As you will see, our Top 10 encompasses the gamut of clinical utility and education, including a medical calculator, a dedicated drug reference, a medical translation tool, a procedure guide, and a medical journal app, to name a few, representing a basic “toolkit” of sorts for the Internal Medicine Resident — or, for a general Internal Medicine physician as well.

Moreover, 9 of the 10 apps on our list are free or less than a dollar! Read below the jump to see our list of the Top 10 iPhone Apps for Internal Medicine Residents.

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Post image for Cambridge researchers release report on how mobile phones are transforming healthcare

>Many would argue the greatest promise of mobile health lies in the developing world – areas where low-cost, portable diagnostic and treatment tools could impact millions of people.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge recently released a comprehensive study of mobile health applications in a nation where the confluence of poverty, geography, and rapid economic growth have created an environment where mobile health should thrive – China.

Having received unprecedented access from Mobile China, the largest mobile communications provider in the world, their findings are compiled in a 100+ page report on the promise of mobile health technology.

As the lead author, Professor Ian Leslie, stated in an interview with Research News (a University of Cambridge publication),

We saw an enormous range of existing mHealth applications in the course of our research, and our work with academics identified even more ideas for an even greater range.

In their report, they share a number of interesting findings as well as case reports. For example, they argue that mobile health will take very different paths in developed and developing countries. Here are a few highlights.

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Post image for Mobile Medical News Roundup from iMedicalApps

For anyone interested in mobile health, the pace of new developments, partnerships, and innovations is, at best, dizzying. In this series, we scour through the latest in the mobile health world and pick a few articles that we think are interesting and convey some important development. Be sure to let us know what you think by adding your comments to this post.

USM develops Android-based imaging software From thestar online

An interesting post about a system launched in Malaysia which allows physicians to share and discuss imaging on an Android-based platform. The goal of the program is to allow physicians to consult with specialists – sharing and discussing imaging on Android devices.

Check out the full article

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Post image for Why physicians will use mobile ultrasound instead of stethoscopes in the future

Recently, the Wall Street Journal did a great piece on how mobile technology is being used in medicine. They looked at the major avenues of use — from the hospital to personal to emergency care settings.

They gave an example of how a cardiologist has stopped carrying a stethoscope, and now just uses mobile ultrasound, a modality we have highlighted numerous times in the past.

Dr. Topol, a cardiologist in San Diego, carries with him instead a portable ultrasound device roughly the size of a cellphone. When he puts it to a patient’s chest, the device allows him to peer directly into the heart. The patient looks, too; together, they check out the muscle, the valves, the rhythm, the blood flow.

“Why would I listen to ‘lub dub’ when I can see everything?” Dr. Topol says.

As mentioned in our article on mobile ultrasound, research continues to show how the modality can be used to improve outcomes, such as with central line procedures.

With the continued improvements in ultrasound mobility, will physicians be required to become more proficient in the modality?

I would argue yes. For cardiac sounds, it will replace the stethoscope in the future, and it will eventually become a part of medical school curriculums once pricing goes down — right now the price point is $8,000.  The value added by ultrasound is tremendous.  The ability to look at not only cardiac pathology, but abdominal, eye, venous, arterial, and more. (read more)

Post image for BioStats Calculator app, for the “On the Go” evidence based medical researcher

By: Brian Wells, MS4, MPH

It’s a known truth of any research project: If one wants strong conclusions, one must be able to back them up with equally strong evidence.

Fortunately for researchers, an entire field dedicated to such evidence is available to us. That field is biostatistics.  However, even experienced researchers sometimes shudder at the thought of doing long calculations and setting up statistical models.

Enter Biostats Calculator for the iPhone and iPad.  The Biostats Calculator app allows anyone to quickly and accurately make statistics calculations to arrive at a decision.

For example, let’s say you are sitting around the conference table debating on whether studying drug X’s clinical and economic impact would be feasible. How many people would you need? How big of a difference are you looking for? What’s the sensitivity of test A versus test B? How would looking at a proportion versus a value alter the outcome?

Biostats Calculator can do all of these without the cost and complexity of a desktop statistics package.

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