Stupid Cancer App Connects the DES Community Online

Requires iOS 10.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

A new smartphone app from the nonprofit Stupid Cancer gives the DES community a unique opportunity to seek support from others with DES exposure or cancer diagnosis.

The more DES-exposed individuals who use the app, the more valuable it is to everyone in the DES community.

After downloading the free, secure app (initially for Mac only), participants create a profile. By selecting the DES-exposed option in “What was your primary diagnosis?” individuals are instantly matched to others.

Originally shared via Your DES Action Monthly Email Alert!
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More DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

Can Technology Promote Healthy Lifestyle Choices ?

Americans have the power to prevent disease by making healthy lifestyle choices

Americans are increasingly experiencing a host of health issues, with 29.1 million Americans having diabetes and 27.6 million with heart disease. To help improve these conditions, health care professionals have been leveraging health and wellness technologies, including mobile apps, wearable trackers, and even a wearable headband that can help treat depression.

  • For more about this infographic and topic, read Health and Wellness Providers – How Technology is Helping Promote Healthy Lifestyle Choices, by the Arizona State University, February 2017.
  • Enjoy our health infographics album on Flickr.

EWG’s Healthy Living App

Healthy shopping got much easier

EWG’s ratings for more than 120,000 food and personal care products, now at your finger tips.

Download

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Motivating ASD children to go outdoor via the Pokemon GO app

Could Pokemon Go help children with autism develop their social and physical skill?

An academic specialising in autism research says the hit game Pokemon Go will boost the social skills of children on the autism spectrum.

With Pokemon Go, if you want to find anything, you have to walk outside and explore. This could be a huge bridge for people who aren’t necessarily confident in social spaces…

Craig Smith, Autism Spectrum Australia, has developed Explore Everything with Pokemon GO, an iTunes U course as a resource for families to use with their children, or for young people to enjoy on an individual basis. It follows Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences to align learning experiences across a varied range of modes, from verbal and interpersonal activities through to musical and moral reasoning. Most all the learning experiences in the course use Tag Journal as the primary tool for maintaining a journal of activities and reflections.

More Information

  • EXPLORE EVERYTHING WITH POKEMON GO!, autismpedagogy, July 10, 2016.
  • Pokemon Go app set to help children on autism spectrum, abc.net.au, 15 Jul 2016.

Most fertility awareness apps do not employ evidence-based methodology

Smartphone apps not so smart at helping users avoid or achieve pregnancy

You might not want to depend on your smartphone app alone to help you avoid or achieve pregnancy, say the authors of a new study. A review of nearly 100 fertility awareness apps finds that most don’t employ evidence-based methodology.

The findings, published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, also found that many apps include a disclaimer discouraging use for avoiding pregnancy.

New Fertility App Study – Coming Soon!, factsaboutfertility.

The study was led by Marguerite Duane, MD, MHA, FAAFP, adjunct associate professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine and executive director of Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Science (FACTS). Additional researchers include Alison Contreras, PhD, FCP, of FACTS, Elizabeth T. Jensen, MPH, PhD, of Wake Forest School of Medicine, and Amina White, MD, MA, of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

says Duane, a family physician.

But as the authors write,

“The effectiveness of fertility awareness based methods (FABMs) depends on women observing and recording fertility biomarkers and following evidence-based guidelines. Apps offer a convenient way to track fertility biomarkers, but only some employ evidence-based FABMs.”

Success using FABMs depends on many factors, including the ability to accurately make and classify daily observations. But the authors say relying solely on an FABM app may not be sufficient to avoid pregnancy.

“Smartphone apps are increasing in popularity because more and more women are interested in using natural or fertility awareness based methods of family planning because they want to feel empowered with greater knowledge of their bodies,”

For the review, more than 95 apps were identified on iTunes, Google, or Google play. Of those, 55 were excluded from evaluation because they either had a disclaimer prohibiting use for avoiding pregnancy or did not claim to employ an evidence-based FABM.

Smartphone contraceptive apps rarely work and can cause unplanned pregnancy, scientists warn, independent, 30 June 2016.

The researchers evaluated the remaining 40 apps for accuracy using a rating system based on criteria used by Family Practice Management. Each app was rated on a five-point scale for 10 clearly defined criteria, which were weighted based on their level of importance for avoiding pregnancy.

“Of those reviewed, 30 apps predict days of fertility for the user and 10 do not. Only six apps had either a perfect score on accuracy or no false negatives (days of fertility classified as infertile),”

the researchers wrote.

Apps that do not predict fertile days scored high on accuracy only if they required women receive training in an FABM prior to using the app.

“When learning how to track your fertility signs, we recommend that women first receive instruction from a trained educator and then look for an app that scored 4 or more on mean accuracy and authority in our review,”

says Dr. Duane.

Information about evidence based FABMs and a list of all the apps reviewed can be found at the FACTS website.

Most health apps provide little or no protection for the sensitive data they collect

Is the data gathered by mobile health apps and wearables being sold for commercial profit?

Abstract

Is there something dangerous at the heart of your mobile phone? Health and wellness apps and wearables are a burgeoning phenomenon. According to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics there are roughly 170 000 health apps on the Apple and Android app stores, and a recent US survey found that 58% of smartphone users have downloaded at least one of them.

At the same time, there’s an explosion in so called health wearables such as the fitness tracker Fitbit. They measure more and more things, from posture and sleep patterns, to steps taken, blood pressure, vision, body temperature, and heart activity. Forecasts from digital health consultants Tractica suggest we’ll be buying 98 million wearable health devices every year by 2021. Fitbit alone sold 21 million units in 2015.

Indeed, using wearables in routine healthcare is UK government policy. In September 2015, the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, outlined plans to get a quarter of smartphone users—15% of all NHS patients—routinely accessing NHS advice, services, and medical records through apps by the end of the next financial year. Hunt said:

“I also want patients not just to be able to read their medical record on their smartphone but to add to it, whether by recording their own comments or by plugging in their own wearable devices to it.”

The NHS plans to start issuing free apps and wearables to patients in 2017.

Read What happens to data gathered by health and wellness apps?,
The BMJ 2016;353:i3406, 23 June 2016. Image via @bmj_latest.

Apple is opening up its CareKit framework to developers

Apple’s plan to turn the iPhone into a medical wonder starts now

Apple Advances Health Apps with CareKit, New Software Framework Helps Developers Empower People to Take a More Active Role in their Health, Apple Press Release, 2016.

CUPERTINO, California — March 21, 2016 — Apple today announced CareKit, a new software framework designed to help developers enable people to actively manage their own medical conditions. iPhone apps using CareKit make it easier for individuals to keep track of care plans and monitor symptoms and medication; providing insights that help people better understand their own health. With the ability to share information with doctors, nurses or family members, CareKit apps help people take a more active role in their health.

“We’re thrilled with the profound impact ResearchKit has already had on the pace and scale of conducting medical research, and have realised that many of the same principles could help with individual care, We believe that giving individuals the tools to understand what is happening with their health is incredibly powerful, and apps designed using CareKit make this a reality by empowering people to take a more active role in their care.”

said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer.

CareKit will be released as an open source framework next month allowing the developer community to continue building on the first four modules designed by Apple, that include:

  • Care Card helps people track their individual care plans and action items, such as taking medication or completing physical therapy exercises. Activities can automatically be tracked and entered using sensors in Apple Watch or iPhone;
  • Symptom and Measurement Tracker lets users easily record their symptoms and how they’re feeling, like monitoring temperature for possible infections or measuring pain or fatigue. Progress updates could include simple surveys, photos that capture the progression of a wound or activities calculated by using the iPhone’s accelerometer and gyroscope, like quantifying range of motion;
  • Insight Dashboard maps symptoms against the action items in the Care Card to easily show how treatments are working; and
  • Connect makes it easy for people to share information and communicate with doctors, care teams or family members about their health and any change in condition.

“With ResearchKit, we quickly realised the power of mobile apps for running inexpensive, high-quality clinical studies with unprecedented reach. We hope that CareKit will help us close the gap between our research findings and how we care for our Parkinson’s patients day-to-day. It’s opening up a whole new opportunity for the democratisation of research and medicine.”

said Ray Dorsey, MD, David M. Levy Professor of Neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Developers of health and wellness apps are excited to build these CareKit modules into apps for Parkinson’s patients, post-surgery progress, home health monitoring, diabetes management, mental health and maternal health.

  • Sage Bionetworks and the University of Rochester are using CareKit to turn the mPower ResearchKit study into a valuable tool to help better inform patients about their condition and care providers about treatment.
  • The Texas Medical Center is designing apps to guide and support care pathways for its 8 million patients to improve their health through enhanced connectivity with their care teams.
  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center will provide patients with more insight into their own chronic care management through home health monitoring devices that securely store data in HealthKit.
  • One Drop is empowering people with a better approach to managing their diabetes.
  • Start, by Iodine, helps people on antidepressants understand if their medication is working for them or not, and helps their doctors deliver more informed care.
  • Glow, Inc. will incorporate CareKit modules into its pregnancy app, Glow Nurture, to guide women through a healthier pregnancy.

These are a few of the first apps. For more information, visit www.apple.com/carekit.

 

80% of health apps tested sharing sensitive health information

Privacy Policies of Android Diabetes Apps and Sharing of Health Information

diabete-apps image
81% of diabetes apps do not have privacy policies available before a user download the app.

Study overview

Privacy Policies of Android Diabetes Apps and Sharing of Health Information, JAMA. 2016;315(10):1051-1052. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.19426, March 8, 2016.

This march 2016 study examines the privacy risks and the relationship between privacy disclosures and practices of health apps.

Mobile health apps can help individuals manage chronic health conditions. One-fifth of smartphone owners had health apps in 2012, and 7% of primary care physicians recommended a health app. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the prescription of some apps.

Health Apps May Share Your Data, Study Finds, livescience, March 08, 2016.

Health apps can transmit sensitive medical data, including disease status and medication compliance. Privacy risks and the relationship between privacy disclosures and practices of health apps are understudied.

Once sensitive medical information is leaked, then the consumer has totally lost control over it and they can never take it back

said Sarah Blenner, a co-author of the study.

How Android is Transforming the Medical Devices Market, infographic

Android-based medical devices have recently seen a big surge in adoption

How the Android platform is influencing healthcare using new technologies and apps.

This infographic explains the key trends in the Android OS medical devices market and where embedded healthcare technology is headed.

Medical-Apps-Market infographic
This infographic explains the key trends in the Android OS medical devices market and where embedded healthcare technology is headed.
Sources and more information

How Period Trackers have changed Girl Culture

Our Bodies, Our Apps: For the Love of Period-Trackers

image of girl-and-phone
Period-tracking apps are exactly what they sound like — simple menstrual calendars that help you keep track of monthly cycles as well as symptoms like mood fluctuations or headaches. Summer Skyes 11

My 18-year-old daughter knows exactly when it will be that time of the month. Since June, she’s been plugging the dates of her menstrual cycle into a popular period tracking app, and has it programmed to send her an alert every month, two days before her next period is due.

There are over 200 different period tracker apps to choose from, and they are immensely popular.

Continue reading:

  • How Period Trackers Have Changed Girl Culture,
    nytimes, NOVEMBER 12, 2015
  • Our Bodies, Our Apps: For the Love of Period-Trackers,
    nytimes, JANUARY 23, 2014.
Some suggestions…