Stanford Hospital Residents Pull Smart Devices Into Patient Care

Stanford Hospital Residents Pull Smart Devices Into Patient Care

This week Cur&#275us highlighted the work of Olufisayo Ositelu — an MD/MBA joint degree candidate at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Stanford Graduate School of Business.

In his study researching the use of smart devices, Olufisayo surveyed Stanford Hospital resident physicians in Anesthesia, Medicine, Surgery, Emergency medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Neurology — nearly 97% percent of respondents owned a smartphone and 53% percent owned a tablet.

While the use of smartphones and tablets are high among healthcare professionals, Olufisayo realized that little detail is actually known about the specific tasks related to patient care performed by physicians using mobile technology.

Olufisayo Ositelu

His study revealed the two most common uses for smart devices with 60% percent of responding physicians were communication exchanging patient care-related text messages and obtaining pharmacy or medication-related information. Some 45% percent of residents cited using their devices “as a medical reference, textbook, or as a patient care related study aid.”

It became obvious that residents who own smart devices are likely to leverage their handheld technology to deliver better patient care. But the power of these devices for physicians relies on intuitive apps that make mission critical medical information easier to access.

“A systematic review of 57 smartphone apps found that disease diagnosis, drug reference, and medical calculator applications were deemed to be most useful by healthcare professionals and medical or nursing students,” Olufisayo wrote in his paper.

In many ways, the proliferation of gadgets, apps and Web-based information is rapidly redefining medicine, opening up a new frontier of possibilities for young physicians. But some professionals are focused on the next generation of device-happy doctors becoming more caring clinicians in the era of digital technology.

“Just adding an app won’t necessarily make people better doctors or more caring clinicians,” said Dr. Paul C. Tang, chief innovation and technology officer at Palo Alto Medical Foundation in Palo Alto, Calif. “What we need to learn is how to use technology to be better, more humane professionals.”  – Source NYT

Read Olufisayo Ositelu’s entire study

BYU Students Innovate To Fight Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

BYU Students Innovate To Fight Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

A team of innovative students at Brigham Young University, are in the process of developing a new kind of baby monitor that could eventually offer parents a vital weapon in the battle against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

This high-tech smart-sock which wraps around an infant’s foot uses a built-in pulse oximetry that can wirelessly monitor a sleeping baby’s heart rate and blood-oxygen levels —  allowing parents to sleep easier knowing that their baby is breathing normally.

Should an infant display any dramatic change in heart rate or suddenly stop breathing — the baby monitor will alert parents on their smartphone.

Jacob Colvin, along with his five colleagues working on this non-invasive SIDS monitoring device hope their work will someday reduce the number of SIDS-related deaths.

“Our hope is that we can give parents time to react and see that something’s wrong before it’s too late,” said Colvin, a father of two himself.

While students are in the process of finalizing patent applications, there is still much work to be done — refining prototypes and doing more testing with their Owlet Baby Monitor.

“If we can hear just one mother say that we made a difference, it would all be worth it,” Jacob Colvin told BYU News. “That makes all the difference in the world.”

In addition to Colvin, the Owlet team includes mechanical engineering students Wyatt Felt and Jason Dearden — chemical engineering students Kurt Workman and Anna Hawes along with Tanor Gil Hodges, a Health Care Assistant serving at the University of Utah.

via BYU News

Physicians Like Lab Coat Friendly Size iPad Mini

Physicians Like Lab Coat Friendly Size iPad Mini


Die-hard Apple fanatics are not the only ones excited about the launch of iPad mini – physicians have been eager to get their hands on the new device because it easily fits inside a lab coat pocket. Who knew?

According to a survey conducted by Epocrates, a leading developer of point of care medical applications, one in three physicians indicated that they’re planning to purchase an iPad mini because of it’s lab coat pocket-ability on the job.

Some 90% of responding physicians cited the smaller size as the main motivator of interest — stating it would be easier to carry around with them on rounds.

“Compared to the general populace, physicians are early and high adopters of Apple products,” the company told AppleInsider. “A large majority of physicians own an iPhone, and the current iPad dominates the healthcare tablet market.”

Coming in at a height of of 7.87 inches and a width of just 5.3 inches, iPad mini has passed the all important “lab coat test” — which makes it an ideal fit for doctors over the original iPad which does not fit easily inside a traditional lab coat.

In a Washington Post interview, Forrester tech analyst Sarah Rotman Epps noted that the smaller and lighter iPad mini will prove popular for healthcare workers.

“In the medical industry – carrying around full-sized iPads isn’t that practical. A smaller, lighter device expands the number of people who can use the device regularly.”

Although Epocrates has been widely available for smartphone-toting doctors since 2011, the app will finally become available for iPad users in December. You can view the list of iOS friendly Epocrates mobile apps on their website.

The iPad mini officially launched today in 34 countries and quickly sold out within two hours at Apple’s Fifth Avenue flagship store this morning. The 16GB version will cost you $329 in black or white models.

One In Four U.S. Doctors Access Social Media Daily

One In Four U.S. Doctors Access Social Media Daily
Neither age nor gender had a significant impact on adoption or use of social media among doctors.

There’s a stereotype that doctors are technophobes who shun technology in fear of threatening the privacy of their patients.

But a Pfizer-funded study recently published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research revealed that nearly one-fourth of U.S. physicians engage in social media to “scan or explore” medical information on a daily basis — with some citing the use of social media many times daily.

That number jumped up to 61% when measured on a weekly basis. While many physicians are still approaching social media with caution — the study found that physicians who “contribute” to social media, rather than merely scan information pushed past 14-percent daily and 46-percent per week.

Writing in the Journal, study authors said: “Based on the results of this study, the use of social media applications may be seen as an efficient and effective method for physicians to keep up-to-date and to share newly acquired medical knowledge with other physicians within the medical community and to improve the quality of patient care.”

The study also revealed that 57.5-percent of physicians perceived social media to be beneficial, engaging, and a good way to get current, high-quality information. It’s important to note that study authors defined social media as “Internet-based applications that allow for the creation and exchange of user-generated content,” which included blogs and services such as social networking, professional online communities, wikis, and microblogging in the mix.

“The amount of information that a practicing clinician must learn, understand, and apply in practice is growing at unprecedented levels and has long surpassed our cognitive capacities.” the study authors concluded.

“Social media and social learning models in general provide an important opportunity to manage this information overload, but only if the media are being used effectively.”

New Smartphone App Works As Pill Identifier Tool

New Smartphone App Works As Pill Identifier Tool

Researchers from the US National Institutes of Health are currently developing an app that can identify pills using an image captured with a smartphone in less than one second.

Although websites such as and WebMD currently have pill identification tools — it’s the time required to enter detailed descriptions of drugs which can make such services too time-consuming for use in a clinical setting.

Jesus Caban and colleagues are working on a handheld image-analysis software that can distinguish the shape, color and imprint of most widely prescribed pills from a simple smartphone snapshot, according to a report from New Scientist.

Currently, the software has performed with a 91% accuracy in identifying 568 of the most prescribed pills from images taken in a variety of angles and lighting conditions. The biggest challenge is the app’s inability to identify pills captured from awkward angles — something that researchers expect will be improved upon going forward.

So far, this mobile pill identifier shows huge potential as a useful tool — both at home and for health care professionals.

Hospital Takes Cochlear Implant Surgery Live On Twitter

Hospital Takes Cochlear Implant Surgery Live On Twitter


When 79-year-old Eleanor Day went in for surgery on Tuesday morning to receive a cochlear implant led by Dr. Douglas Backous — her enter procedure was live-tweeted from the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. How social is that?

One member of the hospital’s communications team, Drew Symonds, rapidly posted images using the Instagram app — capturing photos in the operating room with an iPhone 4S in one hand and a Droid Bionic in the other, according to Symonds who reached out to us via email.

Hundreds of people in the Twittersphere followed along as Drew documented an extremely detailed look into a simple hearing restoration surgery that included several graphic images uploaded to Instagram.

“Throughout the procedure, Twitter users weighed in about their own experiences with cochlear implants and were able to interact with people with hearing loss who have not yet received the life-changing surgery.” Symonds told The Atlantic.

Social media was leveraged by the hospital as a tool to dispel any mystery surrounding cochlear implants as hundreds of Twitter followers interacted with Symonds during the live mobile health event.

“Amazing tech, you can barely see the electrode, thin as a hair.” Symonds wrote next to an Instagram image before the cochlear implant was inserted.

Dr. Backous hopes that Mrs. Day’s experience will encourage more people to consider the same kind of hearing restoration surgery — citing that “less than 10 percent of those who qualify for cochlear implants choose to undergo the procedure”, Backous told The Atlantic.

“When @swedish live tweets surgery, it opens an oft misunderstood procedure into a shared emotional public experience, igniting discussion.” One follower @otorhinolarydoc tweeted from Australia during the Swedish event.

The surgical procedure took roughly 30 minutes to complete — and Mrs. Day “will be able to hear for the first time in five years” when the cochlear implant is switched on October 14th. A YouTube video documenting the implant being turned on is already planned.

“Mrs. Day’s first words upon waking up soon after: ‘I feel like I’m ready to party.’ ”



[via @Swedish]  [photos via Instadroo]

How Smartphones Are Improving Health Care

How Smartphones Are Improving Health Care

With the rapid rise of mobile health management tools for smartphones and tablets, it’s no wonder that the number of people who’ve downloaded a health app has nearly doubled in one year — from 124 million in 2011 to 247 million in 2012.

Mobile health apps are a growing business expected to reach an estimated $11.8 billion in global revenue by 2018 — that’s according to the online health care education portal Allied Health World, which compiled information from a variety of sources around the web to show how smartphones are making a positive contribution to smart healthcare.

But not all mobile health (mHealth) apps are created equal — which is why the the United States Food and Drug Administration last year began requiring mobile apps making health claims to pass an approval process before being made available to consumers.

The infographic below highlights the availability of more than 40,000 medical apps for smartphones and tablets, like those that count calories, manage prescriptions or even monitor blood pressure.

One U.S. company Happtique, has just launched an mRx pilot program that enables physicians and other health practitioners to electronically prescribe medical, health, and fitness applications directly to their patients — improving care by helping them stay more engaged in monitoring their own health and wellness between office visits.

Mobile technology is transforming the landscape of health care delivery across the globe — the applications quickly taking hold are the ones that provide needed services, and make doctors and patients more efficient.

The mobile health revolution is not hovering somewhere off in the distant future… it’s already here.

Smartphone = Smart Healthcare?
Courtesy of: Allied Health World

Body Maps for iPad Makes Human Anatomy Social

Body Maps for iPad Makes Human Anatomy Social

Body Maps, a collaboration between General Electric and Health Line is taking human anatomy social. The users can explore the human body through over a thousand 3d renderings of body parts, and over 200 videos covering different medical conditions and procedures.

What makes Body Maps social, is that the user can annotate images by drawing on them with their finger and share the results via Facebook or Email.

According to James Hambling, MD, the health channel editor at The Atlantic — this is “the best basic anatomy resource” he has ever seen. It “provides easily digestible anatomical information, it’s intuitive to navigate structures across multiple planes,” and most importantly, its “visually and symbolically on point.”

It’s available for $8.99 in the App Store.