Tag Archives: mobile

Low-cost Anemia Screener Connects to Health Workers’ Cell Phones

Concept: To display test results, the HemoGlobe anemia screening device is slipped onto a patient’s finger and connected with a health worker’s cell phone. [Credit: JHU]
It’s estimated that 600,000 newborns and 100,000 mothers in developing countries die of anemia each year. Biomedical engineering undergraduates at Johns Hopkins have developed a low-cost screening device that works with health workers’ cell phones to help combat this devastating disease.

“This device has the potential to be a game-changer. It will equip millions of health care workers across the globe to quickly and safely detect and report this debilitating condition in pregnant women and newborns. The team members realized that every community health worker already carries a powerful computer in their pocket — their cell phone. So we didn’t have to build a computer for our screening device, and we didn’t have to build a display.”

Soumyadipta Acharya, assistant research professor, Johns Hopkins’ Department of Biomedical Engineering

The noninvasive, “prick-free” device, which goes by the name HemoGlobe, is able to detect and report anemia at the community level. To measure blood hemoglobin levels, the HemoGlobe sensor shines various wavelengths of light through the skin on a patient’s fingertip. The color-coded test results are then displayed on a cell phone’s screen.

The results are also used to create a real-time map that shows the prevalence of anemia, which helps health workers follow-up and distribute additional resources.

How is technology changing your life for the better?

Learn more at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-07/jhu-uic072412.php

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.


Rx. for Memory Loss – Smartphones?

Soon, people with moderate-to-severe memory impairment may be able to regain some of their independence using smartphones or other mobile devices. Researchers from Baycrest, a developer of aging and brain health innovations that is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, explain how this week in an online release ahead of print publication in the international journal Neuropsychological Rehabilitation.

Our findings demonstrate that it is possible to harness powerful emerging technologies with brain science in an innovative way to give people with a range of memory deficits some of their independence back.”

— Eva Svoboda, a clinical neuropsychologist in the Neuropsychology and Cognitive Health Program, Baycrest

The study’s authors believe that commercial technologies such as mobile electronic devices and smartphones hold enormous possibilities for people with memory impairment because of their inherent storage capacity, their potential for auditory and vibration alerts, the rich effects available through their multimedia capabilities, and the high appeal of consumer devices for end-users.

Learn more at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-02/bcfg-sth020812.php

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.

Disaster Tech: Smartphone Apps Provide Assistance for Aid Workers and Victims

Software with the potential to help aid workers quickly and accurately locate missing people has been developed by Dr Gavin Brown and his team of computer scientists in the Machine Learning and Optimisation group at The University of Manchester.

In addition, the team’s REUNITE mobile and web platform supports developments that can help aid workers use a smartphone to quickly recognize individuals affected by malnutrition and that can help people use their smartphones to locate “safe zones” during a terrorist attack or natural disaster.

Our results have demonstrated that mobile intelligent systems can be deployed in low-power, high-risk environments, to the benefit of all involved. We believe the refugee aid community will be a strong beneficiary of such technology over the next few years.”

— Dr Gavin Brown, University of Manchester

The researchers hope that the smartphone technology they are developing will not only help to save lives but perhaps also help to relieve the burdens – both financial and emotional – that aid organizations and workers experience.

Learn more at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120104111910.htm

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.

Helping Survivors of Traumatic Brain Injury Live Fuller, More Independent Lives

Sure, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and smartphones can help people have more fun and be more efficient, but did you know that mobile devices are also proving to be a lifeline to independence for people with brain injuries?

The Acquired Brain Injury Programs and Services staff at Coastline Community College in Costa Mesa, California, has been helping survivors of traumatic brain injury live fuller, more independent lives for a number of years. I first learned about their innovative work while working on a case study several years ago. Here’s a quote from that article:

The Pocket PC has been a transformative tool in my life. It has strengthened my ability to be independent, efficient, and productive. It has given me hope and a concrete vehicle with which to create a new, fulfilling, and fruitful future for myself.”

— ABI Program Graduate, Coastline Community College

Information about the Acquired Brain Injury Programs and Services at Coastline Community College is available here: http://www.coastline.edu/departments/specialprograms/page.cfm?LinkID=990

What other uses of mobile technology do you find inspiring?

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.

New Developments in Patient-Centered Technology

The most widely used example of patient-centered technology presently in use is helping researchers gain insight into adoption facilitators and barriers that could supply guidance for the next-generation of personal health records systems.

Understanding how first-time users interact with their personal health records will enable us to design and implement future-generation systems that will serve the needs of patients and those with whom they wish to share health information, including doctors and other trusted parties. Ultimately it will help us, as physicians, provide better care for our patients.”

— David A. Haggstrom, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine

Dig into the details at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-01/iuso-mph010512.php

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.

Noteworthy Health-Related Apps of 2011

From an iPhone app that can assist with psychological and social research to the ability to use a smart phone as a medical monitor, the year 2011 saw a number of remarkable uses for apps in the world of healthcare.

Below, collected from the pages of Science Daily, are highlights of some of the year’s most intriguing experiments captured in the words of those involved:

We were pleasantly surprised at our ability to detect subtle findings on the CT scan, which are often very critical in patient management, using this software.”

— Dr. Mayank Goyal, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary. [Goyal is director of research in the department of radiology and one of the neuro-radiologists who analyzed the data in a study that shows that doctors can make a stroke diagnosis using an iPhone application with the same accuracy as a diagnosis at a medical computer workstation.]


Brain Jog is unique among similar apps in that it has come to fruition after extensive research and collaboration with the target audience to find out exactly what appeals to them.”

— Donal O’Brien, a PhD student at Queen’s University, Belfast. [O’Brien is leading research into discovering the true effectiveness of brain training exercises with the release of an app aimed at those over 50.]


Using the iPhone or iPad to conduct scientific research is a revolutionary new concept. It could change the way that human social and psychological research is conducted because it allows us to access vast numbers of individuals from a range of demographics relatively inexpensively.”

— Professor Kathy Rastle, Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London. [Rastle is the UK member of the international team of researchers that is working on conducting psychological and social research using smart phone technologies.]


Currently, doctors observe tremor during office visits and rate it on a subjective scale of zero to four. That approach seemed outdated to me, considering all the technology now available. My wife Heather, who’s an engineer, remarked that maybe that we could try putting some accelerometers on my arm. That made me think of the accelerometer in the iPhone — and here we are.”

— Robert Delano, Georgia Tech Research Institute research scientist. [Delano is a member of the team that has developed a novel iPhone application that may enable persons with certain neurological conditions to use smart phones to collect data on hand and arm tremors and relay the results to medical personnel.]

What other research into healthcare-related apps or innovative uses of smart phone technology are you aware of?

© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.