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The Future of Just-In-Time Response

One of my favorite presentations at our recent Health Horizons conference came from the Chief of the San Ramon, California Fire Department, Richard Price whose team built an incredibly simple, but incredibly powerful tool for enabling people to respond to nearby health emergencies.

The Future of Mobile Health is Disconnected

Like an increasingly large number of people, I avoid computer, phones, and just about any other form of interaction with technology-based media when I'm on vacation. Think of it as a media diet to combat information overload and ensure a sense of well-being. And this isn't just an idiosyncratic choice--it turns out that an increasing body of research is showing that all of our information sources are making us unhealthy.

Ladies, get the mobile health app designed just for you! It's pink!


Okay, I admit it, I took the bait. I try not to write about every mobile health app I come across, but this one definitely caught my attention.

The Significance of Significance

A few years ago, I was at a medical conference when a presenter pulled a bit of academic magic: He showed us that the study he just finished wound up being just below the statistically significant threshold, but by making some reasonable adjustments--throwing out a patient or two for not fitting the exact study criteria upon further evaluation--he had, abracadabra!, a significant finding. The quantitative changes in his results were almost negligible, but the labeling difference was huge: The study now had all this new weight to it.

Consumer ultrasounds: looking inside yourself from the comfort of home

Brian Dolan at MobiHealthNews has an interesting post on the future of "consumerization of medical devices." GE Healthcare recently released Vscan, an $8000 ultra-mobile ultrasound device; in a few years, it is possible that patients will have similar hand-held devices in their homes.

Shopping for Your Genome

I spent the last couple days at the Personalized Medicine World Conference and one of the most intriguing companies I encountered was a small startup called HolGenTech, which aims to combine genetic data and mobile devices to give people just-in-time recommendations about what they should and shouldn't consume.

A new iPhone app provides opportunities for grassroots, participatory epidemiology

Outbreaks Near Me enables users to track and report outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as H1N1 (swine flu), on the ground in real time. This new iPhone app is from HealthMap, a website that mines the Internet for disparate data sources of varying reliability—from news sources (such as Google News) to curated personal accounts (such as ProMED) to validated official alerts (such as World Health Organization)—to track and map infectious disease outbreaks.

Congratulations to SMS texting pioneer Ken Banks -- mobile health wouldn't be the same without him!

FrontlineSMS is a free, open-source software platform that enables large-scale, two-way text messaging using only a laptop, a GSM modem, and inexpensive cell phones.  The program was developed by Ken Banks, the founder of, which specializes in the application of mobile technology in the non-profit sector, particularly in the developing world. In recognition of his work with and FrontlineSMS, Ken recently won a prestigious Tech Award, an international award that honors innovators from around the world who are applying technology to benefit humanity.  

More evidence that text messaging is a powerful health tool

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hosted the 2009 National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media.  I wish I could have been there.  Thankfully, Susannah Fox, researcher extraordinaire for the Pew Internet & American Life Project and a regular contributor to, has posted a partial accounting of the proceedings. I encourage those of you interested in the role of social media and health to read her post and the accompanying informative comments.

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