Mobile health roundup: Medtronic, Mayo Clinic, Medtronic, GE, FDA and more

By Brian Dolan
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PreventiceSkin allergy app: Preventice teamed up with the Mayo Clinic to create a web-based app and a native iPhone app called CARD System, which provides physicians and patients with access to information about chemicals, preservatives and fragrances in skin care products that cause allergic skin reactions. The apps will help patients find safe products and track allergic reactions should they occur. According to Preventice's press release: A National Ambulatory Medical Care survey conducted in 1995 estimated that 8.4 million people visit their doctor because of skin allergies. The company also found that allergic reactions to skin care and cosmetic products were the second most frequent dermatologic diagnosis. CARD stands for Contact Allergen Replacement Database and it contains more than 8,100 known ingredients found in more than 7,000 commercial skin care products. Mayo originally created CARD in 1999, but the product release with Preventice is the first instance of it going mobile. More details

Medtronic PacemakerMedtronic's tiny pacemaker talks to smartphone? Medtronic is developing the world’s smallest pacemaker -- a fraction of the size of a penny -- it would use no leads and be inserted via a catheter. Medtronic has already created most of the hardware for the miniscule device, including its circuit board, oscillator, capacitor, memory, and wireless telemetry. It is still trying to figure out how to power it. Still, the company's Vice President for Medicine and Technology, Stephen Oesterle showed off one prototype at TEDMED last October and also discussed the device with the MIT Technology Review recently. During the demos, Oesterle has shown the device communicating with and transmitting data to a BlackBerry device. In five years it could be on the market, Oesterle said. Technology Review

Great quotes from Global Health Hub: "Though paradoxical, many of those living on less than $2 per day do have mobile phones. 'The quickest way to get rid of poverty right now, is to have one mobile telephone,' said Nobel Laureate Muhammed Yunus of Grameen Bank. Health care to anyone, anytime, anywhere need not be a slogan. Studies indicate that the poor are willing to pay for entertainment value-added services on their handhelds. Proof of concept studies have confirmed that mHealth is feasible. With exponential growth in wireless broadband, medical technology, and drop in prices, cost effective innovations in mHealth could well be the answer," stated Professor K. Ganapathy, President, Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation, India. GHhub

mHealth Alliance's David Aylward: "From its earliest days, the US wireless industry offered emergency 9-1-1 calls for free. Years ago I bought cell service for my daughters so they would be safer. I don't think they ever called 9-1-1, but the offer contributed substantially to the growth of the US wireless industry. That industry has a similar opportunity with mHealth, especially in emerging markets." mHA

Launch app(s) first, then create the peripheral device(s): Montreal-based Carre Technologies is developing wearable, wireless health sensors, but while those are not yet ready to go to market the company has created a handful of basic smartphone health apps. Wonder how many other device makers are following or have followed a similar path: Apps first, then devices to connect to them? NextMontreal

Professor of Gerontology explains mHealth's most common challenge: "[These] applications — unimaginable only a few years ago — are within our grasp. However the most commonly reported obstacle is still the belief that such technology would be too expensive." It may be true, but I don't offer hear expense being the most common obstacle for mHealth. Might be a good sign that pricepoints are now the biggest obstacle according to some. SignOnSanDiego

Healthcare is going mobile, but who pays? ABC News covers how the VA has been using Bosch Healthcare's Health Buddy and asks some high level questions about mobile health business models. ABC

FDA regulations of mobile health continue to befuddle: HealthLeaders Media recently published an article on FDA regulation of smartphone medical apps that's more confusing than helpful. Quote from Dr. Joe Smith from West Wireless Health Institute may be the exception: "Those applications that should get FDA approval 'would be those that provide physicians with information that they use to make a diagnosis or treatment decision'," he said. That would include the majority of medical apps since most are clinical reference apps. HealthLeaders

The tech part is easy: MobileActive has put together a list of 13 best practices for NGOs, governments, aid organizations and others launching mHealth initiatives. MobileActive

Apps for nurses: NurseConnect.com offers up the best smartphone apps for nurses. NurseConnect

GE Health Apps: GE Healthcare has penned a post in R&D Magazine explaining its recent moves with consumer-facing smartphone health apps. The apps it co-developed with MedHelp are the focus. R&D