Post image for 3D printer used to make iPhone case that functions as stethoscope

Suman Mulumudi was given a MakerBot 3D printer during his summer before high school.

Rather than design gadgets for his own amusement, Mulumudi decided to create an iPhone case that could be used as a stethoscope to measure and record heart beats.

Mulumudi, now 15 years old, explains that, “People have tried to put the microphone over the chest, but that doesn’t work.“ Instead, he designed an iPhone case with a diaphragm on the back. (read more)

Post image for iPhone attachment allows doctors to view the front and back of an eye

Iltifat Husain MD contributed to this piece 

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine have developed two low cost adaptors that allow smartphones to capture high-resolution images of the front and back of an eye.

The technology will make it easy for patients to take pictures of their eyes and share it with their physician. (read more)

Post image for CORR app is a great tool for orthopedic surgeons trying to keep up to date

By: Nathan Skelley, M.D.

It is becoming more and more common for orthopaedic residency programs across the country to cancel book programs. Instead, they are giving trainees mobile tablets and massive PDF textbook libraries. Instead of carrying one or maybe two textbooks in a bag, physicians-in-training can now carry entire libraries in the palm of their hand.

The same trend is being seen in scientific journal subscriptions. Several leading orthopaedic journals have shifted to mobile apps replacing the print journal mailing. Not only are these changes may have cheaper costs for the journal and be better for the environment, but they are also more convenient for the user.

Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research (CORR) is a leader in peer-reviewed orthopaedic knowledge. They are a popular source for the clinical applicability of their practical articles and commentaries. Here we look at how the CORR app can be incredibly useful for orthopedic surgeons trying to keep up to date.

(read more)

Post image for Landmark study evaluates use of AliveCor Heart Monitor in community screening for atrial fibrillation

Researchers in Sydney, Australia published a landmark study, the SEARCH-AF trial, this week in which the AliveCor Heart Monitor, a single lead ECG device built into an iPhone case, was used to screen 1,000 patients in community pharmacies for atrial fibrillation.

I call this study “landmark” not because of some ground breaking discovery or even because of the efficacy of the intervention. Rather, I consider it landmark because it is a pretty well done and carefully crafted study to evaluate the efficacy of a novel mobile health technology in the real world. Like any study, there are a variety of strengths and limitations to be considered when interpreting the results.

That being said, we have written many times about a need for thoughtful evaluation of these technologies to help guide clinicians about their use in practice and that’s precisely what we have here.


Ten pharmacies in Sydney, Australia were recruited to participate in a screening program in which the iECG (as AliveCor’s Heart Monitor was described) was used to screen patients over 65 years of age who walked in the door to pick up their medications. Pharmacists both palpated a pulse and screened with the single lead iECG tracing. Their interpretations were followed up with a cardiologist overread; a detection algorithm that became available later was retrospectively applied as well. For patients who were found to have atrial fibrillation, primary care physicians were contacted to verify whether this was a known diagnosis. If not, they were referred back for follow up and confirmation using 12-lead ECG.

(read more)

Post image for New study evaluates apps for pediatric obesity, finds opportunity for clinicians and developers to do better

A particular opportunity for health apps to make a real impact is in driving healthy lifestyle changes. By virtue of being on a smartphone, they are generally always “on.” And for kids who are growing up with these devices, there should be a particular opportunity.

With over 1/3 of children and adolescents now overweight and obese, apps that promote healthier diets, more activity, and other behavioral changes could have a big impact.

A group of researchers from the University of Kansas took a myriad of apps aimed at pediatric obesity and how well they adhered to best practices. And what they found suggests that there is a real opportunity here still for clinicians interested in using these tools for the benefit of their patients.

(read more)

Post image for Jawbone UP Coffee App can be used to educate patients on interactions of sleep and caffeine

Several weeks ago, hardware manufacturer Jawbone surprisingly released UP Coffee, a simple, free iOS app that promised to be the simplest way to understand how caffeine affects your sleep.

UP Coffee can tie in the sleep tracking data collected by Jawbone UP devices, but also operates independently as a tool to help users become more aware of how their bodies process caffeine, and how UP users collectively consume caffeine.

I’m a huge fan of Jawbone’s UP24 and corresponding UP app, and was eager to give the UP Coffee app a spin.

After 3 weeks, the app proved to be basic, but delightful and insightful to use. On one hand, the app is far from being scientific or ground-breaking, but on the other, it still succeeds in achieving its simple goal of causing its users to be more aware of how caffeine affects them.

(read more)

Post image for How Google Glass can be used by medical schools in the anatomy lab

I’ve been spending several hours testing Google Glass in our procedures cadaver lab to get a better understanding of the device’s hardware and software capabilities.

When using the device with cadavers to practice procedures, I realized how easily Glass could be integrated into the anatomy lab by medical students.

Google Glass can be made to read QR codes, and then use use this information to link to online content.

Anatomy instructors could essentially tag anatomical parts with QR codes and then use this feature for a wide variety of functions. (read more)

Post image for The Diabetik app provides patients a way to manage their diabetes

The Diabetik app is a way for patients with diabetes to  track and manage their disease.

The app was created so that users can input their own data including medications taken, meals, blood glucose, activity, etc.

The data can all be stored in one location.

The app also allows users to create nice visual graphics of their data making it easy to see their progress.

(read more)

Post image for Vargo Anesthesia Case Tips app provides large quantity of content for the Operating Room

By: PJ Lally MD

Vargo anesthesia, which has made over 15 medical apps for the Android and iOS platforms, teamed with two CRNA’s and a PA to create a compendium of over 400 anesthesia case tips.

The range of cases, which can be browsed alphabetically or via categories, is impressive.

The app contains everything from basal cell carcinoma to aortofemoral bypass. There are also sections on the physiology and management of important anesthesia related pathology including things such as aortic stenosis. (read more)

Post image for GoBe wearable sensor’s promise of passive nutrition tracking should be taken with caution

David Ahn MD is an endocrinology fellow in San Diego, CA

Crowd-funding platform Indiegogo’s recently highlighted the GoBe wearable sensor, an activity tracker with an alluring twist: “GoBe is the first and only wearable device that automatically measures the calories you consume and burn all day.” With a $199 price tag and projected shipping date of June 2014, the campaign has blown through its initial goal of $100,000 by raising over $800k as of this article’s publishing.

It also features a well-designed product page, touting an experienced development team that has a history of working with major corporations such as Motorola, Reebok, and L’Oreal.

However, not surprisingly, the GoBe’s promise of passive nutrition tracking has raised significant skepticism over the accuracy and reliability of such a device, and has raised questions over the responsibility of crowd-funding sites when promoting these campaigns.

(read more)

Post image for AAOS Physical Exam of the Shoulder app is a well designed but pricey tool for trainees and students

By: Nathan Skelley, M.D.

The physical exam is especially important to orthopedic specialists.

There are, however, many eponyms and unique maneuvers that can make learning a good orthopedic exam challenging.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) has attempted to clarify the intricacies of common physical exam maneuvers with a series of mobile apps. This review focuses on the AAOS physical exam of the shoulder.

The application is produced by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The AAOS is one of the largest medical specialty societies in the United States. The AAOS has a long tradition of producing educational content. They were also one of the first specialty societies to use mobile technology as a means for member education.

(read more)