Thursday, March 10, 2016

7 Best FDA Approved Health Apps — An Update

 

health-care-of-the-future-connected-and-mobile

As the mobile health industry continues to rapidly expand with no signs of slowing down, FDA regulation of health apps has evolved too.

Today, there are more than 100,000 mobile health apps on the market for Apple and android devices, with mobile health revenues projected to jump to $26 billion by 2017, according to Mobile Health Economics.

In February 2015, the FDA announced plans to review mobile medical apps that interpret data and act like medical devices. (We include examples of companies the FDA warned about this at the end of this post.)

The agency is basically making a call on the safety and effectiveness of certain apps. “Some mobile apps carry minimal risks to consumer or patients, but others can carry significant risks if they do not operate correctly. The FDA’s tailored policy protects patients while encouraging innovation,” said Jeffrey Shuren, M.D., J.D., Director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, in a statement.

The agency does not intend to regulate apps that track a person’s daily steps, enable patients to refill prescriptions or search medical references. Nor will they oversee the mobile devices, such as iPhones and tablets, which can run medical apps.

It’s important to know which apps are worth your precious time and money. Therefore, PYP updated our popular 2013 list of the best FDA approved health apps and devices:


AirStrip ONEAirStrip ONE evolved from a diagnostic aid that delivers patient data from medical devices, electronic medical records and patient monitors to clinicians – to a platform that enables mobile interoperability. AirStrip Technologies’ platform intends to connect clinicians with patient data and with other providers to share data and promote care collaboration.


AliveCor
AliveCor Mobile ECG turns your smartphone into an electrocardiogram by snapping on the back of an iPhone. To take cardiac measurements, a person presses the device against the skin over the heart. A new feature allows people to keep a digital journal and track their symptoms, activity and diet.


Diabetes Manager
This device captures blood-glucose information and transmits it in real-time. WellDoc’s system offers a personalized coach to help patients manage their medication and treatment. WellDoc now calls its device BlueStar, and offers a commercial model that also engages a healthcare team in the management of type 2 diabetes.


iExaminerWelch Allyn designed its iExaminer app and ophthalmoscope to help with detection of conditions like glaucoma or retinopathy of prematurity. The ophthalmoscope connects to an iPhone 4 or 4S and allows providers to store the pictures to a patient file or email and print them.


Mobile MIM
The first medical app ever offered through iTunes, MIM Software designed the Mobile MIM to share images from radiation oncology, radiology, nuclear medicine, neuroimaging and cardiac imaging. The company intends this health app to enhance physician access to image scans to help them consult with peers on challenging cases, reduce image distribution delays and share images with referring physicians, partner institutions and patients.


ResolutionMDResolutionMD diagnostic medical imaging software from Calgary Scientific allows providers to securely access patient images and reports across a single practice or large enterprise healthcare system. Providers can securely review and collaborate from web and mobile devices without downloading any sensitive data.


Triton iPad App
In March 2015, the FDA cleared the Triton iPad App for estimating blood loss during surgery. This app takes a photo of a blood collection container using an iPad camera, and then analyzes it in the cloud. In 2012, the FDA cleared the Pixel app, also from Gauss Surgical. Pixel estimates blood loss during surgery by scanning blood filled sponges in an operating room.

So there you have our recommendations for the most useful, not to mention coolest, FDA-approved health apps on the market for physicians.

Apps the FDA Snagged in the Past

In 2013, the FDA sent an official warning letter to Biosense Technologies Private Limited about their uChek Urine Analyzer. Although the app connects a smartphone to FDA cleared reagent strips, because it allows a phone to analyze the results, it’s considered a medical device.

The FDA might also block importation of a mobile device if a company doesn’t first secure 501(k) clearance. This was the case for EPI Mobile Health Solutions of Singapore, whose Bluetooth-enabled mobile ECG device the FDA prevented from entering the U.S. for nearly one year.


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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Managing Alzheimer’s Symptoms: Eating Problems

Ensuring someone with Alzheimer’s eats and drinks enough can be a challenge for any caregiver. These tips may help:

  • Encourage exercise – Exercise can make a person feel hungrier: The hungrier the person feels, the more likely he or she is to eat.
  • Monitor medications – Some medications interfere with appetite. Others may cause dry mouth, so make sure that the patient gets enough liquids with food. Discuss eating problems with your loved one’s doctor to see if medication needs to change.
  • Make mealtimes pleasing to the patient – Add flowers to the table or play soothing music. Make the patient’s favorite food and serve it on dishes that contrast highly with food colors. Reduce distractions in the eating area. Also, avoid foods that are too hot or too cold, as these may be unpleasant to the patient.
  • Feed the patient like a baby – Try giving the patient little spoonfuls, and sing short, funny rhymes to get him or her to eat. Get the person to smile so that the mouth opens, and then slip a little food in. Provide finger foods and children’s sipper cups, as the person may have trouble using utensils and normal cups.
  • Monitor chewing and swallowing – Chewing and swallowing difficulties can develop as Alzheimer's progresses. If necessary, give instructions on when to chew and when to swallow. Keep the person upright for 30 minutes after eating to avoid choking.
  • Transition into providing only puréed or soft foods – In the later stages of Alzheimer's, the person can no longer swallow food and may choke on food. Swallowing problems can lead to pneumonia because the patient may inhale food or liquid into the lungs. Begin a liquids-only diet when the time is right.

Don't forget to take care of yourself!

Caregiving for a loved one with dementia can be extremely demanding and stressful. Each day can bring more challenges and higher levels of anxiety, often without any signs of appreciation from the person you're taking care of. Unfortunately, when you’re stressed and fatigued, you lose the ability to remain calm and soothing, and the patient will inevitably pick up on those negative feelings. This in turn can add to the patient’s own levels of stress and increase their problem behavior.

Taking care of yourself and getting help and support is essential for both your well-being and your loved one’s quality of life. Respite care can provide a break to help you relieve stress and restore energy. Make use of any services available to you and don't be afraid of asking for help from other family members. It can make all the difference to your success as a caregiver.



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Friday, January 15, 2016

How To Manage Alzheimer’s Symptoms: Hallucinations and Suspicion

Hallucinations can be the result of failing senses. Maintaining consistency and calmness in the environment can help reduce hallucinations. Also, violent movies or television can contribute to paranoia, so avoid letting the patient watch disturbing programs.
When hallucinations or illusions do occur:
  • Don’t argue about what is real and what is fantasy.
  • Respond to the emotional content of what the person is saying, rather than to the factual/fictional content.
  • Seek professional advice if you are concerned about this problem. Medications can sometimes help to reduce hallucinations.

 

Alzheimer’s and suspicion

Confusion and the loss of memory can also cause Alzheimer’s patients to become suspicious of those around them, sometimes accusing their caretakers of theft, betrayal, or some other improper behavior.
  • Offer a simple answer to any accusations, but don’t argue or try to convince them their suspicions are unfounded.
  • Distract the patient with another activity, such as going for a walk, or by changing the subject.
  • If suspicions of theft are focused on a particular object that is frequently mislaid, such as a wallet for example, try keeping a duplicate item on hand to quickly allay the patient’s fears.

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Managing Alzheimer’s symptoms: Belligerence, anger, or aggressive behavior

While creating a calm environment can have a large impact on managing the stress that often results in aggressive behavior, there are also some things you can do during an angry outburst.
  • Don’t confront the person or try to discuss the angry behavior. The person with dementia cannot reflect on unacceptable behavior and cannot learn to control it.
  • Do not initiate physical contact during the angry outburst. Often, physical contact triggers physical violence.
  • Let the person play out the aggression. Give him or her space to be angry alone. Just be sure that both you and the patient are safe.
  • Distract the person to a more pleasurable topic or activity.
  • Look for patterns in the aggression. Consider factors such as privacy, independence, boredom, pain, or fatigue. Avoid activities or topics that anger the person. To help find any patterns, you might keep a log of when the aggressive episodes occur. If the person gets angry when tasks are too difficult, break down tasks into smaller pieces.
  • Get help from others during the activities that anger the patient.
  • Don’t take the aggressiveness personally. It, too, is just part of the dementia.

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