LOS ANGELES – Stayhealthy, a developer of health and wellness mobile apps and solutions, is partnering with Attentive Health & Wellness, a provider of employee wellness programs to develop an app that uses augmented reality to help users scan and measure body fat. “For many years, Stayhealthy’s credo about health care has been that if you can measure and track it, you can change it,” said John Collins, CEO of Stayhealthy, in a statement. “Using augmented reality has made it possible to visually represent health metrics such as body fat percentage. The addition of Stayhealthy’s Body Fact Index App to Attentive’s client employee wellness program will bring engagement, empowerment and enhanced results for all of its serviced employees.”
SYDNEY, Australia – The use of mobile apps increases people’s adherence to cardiovascular medication, according to a recent study by researchers at the University of Sydney and published in Heart. “Patients with coronary heart disease can become overwhelmed with the amount of pills they are taking as they are often prescribed up to four different types of medication, which need to be taken sometimes up to three times a day,” said Julie Redfern, senior author of the published article. The randomized clinical trial followed 160 patients over a 3-month period and compared the medication usage of patients in usual care to those using medication apps. Researchers also compared the use of basic apps to those with more advanced features, and found no additional benefits were gained from using apps with advanced features. Lead author Dr. Karla Santo from the University of Sydney said the results from the trial are very encouraging. “It’s exciting that a basic app—some of which can be accessed for free—could help improve people’s medication use and prevent further cardiovascular complications,” she said. Next step: explore whether apps can be used to sustain medication adherence over a longer period, and whether they can be applied to other conditions like cancer, lung disease and stroke.
AUSTIN, Texas – Xcertia, an industry and government collaborative that supports the development of guidelines around safe and effective mobile health applications, has added four new directors and two ex officio members to its board of directors. The new full members of the Xcertia board of directors are: Murray Aitken, executive director IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science; Ann Mond Johnson, CEO American Telemedicine Association; Dr. William Kassler, deputy chief health officer, IBM Watson Health; and Karen Dunn Lopez, Alliance for Nursing Informatics. “Working in collaboration with Xcertia helps to ensure that virtual care apps are developed and implemented within a consistent framework to the benefit of consumers, providers and technology developers alike,” said Johnson in a statement. The ex officio members are: Bakul Patel, associate director for digital health, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; and Dr. Andrew Gettinger, chief clinical officer, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. “Bakul and Andrew will be key voices to influence and support how Xcertia evolves its mHealth guidelines,” said David Vinson, founding director and vice chairman of Xcertia, in a statement. “We believe it’s a significant step forward for the market when industry and government join forces to present a unified voice and positively affect the trajectory of the mobile health app market.” The new board members are now engaged in updating the draft guidelines released in December 2017.
SAN FRANCISCO and OAKLAND, Calif. – Teens and young adults are using mobile apps and digital tools to manage their health and well-being, as well as address symptoms of depression, according to a recent survey by Hopelab and Well Being Trust. The national survey of 14- to 22-year-olds found that 38% of participants use mobile apps related to well-being and 32% are connecting with health providers through digital tools, such as texting and video chat. “This survey suggests that the relationship between internet use and depression is far more complex than is often acknowledged,” said Margaret Laws, CEO of Hopelab, a social innovation lab focused on designing science-based technologies to improve the health and well-being of teens and young adults, in a statement. “The pressures of social media clearly present real challenges for many young people, but social media and other online resources offer real opportunities to engage and provide support for those who are struggling.”
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Three mobile health monitoring technology companies were recognized recently as the top three solutions submitted to the American Medical Association’s Health Care Interoperability and Innovation Challenge sponsored by Google Cloud.
The three winning solutions selected from among the semi-finalists share $50,000 in Google Cloud credits to accelerate their solutions. They are:
- HealthSteps (first place, $25,000): a mobile health platform that focuses on the delivery of information between patient and provider to improve health outcomes through a digital care plan and real-time data.
- I-deal Health (second place,$15,000): a digital platform that empowers patients to visualize their personal risk for multiple diseases, choose goals to reduce their risk, and close the loop between patients and clinicians to achieve success. Through individualized treatment derived from EHR data, patients can work to focus their efforts through the help of the I-deal Health mobile application.
- FUTUREASSURE(third place, $10,000): A system that uses validated data to implement mobile technology into standard clinical workflow. It collects clinical and research data to assess a patient’s risk for surgery and can predict surgical outcomes previously not compared.
The three winning ideas were selected by judges to best demonstrate uses of patient-generated health data to have maximum impact on improving physician workflow, improving clinical outcomes and reducing cost in the health care system.
“The AMA issued the challenge to inspire the creation of novel mobile technology that demonstrates innovative uses of health data to support the long term wellness of patients,” said Dr. Michael Hodgkins, chief medical information officer of the AMA, in a statement. “The top solutions chosen in the AMA Challenge have the potential to be transformational innovations that effectively share meaningful medical data between patients and physicians and create a healthier nation.”
LA JOLLA, Calif. – Mobile health technologies can accurately measure and track cardiovascular risk factors, according to a recent study by researchers at the Scripps Translational Science Institute.
The study used digital activity trackers, sleep monitors, electronic blood pressure devices and other devices to assess cardiovascular risk factors outside of the clinical setting, along with demographics, medication adherence and stress levels.
“The emergence of mobile health technologies offer the new ability to track both traditional cardiovascular risk factors and other factors that increase a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease at home and at high sampling rates,” said Brian Modena, first author of a paper on the study that was published recently in the journal Hypertension. “Identifying new ways of monitoring cardiovascular risk factors is critical to reducing the burden of this disease and strains on healthcare systems across the globe.”
The study found that measurements from the mobile devices closely matched national averages or prior studies performed in very controlled clinical settings, supporting their accuracy and reliability, Modena said.
The study was conducted in collaboration with consumer electronics provider Withings, which identified eligible study participants through a company database of owners of Withings health tracking devices. A total of 255 individuals were enrolled and asked to measure blood pressure, heart rate, pulse wave velocity and weight two days a week for 17 weeks. All measurements were transmitted wirelessly through a smartphone app to a secure database.
This was also the first study to successfully assess and track pulse wave velocity, an indicator of cardiovascular risk, outside of a controlled clinical setting using new smart weight scales.
“With high adherence, satisfaction and participant engagement, this proof-of-concept study required minimal study personnel and no participant training, thereby making it likely scalable to much larger populations,” said Steven Steinhubl, director of digital medicine at the Scripps Translational Science Institute and senior author on the study, in a statement.
TAMPA, Fla. – More than 90% of physicians and hospital leaders believe mobile health technology is improving patient safety and outcomes, according to a recent survey by Black Book Research.
The survey also found that secure texting is rapidly developing into the first choice to send information, while keeping sensitive data secured.
Almost 800 hospital-based users and 1,279 physician practices replied to the Black Book survey, which was conducted in Q4 of 2017 and Q1 of 2018.
Sixty three percent of respondents reported ongoing challenges with buy-in of general mobile adoption strategies and related enterprise technology execution, but 85% of hospitals and 83% of physician practices are engaging secure communication platforms between care teams, patients and families.
“When relying on cloud services and third-party servers to manage and route messages, end-to-end encryption that reflects HIPAA’s privacy and security requirements exchanging health data are safeguarding against breaches,” said Doug Brown, president of Black Book Market Research, in a statement.
Nearly all hospitals are budgeting and/or are investing in comprehensive clinical communication platforms before the close of 2018, the survey found.
“Stakeholders across the health care industry are in the quest of finding solutions to use comprehensive real-time data and connectivity cleverly to advance patient safety, productivity and profitability,” said Brown. “Organizations are adopting secure text messaging platforms, as well, because texts are convenient.”
SAN FRANCISCO – Researchers from the University of California at San Francisco will use a $6.5 million grant from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute to study whether mHealth measures can help patients with uncontrolled hypertension manage their condition. “New programs and new technology are being developed that could help control blood pressure, but it’s not clear which will be most effective,” wrote Dr. Mark Fletcher, the project lead, in the project summary. Working with the American Heart Association and American Medical Association as partners, the researchers will use data already being collected by doctors’ offices across the country to find new ways to improve blood pressure. In the second phase of the project, the research team will work with the Health eHeart Alliance to test two home blood pressure monitors—one that connects with a smartphone, and one that does not—to see which is more effective at helping patients achieve their own personal goals for blood pressure control. “We hope our study will help patients and their doctors across the country meet their goals for blood pressure control and improved heart health,” Fletcher wrote.
BALTIMORE – Computer scientists at Johns Hopkins University have developed a way to manage the varying severity of Parkinson’s disease symptoms by using a smartphone app, according to a study published recently in the online journal JAMA Neurology. The app uses sensors to generate a score that reliably reflects the symptom severity. Patients can use the app to monitor symptoms in their home and share this data with their doctor to help fine-tune their treatment. “If you think about it, it sounds crazy, but until these types of studies, we had very limited data on how these people function on Saturdays and Sundays because patients don’t come to the clinic on Saturdays or Sundays,” said E. Ray Dorsey, a co-author of the research paper, in a statement. “We also had very limited data about how people with Parkinson’s do at 2:00 a.m. or 11:00 p.m. because unless they’re hospitalized, they’re generally not being seen in clinics at those times.” Using existing smartphone components, such as its microphone, touch screen and accelerometer, the team members devised five simple tasks involving voice sensing, finger tapping, gait measurement, balance and reaction time to create the app. Using a machine learning technique that the team devised, they were able to convert the data collected with these tests into an objective Parkinson’s disease severity score—a score that better reflected the overall severity of patients’ symptoms and how well they were responding to medication. This smartphone evaluation, the researchers say, should be useful because it doesn’t rely on the subjective observations of a medical staff member. It can also be administered any time of day in a clinic or within the patient’s home, where the patient is less likely to be as nervous as in a medical setting. “Not all research gets integrated tangibly into people’s lives,” said Srihari Mohan, another researcher, in a statement. “What excites me most is the potential for the methods we developed to be deployed seamlessly into a patient’s lifestyle and improve the quality of care.”
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Use of a mobile app doubled the proportion of patients who were screened for colorectal cancer, according to a study conducted by researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine and published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The Mobile Patient Technology for Health–CRC app informs patients of the need for screening and gives them the ability to self-order tests. Study participants who interacted with mPATH-CRC viewed an 8.6-minute decision aid about screening and reviewed the two most commonly used tests, fecal testing for blood and colonoscopy. The app then let patients select their own screening test. Screening was completed by 30% of the mPATH-CRC participants, compared to 15% of those receiving usual care. More mPATH-CRC participants could state a screening preference, planned to be screened within six months, discussed screening with their provider and had a screening test ordered. Half of mPATH-CRC participants self-ordered a test through the app. “Two components of mPATH-CRC directly encourage screening orders: the decision aid, which increases patients’ intention to receive screening, and the ability to self-order tests, which decreases barriers to order entry,” said Dr. David Miller Jr., author of the study.