Tag Archives: mhealth

Feds Fund Two Cancer Information Apps

It sounds cute and perky, but Ask Dory! is actually an informative app that helps patients find information about clinical trials for cancer and other diseases.

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Along with another app, My Cancer Genome, the two recently won $20,000 each from the federal government.

Ask Dory! integrates data from www.clinicaltrials.gov. My Cancer Genome provides “therapeutic options based on the individual patient’s tumor gene mutations, making use of  National Cancer Institute’s physician data query clinical trial registry data set and information on genes being evaluated in therapeutic clinical trials,” according to a statement.

The two apps are part of the rapidly growing field of mHealth — or use of mobile devices for health purposes. Some are calling it an “mHealth bubble,” as thousands of groups large and small are rushing to develop the next great app for diabetes, cancer, infectious diseases, weight management,  addictions, and more.

Seeing the potential benefit for patients and providers, federal officials are providing incentives, and funding initiatives as simple as free text messaging reminders for pregnant women and new moms, to apps like Ask Dory!

“What makes these health IT challenges so powerful is their ability to catalyze the expertise and creativity of innovators both in and out of health care,” said Wil Yu, special assistant for innovation at the  Office for the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), which awarded the prizes.

In collaboration with the National Cancer Institute, ONC launched the “Using Public Data for Cancer Prevention and Control: From Innovation to Impact” challenge in summer 2011. The two winners were among four semifinalists who submitted their products to the ONC challenge in November 2011.

—Naseem S. Miller (@NaseemSMiller on Twitter)

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Filed under Health IT, IMNG, mHealth, Oncology, Practice Trends

Physicians Play Important Role in mHealth Integration

Evident from the growth in the size of exhibit hall and the number of participants attending the mHealth Summit this year is that the business and technology side of the field is growing fast. In fact, it’s growing so fast that a group of panelists called it the “mHealth bubble” during a vibrant discussion about the value of mHealth.

The parts playing catch-up are research and evaluation. That’s according to William T. Riley, Ph.D., chair of the NIH mHealth Interest Group, and program director at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Agencies such as the NIH are trying to figure out how best to streamline the research side of things to help with quicker deployment of mHealth products, and according to Dr. Riley, physicians play an important role in integrating mobile technologies in the health care system.

Here’s more from Dr. Riley:

Naseem S. Miller (@NaseemSMiller)


Filed under Family Medicine, health reform, IMNG

mHealth Moving Fast, Raising Hope, And Questions

Hopes, ideas, and hundreds of apps, are floating in the hallways during the third annual mHealth Summit, marking the beginnings of a field that is still in its infancy and carries with it more questions than answers.

The federal government is pushing mHealth, launching programs like the Healthy Apps Challenge, which Dr. Regina Benjamin, the U.S. Surgeon General, introduced in her keynote speech. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, introduced the SmokeFreeTXT program, a text messaging service that helps teens quit smoking. Ms. Sebelius also established the Text4Health Task Force last year to look at other uses of texting in promoting healthy behavior.

“As our phones get more powerful, they are becoming our primary tools for doing everything from getting directions to deciding where to eat, Ms. Sebelius said during her keynote speech on Monday.  “And increasingly, that includes using our phones to track, manage, and improve our health.  In the iTunes store alone, there are nearly 12,000 different apps related to health – a number that will probably have gone up by the time I finish speaking.”

New apps and programs are also being introduced throughout dozens of presentations. And the Exhibit Hall is bustling with booths and posters about different national and global apps and programs addressing a wide range of health issues, from diabetes to mental health to medication adherence and weight loss. But many questions remain: What iss the role of regulatory agencies like the FDA and FCC? What’s the role of the physicians? And what does the future hold?

 Joseph A. Cafazzo, Ph.D., the lead for the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation and an assistant professor at the University of Toronto provided some interesting answers, which you can watch — and comment on — below.

Check back with us, or follow me on Twitter for more from the summit.

—Naseem S. Miller (On Twitter @NaseemSMiller)


Filed under Cardiovascular Medicine, Health Policy, IMNG, Internal Medicine, Primary care

mHealth Summit Kicks Off on Dec.5

The field of mHealth, or use of mobile devices for health purposes, is growing rapidly, and it can revolutionize the way physicians deliver care and patients access information or manage their diseases, experts say.

©Mariusz Black/fotolia.com

In fact, the field “has exploded across the globe, spreading more rapidly than any other technology in history,” according to the organizers of the mHealth Summit, which kicks of Dec. 5 in National Harbor, Maryland.

Roughly 3,500 people are expected to attend the Summit’s third annual meeting, an increase of about 1,000 from 2010. The number of exhibitors has increased from 125 last year to 300 this year.

Sessions, many of which include physicians in their panel of speakers, tackle a wide range of issues, including the management of chronic diseases, remote monitoring of patients, mHealth for fieldworkers, in addition to regulatory and policy developments, and the business side of the emerging technologies and their interoperability.

I’ll be there covering the meetings, and you can follow me @NaseemSMiller.

You can also:

  • Find more information about the Summit here.
  • Download its mobile app here.
  • And follow or join the twitter conversation with #mhs11

And let me know if you’re attending. I’d be very interested in comments and input from physician attendees.


Filed under Health Policy, IMNG