We have recently written articles about how both the Stanford School of Medicine and UC Irvine School of Medicine have given all of their incoming medical students iPads for medical use.
This will be the first in a two part series where he highlight how the school is using the iPad for medical education. The first part of the series will focus on the experiences of a medical student using the iPad as part of the curriculum.
In the second part we will take a deeper look at UC Irvine’s iMedEd Initiative – becoming one of the first in the nation to build a completely digital, interactive learning environment for the entering class of 2014 medical students.
Kal Shah, a first year medical student at the University of California Irvine who recieved his undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley in Bioengineering, has given iMedicalApps the scoop on how the iPad is being used by himself and classmates.
He highlights how medical textbooks are being utilized, along with an app he feels is better at note taking than the popular iAnnotate. Continue on to read his report. (read more)
We’ve written before on the advantages of having real time health care data monitoring – such as Wave Technology Group’s collaboration with the University of Chicago Hospital’s Pediatric Epilepsy Center to develop a mobile EEG monitor connected to a patient’s smart phone.
Now, another collaboration between researchers and software professionals has produced a real time monitoring system that can monitor EKG rhythms continuously using an Android phone. This could clearly have potential to replace the paradigm of using Holter monitors or other more long term cardiac monitoring devices.
Imec and Holst Centre, together with TASS software professionals have developed a mobile heart monitoring system that allows to view your electrocardiogram on an Android mobile phone. The innovation is a low-power interface that transmits signals from a wireless ECG (electrocardiogram or heart monitoring)-sensor system to an android mobile phone.
By: Jonathan Baran
This is the second article is our series titled From Idea to Successful Medical App. In our first article, we helped you evaluate your app idea, and now its time to begin the design process. Whether you go with an experienced firm or design the application yourself, the design process will be similar to the steps I will outline below.
First – what exactly is design? Steve Jobs, one of the greatest design thinkers of our time, criticizes what most people think of design and offers his take. “In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer. It’s interior decorating. It’s the fabric of the curtains of the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.”
Put into a single phrase, it’s that “it feeling” – which does not come along often, but when it does people take notice. Apple is one of the best companies at producing products that incorporate this methodology. This is why their company continues to flourish. The problem is almost every piece of healthcare IT software lacks that “it feeling”.
Questions often asked by many health care professionals in regards to pagers: Why can’t my phone replace a pager? Why am I still using an archaic device that was popular in the 1980s and 1990s? These are the types of questions that led Emory Hospital to start a pilot program to look into replacing pagers with smart phones (iPhone, Android, and Blackberry) – so far 850 users are enrolled, with more being added.
CIO has a great report on some of the hurdles facing health IT workers when attempting this transition. The main issues being: Reliability, durability, and issues that arise when a phone is out of coverage.
Minus the obvious drawbacks of having to rely on a cell tower for coverage, smart phones do offer some advantages:
Technically speaking, smartphones have many advantages over the pager. For starters, smartphones have built-in encryption making them more secure than pagers. Another key advantage: Smartphones can both send and receive messages whereas a pager only receives messages. This means that the smartphone can let IT know if a message was received and even opened.
For anybody who has performed CPR during a “code”, it is feels a lot different that one would expect from watching it in on television or compared to doing it on a dummy during in training. For starters, it is always performed during an emergency, with an actual dying patient. Second, it turns out to be quite tiring to perform compressions for an extended period of time while giving rescue breaths. And, distressingly, the rescuer has almost no way of knowing if he or she is doing it at an optimal rate or force.
This was the problem that an app called PocketCPR tried to solve. It launched in the App store in November 2009, by Zoll Corporation. Using the built-in accelerometer in the iPhone to approximate the depth and rate of chest compressions, the app compares them to the recommended guidelines of 4-5 cm deep and 100 compressions/minute and provides feedback to the rescuer. However, the app required the rescuer to hold it in one hand while performing a compressions. This was clearly not practical in real life situations, and could make an already tiring task even more so.
Ming-Zher Poh, a student in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program, has made a health monitoring system that uses low cost cameras to measure heart rates.
His monitoring system does not require any physical contact, and uses visual data gathered by cameras to measure slight variations in brightness that result from the flow of blood vessels in the face.
When compared to a FDA approved heart rate monitoring device that is physically connected to the body, the hands free method developed by Poh was accurate within 3 beats per minute. The system can get heart rates from three people by using just one camera.
Poh mentions that possible uses for this type of software in the hospital setting would be for neonatal care and for burn victims. He is now working on using the same visual data in order to monitor pulse ox and blood pressure.
Monitoring heart rates “wirelessly” through this method is definitely a great achievement, but if the MIT team is able to add Pulse ox and blood pressure monitoring using the same techniques it would be revolutionary.
Continue on for a video demonstration (read more)
With its recent announcement of the establishment of the Health Informatics Institute at the University of Buffalo, Dell has added to its already big bet on its healthcare IT business. The UB health system encompasses about 450 physicians and the goal of this effort is to use the collective data of these practices to improve the health of the whole population being cared for. Basically, the project is as follows: Dell installs a high-end computing cluster that will enable researchers at the University of Buffalo to analyze enormous amounts of data being collected by their own clinicians. Imagine it as small-scale effort of the national health informatics system envisioned by recent legislation.
What’s interesting about this project isn’t really even the project itself – there are efforts like this underway all over the country. What’s worth noting about the UB health informatics center is that Dell is taking part. We recently took a look at the Dell Streak, a sort of tablet-smartphone hybrid designed with the healthcare community in mind. Taken together, it looks like Dell is moving to provide the most complete IT solution to date of practically any vendor out there.
Here we review the App version of the Color Atlas of Family Medicine, published by McGraw-Hill. Edited by four family practitioners and an obstetrician-gynecologist, the Atlas is widely used by family practitioners, primary care residents, and students as a well-known visual guide for diagnosis.
In fact, an April 2009 JAMA review suggested that the Atlas represents a “classic example of why the Internet will try but never take the place of a well-written hardbound textbook.”
Somewhat ironically, here we suggest that the App version of the Atlas –available on the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad– not only replaces, but even surpasses, the hardbound 1108-page textbook version. (read more)
Epocrates has released the results of its fifth annual Future Physicians of America survey. As reported yesterday by Medgadget, the survey reached 700 medical students who answered myriad questions on their motivations to pursue a career in medicine and what resources they use for medical information. Epocrates, of course, is the maker of the popular mobile drug reference application of the same name as well as more in-depth disease references and a forthcoming mobile EHR application (see our March 2010 news item here).
The exact methodology for conducting the survey was not posted but within the supplied data, it is stated that a total of 710 responses were analyzed and that “Students [were] randomly selected to participate”. Click here to see Epocrates’ press release on the survey.
By: Wouter Stomp, MD
The Radiology Assistant is an app that provides you with peer-reviewed educational articles on a wide variety of radiological topics.
The content is identical to that served on the website www.radiologyassistant.nl, a website by the Radiological Society of the Netherlands, however all content is available locally without internet connection and loads very fast. This can be a great advantage at hospitals, where internet connections can be patchy and you want information available now rather than soon.
Articles are categorized in 8 areas: Abdomen, Breast, Cardiovascular, Chest, Head and Neck, Musculoskeletal, Neuroradiology and Pediatric. Currently a total of 74 articles are available with some bias towards the abdominal section with 20 articles and the musculoskeletal section with 15 articles. (read more)
There are a plethora of medication reminder apps in the Apple App Store, along with a few for the Android Marketplace and Blackberry App World. We haven’t reviewed any medication reminder applications on iMedicalApps – we tend to focus more on applications for health care professionals – but the NY Times has a great article that reviews some of these apps in detail on each of the three main mobile operating system platforms.
As we’ve mentioned before, texting for medication reminders has been shown in some studies to help increase compliance. By association, one would think these individual mobile apps that send notifications would serve the same purpose. It would be interesting to see a study done using one of these apps to see if this is in fact true.
Some of the findings by the author posted in his review of the medication reminder apps: (read more)
As any suffering research assistant knows, collecting and recording outcome and functional scores is one of the most important pieces of any clinical research project yet one that can become unpleasantly challenging. Using a valid test to report patients’ outcome is a minimum requirement for acceptance of a research paper into a reputable journal.
In every specialty, many validated or at least standardized scoring systems exist. In orthopedics, this is further multiplied by the many different anatomic locations (knee, shoulder, hip, etc). Remembering the nuances of each scoring system is nearly impossible for mere mortals. Yet, using paper forms to collect this data during a hurried patient visit adds even more work since these forms need to be transcribed and entered into a research spreadsheet or database.
Therefore, it could indeed be quite useful for orthopedic researchers to have an iPhone app like Ortho Scores (iTunes) that has internally encoded all the major scoring systems. The app allows for quick data entry using a series of well designed screens and the iPad version is even faster since the larger screen space allows for more questions to be viewed at a time.
What is even more enticing would be to allow patients to enter their own self-reported outcome scores (e.g. the well accepted SF-12 and SF-36 questionnaires) using an iPad provided in the waiting room. This would speed patient flow in a busy clinic, while the iPad touch interface should be easily intuitive for most any patient.