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Controlling Glucose: Mobile Apps to the Rescue

In the United States, diabetes affects 25.8 million people, for whom the costs of care exceed $100 billion annually. Clinical trials suggest that improved self-care and lifestyle changes can lead to better diabetes-related outcomes. Unfor­tunately, other studies indicate that just 55% of patients with type 2 diabetes receive diabetes education, and only 16% report adhering to recommended self-care practices. Part of the problem behind the poor dissemination of and adherence to behavioral interventions is that patients with diabetes are generally limited to 15-minute office visits with their primary care providers. In that short period, it’s often challenging for physicians and healthcare providers to thoroughly educate patients on their disease. Further complicating the issue is that many patients do not have access to one-on-one or group interventions that can enhance adherence to important self-care practices. Testing a Mobile Apps on Glucose Control In a study published in the September 2011 issue of Diabetes Care, my colleagues and I tested a diabetes coaching system for patients with type 2 diabetes. The system uses mobile phone applications and patient/provider portals to provide feedback on self-management and blood glucose results. It also collects data on lifestyle behaviors and clinical manage­ment. The hope was that this program could reduce A1C levels over 1 year. In our analysis, three intervention groups consisting of patients and physicians received different amounts of infor­mation. Maximal treatment consisted of automated, real-time education and behavioral messaging in response to individu­ally analyzed blood glucose values, diabetes medications, and lifestyle behaviors communicated by cell phone. Quarterly reports were given to providers that summarized patients’ gly­cemic control, medication management, lifestyle behaviors, and evidence-based...
Smartphone App Diagnoses Malaria

Smartphone App Diagnoses Malaria

Lifelens has created an innovative point-of-care smartphone application that diagnoses malaria from a snapshot of a drop of blood. While there are several apps that use cell phones to take pictures and transmit the images to physicians for diagnosis, this particular app performs the diagnostics directly on the cell phone. The new Lifelens app runs on Windows Phone 7 software and uses high resolution imaging sensor that requires a micro ball lens attachment.  The technology works by taking a small blood smear stained with a special chemical that turns the malaria parasite purple. The user then takes a picture using the cell phone with the special lens attachment that provides 350x zoom. An automated computer vision analysis is able to detect any parasites present in the blood – and determine the density and progression of the infection. Imagine Cup 2011 SDI – Lifelens According to the WHO’s 2010 World Malaria Report, there are over 225 million cases of malaria each year, 781,000 of which are fatal. About 29,000 children under the age of 5 die every day, mainly from preventable causes. This equates to nearly 21 deaths per minute. Approximately $1 billion a year is spent treating malaria, the majority of which is wasted on misdiagnoses and the cost of treatment. The cost of conventional rapid diagnostic tests is $3.40 per patient. Using Lifelens, the estimated cost is $0.56 per patient—a savings which the creators hope will expand the mission of cheap, available malaria diagnostics.  ...
Heart Monitor for Smartphones Helps Docs

Heart Monitor for Smartphones Helps Docs

A small heart monitor that harnesses the power of smartphones may assist physicians in treatment decisions by immediately identifying and then alerting them about cardiac anomalies in heart patients. Detecting the onset of cardiac anomalies at an early stage is critical in preventing major cardiac events. Developed jointly by the Embedded Systems and Telecommunications Circuits labs at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), the device offers round-the-clock remote monitoring of patients and may help doctors respond to heart problems more quickly. The monitor consists of four noninvasive electrode sensors attached to the skin, which are then linked to a radio module and computer chip that clips onto a patient’s belt. The system collects reliable and precise data, as well as provides an automatic analysis and immediate transmission of data via to the individual’s smartphone. Images and data are then sent by email or text to a physician, who can intervene if...
Need a Blood Glucose Meter? There’s an App for That!

Need a Blood Glucose Meter? There’s an App for That!

A new device allows patients with diabetes to monitor their blood glucose using a smartphone.  Smartphone applications that assist people with myriad aspects of their lives seem to be emerging hourly, so it was only a matter of time before they permeated healthcare. iBGStar® is a new blood glucose meter for iPhones or iPod touch that fits seamlessly into busy lifestyles. Patients first diagnosed with diabetes typically have to check their blood often, and those with long-established diabetes may have to check multiple times a day, depending on many factors such as the number of insulin doses they’re prescribed. Blood glucose meters can help guide patients when selecting foods, portions, exercise, and medication doses. The innovative  iBGStar® attachment connects to the iPhone and iPod touch, allowing patients to view and analyze accurate, reliable information. The application accompanying the device will keep track of blood glucose, carbs intake, and insulin dose, as well as enabling patients to input data and specific notes for personalized information. This may help physicians analyze patterns and variations to make better-informed diabetes management decisions. Physician’s Weekly wants to know… Would a device like this help you better manage patients with diabetes?     | More...
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