DiversityNursing Blog

Apple, Google, Samsung vie to bring health apps to wearables

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Jun 23, 2014 @ 12:54 PM

By CHRISTINA FARR

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SAN FRANCISCO, USA - For decades, medical technology firms have searched for ways to let diabetics check blood sugar easily, with scant success. Now, the world's largest mobile technology firms are getting in on the act.

Apple Inc, Samsung Electronics Co and Google Inc, searching for applications that could turn nascent wearable technology like smartwatches and bracelets from curiosities into must-have items, have all set their sites on monitoring blood sugar, several people familiar with the plans say.
These firms are variously hiring medical scientists and engineers, asking U.S. regulators about oversight and developing glucose-measuring features in future wearable devices, the sources said.
The first round of technology may be limited, but eventually the companies could compete in a global blood-sugar tracking market worth over $12 billion by 2017, according to research firm GlobalData.
Diabetes afflicts 29 million Americans and costs the economy some $245 billion in 2012, a 41 percent rise in five years. Many diabetics prick their fingers as much as 10 times daily in order to check levels of a type of sugar called glucose.
Non-invasive technology could take many forms. Electricity or ultrasound could pull glucose through the skin for measurement, for instance, or a light could be shined through the skin so that a spectroscope could measure for indications of glucose.
"All the biggies want glucose on their phone," said John Smith, former chief scientific officer of Johnson & Johnson's LifeScan, which makes blood glucose monitoring supplies. "Get it right, and there's an enormous payoff."
Apple, Google and Samsung declined to comment, but Courtney Lias, director at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's chemistry and toxicology devices division, told Reuters a marriage between mobile devices and glucose-sensing is "made in heaven."
In a December meeting with Apple executives, the FDA described how it may regulate a glucometer that measures blood sugar, according to an FDA summary of the discussion.
Such a device could avoid regulation if used for nutrition, but if marketed to diabetics, it likely would be regulated as a medical device, according to the summary, first reported by the Apple Toolbox blog.
The tech companies are likely to start off focusing on non-medical applications, such as fitness and education.
Even an educational device would need a breakthrough from current technology, though, and some in the medical industry say the tech firms, new to the medical world, don't understand the core challenges.
"There is a cemetery full of efforts" to measure glucose in a non-invasive way, said DexCom chief executive Terrance Gregg, whose firm is known for minimally invasive techniques. To succeed would require "several hundred million dollars or even a billion dollars," he said.
 

POACHING

 

Silicon Valley is already opening its vast wallet.

 

Medtronic Inc Senior Vice President of Medicine and Technology Stephen Oesterle recently said he now considers Google to be the medical device firm's next great rival, thanks to its funding for research and development, or R&D.

 

"We spend $1.5 billion a year on R&D at Medtronic - and it's mostly D," he told the audience at a recent conference. "Google is spending $8 billion a year on R&D and, as far as I can tell, it's mostly R."

 

Google has been public about some of its plans: it has developed a "smart" contact lens that measures glucose. In a blog post detailing plans for its smart contact lens, Google described an LED system that could warn of high or low blood sugar by flashing tiny lights. It has recently said it is looking for partners to bring the lens to market.

 

The device, which uses tiny chips and sensors that resemble bits of glitter to measure glucose levels in tears, is expected to be years away from commercial development, and skeptics wonder if it will ever be ready.

 

Previous attempts at accurate non-invasive measurement have been foiled by body movement, and fluctuations in hydration and temperature. Tears also have lower concentrations of glucose, which are harder to track.

 

But the Life Sciences team in charge of the lens and other related research is housed at the Google X facility, where it works on major breakthroughs such as the self-driving car, a former employee who requested anonymity said.

 

Apple's efforts center on its iWatch, which is on track to ship in October, three sources at leading supply chain firms told Reuters. It is not clear whether the initial release will incorporate glucose-tracking sensors.

 

Still, Apple has poached executives and bio-sensor engineers from such medical technology firms as Masimo Corp, Vital Connect, and the now-defunct glucose monitoring startup C8 Medisensors.

 

"It has scooped up many of the most talented people with glucose-sensing expertise," said George Palikaras, CEO of Mediwise, a startup that hopes to measure blood sugar levels beneath the skin's surface by transmitting radio waves through a section of the human body.

 

The tech companies are also drawing mainstream interest to the field, he said. "When Google announced its smart contact lens, that was one of the best days of my career. We started getting a ton of emails," Palikaras said.

 

Samsung was among the first tech companies to produce a smartwatch, which failed to catch on widely. It since has introduced a platform for mobile health, called Simband, which could be used on smart wrist bands and other mobile devices.

 

Samsung is looking for partners and will allow developers to try out different sensors and software. One Samsung employee, who declined to be named, said the company expects to foster noninvasive glucose monitoring.

 

Sources said Samsung is working with startups to implement a "traffic light" system in future Galaxy Gear smartwatches that flashes blood-sugar warnings.

 

Samsung Ventures has made a number of investments in the field, including in Glooko, a startup that helps physicians access their patients' glucose readings, and in an Israeli glucose monitoring startup through its $50 million Digital Health Fund.

 

Ted Driscoll, a health investor with Claremont Creek Ventures, told Reuters he's heard pitches from potentially promising glucose monitoring startups, over a dozen in recent memory.

 

Software developers say they hope to incorporate blood glucose data into health apps, which is of particular interest to athletes and health-conscious users.

 

"We're paying close attention to research around how sugar impacts weight loss," said Mike Lee, cofounder of MyFitnessPal.

 

After decades of false starts, many medical scientists are confident about a breakthrough on glucose monitoring. Processing power allows quick testing of complex ideas, and the miniaturization of sensors, the low cost of electronics, and the rapid proliferation of mobile devices have given rise to new opportunities.

 

One optimist is Jay Subhash, a recently-departed senior product manager for Samsung Electronics. "I wouldn't be at all surprised to see it one of these days," he said. — Reuters

Source: gmanetwork.com

Topics: apps, health, Google, electronics, Apple, samsung

11 iPhone apps every nurse should download

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Mon, Jan 06, 2014 @ 10:44 AM

Apple has compiled a list of its top 11 apps available in the App Store that are designed specifically for nurses. And knowing all of the submissions and apps that run through the store every day, if Apple says these are awesome, we are apt to believe it. Or at least, to check them out!

According to Mobi Health News“most of these nurse apps have remained on Apple’s list since it first published its iTunes section for healthcare providers.” And it makes sense that the company has worked hard to ensure there are good, popular apps available to nurses, as healthcare professionals are known to be some of the first adopters of using smartphones at and for work.

In fact, a study last year by Wolters Kluwer Health’s Lippincott Williams Wilkins (LLW) of 3,900 nurses revealed that in early 2012, 71 percent of nurses were already using smartphones professionally. They’re also being used more and more in nursing school.

Here’s the list:

Voalte One by Voalte

Voalte-Screenshot

“Voalte One is designed to be a unified communications solution enabling phone calls across the hospital VoIP system, text messaging via the user directory, and user-friendly alarm management.”

Nursing Central by Unbound Medicine

NursingCentral-Screenshot

“Nursing Central helps nurses and students find detailed information on diseases, tests, drugs, and procedures. The moment a question arises you can consult the automatically updating database of 5,000 drugs, find a definition in the dictionary with more than 65,000 entries, interpret hundreds of laboratory and diagnostic tests, and consult the latest disease information. You can also subscribe to your favorite nursing journals and search the entire MEDLINE/PubMed database directly from your mobile device.”

NurseTabs: Fundamentals by AusQuinn, LLC

Fundamentals-Screen-Shot

“This app allows novice nurses and nursing students to access over 120 skills and procedures separated by topic areas learned through fundamental nursing courses. Once the user selects the skill, they will be presented with equipment they will need to perform the procedure and a step-by-step approach to performing the procedure safely. In addition, users will have access to basic information related to common subject matter learned in fundamentals courses to utilize in the clinical setting.”

PatientTouch by PatientSafe Solutions

PatientTouchSS

“PatientTouch is a Mobile Care Orchestration solution that enables you to orchestrate people, processes, and data in real time. By connecting frontline clinicians to their patients, care team, and existing EHR infrastructure, PatientTouch improves safety, quality, efficiency, and nursing satisfaction, while reducing costs. Ultimately, PatientTouch allows you to spend more time on direct patient care. PatientTouch delivers Positive Patient Identification (PPID) workflows, clinically contextual communications, and configurable care interventions.”

Medigram by Medigram, Inc.

Medigram-App-Store-Image

“Stop using that pager from the ’80s! Medigram for iPhone is a secure group messaging application designed to improve communication and care coordination in the hospital environment.”

NurseTabs: Medsurge by AusQuinn, LLC

MedSurgeSS

“This application allows novice nurses and nursing students to search for over 340 common diseases and disorders, separated by body system. Once the disease/disorder is selected, the user will be able to have useful information right at their fingertips, including a nursing process approach to managing client care. There are simple explanations of what each of the diseases/disorders are and common assessment findings associated with them. In addition, useful information is included that incorporates priority assessments needed for clients with the selected disease/disorder.”

Lab Values Reference by Imago LLC

Lab-Values-SS

“This app is perfect for both academic and clinical settings, providing clear, concise coverage of 375 of the most commonly performed laboratory tests. Organized by body system and lab panels, and presented in a consistent format with normal findings, indications, test explanation, test results and clinical significance, as well as an overview of order of draw.”

NCSBN Learning Extension Medication Flashcards by National Council of the State Boards of Nursing

NCSBN-SS

"Preparing for NCLEX? Discover a simpler way to master drug information as part of your NCLEX review. Study thousands of drugs grouped into manageable categories, all with common actions and effects. Quickly access interesting facts about medications that will stick with you as you prepare for NCLEX.”

The Merck Manuals for Mobile + Web by Unbound Medicine, Inc.

Merck-SS

“The Merck Manuals deliver trusted disease management information to any iOS device and the web. Choose The Merck Manual for Mobile and Web standalone app or bundle it with the Merck Manual of Patient Symptoms and Davis’s Drug Guide to create a versatile point-of-need solution.”

Shots by STFM by Group on Immunization Education of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine

Shots-SS

“SHOTS by STFM is an up-to-date digital immunization reference. Perfect for clinicians, teachers, and health care providers or for anyone who need quick answers to tough vaccination questions. SHOTS by STFM is the most comprehensive immunization app available. In addition to the complete set of CDC vaccine schedules and footnotes, it also includes graphics, images, and commentary. Important up-to-date information is available for each vaccine, including: basics, high risk indications, adverse reactions, contraindications, catch-up, administration, epidemiology, brand names, and additives.”

Lexicomp by Wolters Kluwer Health

Lexicomp SS

“Lexicomp, the most trusted and comprehensive resource for mobile drug and clinical information for pharmacists, physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.”

Do you use any of these apps? Have other options nurses should be checking out? Tell us about them in the comments below!

Source: Mobi Health News

Topics: apps, nurses, Mobi Health News, Apple, best of 2013

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