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Aug 14

The article, Amazing Innovation: Mobile Apps for the disabled, describes Nokia’s new application, ThinkControl, that reads your mind (ie, reads your brainwaves) to enable you to select a name from a contact list and place a phone call. The article goes on to describe a dozen other open-source mobile health projects to assist the disabled including:

  • MobileOCR–uses a powerful optical character recognition (OCR) engine to provide low vision and blind individuals with a way to read printed text
  • Haptic Braille Perception–present Braille characters on a mobile phone touch screen with the phone’s vibrator, called V-Braille. Studies so far have shown that with minimal training
  • Location Orienter–text to speech software and the Android location services to determine the users’ current location and speak the approximate address.

Click here for full article.

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Aug 12

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has launched a new online portal, the CDC Gateway to Health Communications and Social Marketing Practice. It’s purpose is:

to help build your health communication or social marketing campaigns and programs. Whether you are looking for tips for analyzing and segmenting an audience, choosing appropriate channels and tools, or evaluating the success of your messages or campaigns, it’s all here in one place!

The site provides information on targeting your audience, choosing the right channels, tools and templates and most interesting, success stories. Click here to visit the site.

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Aug 11

3 Things to Know

1)    On July 29, 2010 the FDA issued a warning letter to Novartis for the implementation of a Facebook share button and sharebar on the Tasigna product website.

2)    When the share button was clicked, it displayed a post on the user’s Facebook wall, which included the brand name and the indication, but did not include side effects and warnings (ie,no  fair balance). (Note: This display information is contained in hidden meta-data in the source code of the main website.)

3)    This FDA action in no way impacts pharma’s ability to use Facebook, social media or even share bars; this action reaffirms that there is no informal “one-click rule” and if you control the content you need to present fair balance.

3 Things to Do

1)    Make sure brand teams, regulatory review teams and agency partners know about meta-tags and this social sharing issue.

2)    Meta-data that includes the product name should not include the indication.

3)    Using share-functionality and Facebook Like buttons are still recommended, but your current implementations should be audited to ensure compliance with fair balance.

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Aug 10

Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen’s book titled: The Empowered Patient: How to Get the Right Diagnosis, Buy the Cheapest Drugs, Beat Your Insurance Company, and Get the Best Medical Care Every Time goes on sale today.

An empowered patient herself, Cohen talks of her personal experiences fighting for appropriate medical care for her infant child. She goes on to relay stories of many people who have suffered needlessly for years, been misdiagnosed, or treated with incorrect medications because of medical mistakes, misinformation, or incompetence. The stories are downright frightening. And Cohen uses them to deliver a positive, simple message: WE as patients, have the power to take charge of our healthcare and save our own lives. The stories of these real people who used their brains, common sense, and the Internet to solve their own medical problems are empowering in and of themselves.  But Cohen doesn’t stop there. She goes on to provide practical actionable advice, such as:

  • How to be a “bad” patient – by asking a lot of questions and not worrying about whether or not the doctor likes you
  • How to avoid a misdiagnosis – by asking questions that can save your life
  • How to become an “internet medical detective” – going beyond Google and harnessing the full power of the Internet
  • How to save money on prescription drugs – it may be as easy as calling your doctor
  • How to make sense of healthcare reform – figuring out the best policy for your family and avoiding scams

By combining personal stories with surprising facts and figures, Cohen identifies real problems and offers comforting advice and solutions.

Elizabeth Cohen will be keynoting at e-Patient Connections 2010 and all participants will get a free copy of The Empowered Patient.

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Aug 06

There is huge potential in games for health and some of the more popular games in this space are “brain games.” But do they actually work?

Turns out some think they do, others say they don’t. Nintendo claims their Big Brain Academy can improve “brain age” and get dramatic results in memory. However, last year a French scientist did a control-group study that disputes these claims.

A recent article, This Is Your Brain on Games, details how one company, Posit Science is investing heavily in research to show their games are indeed different, and do achieve measurable results.

Posit Science clinical studies have shown that after completing their Brain Fitness Program, participants show auditory-processing speeds increased by 131%, and memory improved by the equivalent of 10 years. The DriveSharp program participants have their risk of a crash cut by 50% and reduce unsafe driving maneuvers by 36%; and 87% of participants in the InSight program for visual processing and memory showed an increased rate of visual processing, reducing the risk of tripping and falling and improving the ability to maintain independence by keeping up with the demands of daily living—such as counting change or finding a phone number.

Read the full article here.

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Aug 04

The Stanford School of Medicine recently announced that all incoming med students would be getting an Apple iPad because it, “creates opportunities for efficient, mobile, and innovative learning.”Now UC Irvine School of Medicine is following suit providing their med students with iPads loaded up with the first year curriculum. They say that the iPads will be pre-loaded with hundreds of medical applications, tools to complement various learning styles, and the iPads will facilitate interactive, self-directed learning.

Indeed they probably will. And if docs can learn better from iPads, why not patients?

Much of the health literacy problem relates to literacy itself. But many who may only read at a fifth grade level can comprehend audio/video instructions at a higher level and pace. Add in full-motion, color animations and those small-print patient ed brochures seem downright old-fashioned. Repetition has long been a key to learning, and while the doctor can only tell us about our high blood pressure once in our ten minute visit, having an engaging mini-tutorial that we can watch a few times and share with our caregivers would certainly enhance comprehension and retention.

So, should patients use an iPad to learn about their conditions, medications and risks of procedures? What do you think?

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Aug 03

zeckNovartis Vaccines has launched a new health game targeting the German market to raise awareness of tick-born encephalitis (in German, Zeckenencephalitis). Zeck Attack is a simple arcade-style game in which players shoot ticks at unsuspecting victims who are relaxing in parks and other outdoor settings. It’s a classic race against the clock in which points are earned for each person shot with a tick, and points are lost if you accidentally shoot a doctor holding a vaccine.

Click here to play the game.

Aug 01

No life science or healthcare marketer should ignore the 500 million extremely active users on Facebook. Although regulated industries have some limitations on what they can or should do on the world’s largest social site, The 8 Success Criteria For Facebook Page Marketing from Altimeter offers excellence guidance. Their 8 success criteria are:

  1. Set community expectations
  2. Provide cohesive branding
  3. Be up to date
  4. Live authenticity
  5. Participate in dialog
  6. Enable peer-to-peer interactions
  7. Foster advocacy
  8. Solicit a call to action

Read the full report here.

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