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.

(read more)

Post image for Useful medical apps for med students on their clinical rotations

By: Jason Paluzzi, MS4

Having recently completed my third year of medical school, it’s time to have a look back at the medical apps that helped me the most during my clerkships.  From having an easy to use database of medical information to adding something extra to your presentations and plans, some apps are able to streamline the learning process or make for a more efficient medical student.

Although the following screen shots of the applications are on an Android device, all of these apps are available in some form or another on the iOS platform as well, and most of them are completely free.

(read more)

Post image for iPad 2 keyboard case review, ZAGG versus Incase Origami Workstation

Typing on the iPad’s native touch screen keyboard is difficult. For short e-mails — no problem.  But for longer E-mails, and for legitimate productivity, it’s not practical.

More apps are being released on a weekly basis that enable the iPad to be used for productivity.  One of my favorites is Elements, a no frills plain text editor that seamlessly syncs with dropbox, and enables you to store your text content on the cloud.  The app works great on the iPhone as well, and I use it to store notes on disease pathologies and interesting medical cases (No patient identifiers of course).

In a subsequent article we’ll do a review of the app — but for the purpose of this mobile keyboard solution review, the app highlights how a legitimate keyboard is essential for productivity purposes.

There are now a bevy of keyboard cases for the iPad, but the one that gets the most attention is ZAGG’s Logitech Keyboard case.  ZAGG’s prior iteration of their keyboard case, for the original iPad, won many accolades at CES (2011).  Unfortunately, by the time the case was released, the iPad 2 was announced a few short months later.

The unique feature of the ZAGG keyboard case that made it a standout is its innovative sandwich design — not a traditional thick iPad keyboard folio.  Instead, a rather sleek and sexy looking case that utilizes a “pop-up” hinge and a partial case [refer to below pictures].  ZAGG has now released the iPad 2 version of their popular keyboard case, keeping their innovative design essentially the same, but fitting it for the iPad 2′s new design.

Incase, an industry leader in iPhone cases, recently launched their own solution to the iPad keyboard dilemma, the Origami Workstation.  The Workstation is essentially a case for the standard Apple wireless keyboard, but when fully open, allows the iPad to be neatly propped using an innovative Origami solution [refer to below pictures].  The workstation is not exclusive to the iPad 2, and can work with the original iPad as well.

Both iPad 2 keyboard cases are innovative and hope to increase mobile productivity with the iPad.  In this review, we’ll look at each keyboard case solution individually, and then see which one comes out on top. (read more)

Post image for Must have app for cancer patients, Cancer.net, released by American Society of Clinical Oncology

Cancer.net, an oncologist approved cancer information site from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), has released a free iPhone and iPad app — full of handy features for cancer patients.

The free app allows cancer patients and their family members to look up pertinent information based on cancer type and download a wealth of oncology related information in the form of videos, podcasts, and up to date articles.

Where the app truly shines is in there key features: Ability to store questions, medications and symptoms.  The way this app implements these key features is absolutely stunning, and makes the application a must have for cancer patients and their family members.

This review will explore these features and how your patients can use this app. (read more)

Post image for Why Physicians and health care providers would love a 7-inch iPad Mini

The iPad has been a mind-blowing success, and we’ve been regularly covering the excitement about the potential it offers to doctors and hospitals.

However, it’s important to continue innovating, and I propose that a 7 or 8 inch iPad Mini (Or Nano, if you prefer) would be the next logical step for Apple, as it offers an ideal blend of screen real estate and portability that both the iPhone and iPad lack.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that Apple has something to lose by choosing to ignore the market for smaller tablets. (Pictured in these photos is a 7-inch Blackberry Playbook. I’ll post a review in the coming weeks)

(read more)

Obesity is arguably the greatest public health crisis of our time — and many research dollars are going into various treatment modalities. Duke researches have started a study that utilizes Android phones and wireless weight scales to help patients lose weight.

The basic premise of the study: Patient’s weight themselves on scales that wirelessly send the result to an Android app. Based on how your weight is trending on the Android app — you are sent messages and information to your phone, turning your smartphone into a bit of a life coach.

Below is a video of the Duke researchers showing this technology:

Source: WCNC.com

Thousands of medical students who are finishing 4th year are doing an exit survey administered by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges). The survey is called “The Medical School Graduation Questionnaire (GQ)” and is an important tool for medical schools to use in program evaluation and to improve the medical student experience.

This year the survey asked about the comfort level of medical students with medical technology and electronic medical records. We’re not aware if the AAMC asked these questions last year as well, but it does highlight how large medical bodies are aware of the utility point of care mobile medical technologies provide.

The survey portion asking these questions:

Post image for Blausen Human Atlas launches on Blackberry Playbook, adds revered medical app to Blackberry App World

One of our favorite patient education apps is now on the Blackberry Playbook — Blausen Human Atlas HD. To those unaware, the Blausen Human Atlas provides 3D animations of disease pathology, provided in layperson speak, and available in multiple languages. As our prior reviews of the Atlas have shown, we’re huge fans.

The medical animations are concise, beautifully rendered, and explain disease pathology in an easy to understand language for patients — making it a great tool to use at the point of care. I’ve used the app in the field to explain various pathologies, from otitis media to GERD, with great responses from patients.

This type of app development is exactly what the Blackberry Playbook needs in order to make a case for hospital and medical point of care use.  It will be interesting to see if other big time medical app developers will follow Blausen’s lead.

iMedicalApps Review of Blausen Human Atlas: Recent Review, Older Review.

Link: Blausen Human Atlas in Blackberry App World

Post image for Mobile Medical News Roundup from iMedicalApps

In this continuing 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 mobile medical development.

This week, we came across several interesting posts – a telemedicine program in Egypt for specialty cares, research into mobile apps combating obesity, and more.

Be sure to let us know what you think by adding your comments to this post.

(read more)

Post image for The evolution of communications in healthcare – interview with Voalte VP Trey Lauderdale

For an industry that can use polymer-coated metal stents to open arteries about 1/1000′th the size of a penny and align 200+ beams of gamma radiation to ablate malignancies, its pretty surprising that healthcare as a whole has been a late-adopter of technology in pretty much every area outside of direct patient care. However, just as the stimulus package lit a fire under the movement to embrace electronic medical records, communications technology has finally begun to evolve as well.

In many other areas of healthcare, we’ve seen innovators leverage the investments of others, specifically electronics manufacturers and telecoms, to advance the practice of medicine. Similarly, in healthcare communications some of the more traditional players – Avaya, Vocera for example – have begun to offer support for iPhone, Blackberry, and Android devices. Voalte, which we recently featured, is company that embraced these popular platforms from the start. They believed these emerging smartphone platforms could transform healthcare communications, designing a system for nurses for the iPhone and Blackberry devices.

Here, we talk with Trey Lauderdale, VP of Innovation at Voalte, about the future of Voalte and healthcare communications.

(read more)

Post image for UC Irvine medical school receives $1.2m donation to provide incoming students with iPad

Readers of iMedicalApps have been following the trend of medical schools to adopt the iPad for education activities. Thus far, we have reported on Stanford, University of Minnesota and University of California, Irvine. Subsequent reports have focused on the uses of the iPad for students, such as this report from a medical student at UC Irvine.

In a sign that benefits of the iPad are being recognized by more than just medical educators and students, last week the Orange County Register reported that an anonymous donor had given $1.2m to the iMedEd initiative at UCI, which includes iPad’s and textbooks.

The article also mentions that the university is “explor[ing] hand-held ultrasound equipment”. This could be related to the mobile ultrasound device by MobiSante, we wrote about in December. That device uses a Toshiba smartphone as the interface and was the subject of a New England Journal review article titled “Point-of-Care Ultrasonography”.

With regards to the experience of students at UCI, Dr. Warren Wiechmann, director of instructional technologies for the UC Irvine medical school was quoted as saying

I was extremely impressed with the students’ and faculty’s willingness to adopt a new piece of technology with no advanced notice and really integrate it into their daily use. … Our students have created new studying workflows that involve taking notes on their iPads, incorporating diagrams from their digital texts, syncing them across their laptops and other mobile devices, and sharing them with other students.

Hard to believe that this is only the second year of the tablet in medicine.