Mobile Health Stuff, Available Now

Future visions of mobile health tools are all very well and good, but what about RIGHT NOW? A couple of new gadgets/services you might like to know about:

Medtrack_alert_logo * As of mid-March, consumer health information news agency MedTrackAlert is syndicating its health content to mobile phone users across the country via 4INFO, the leading text messaging service in the United States. This means that at least two million mobile phone users now have touch-button access to MedTrackAlert’s health info from anywhere, anytime. Are you a cellular addict? The type who actually likes to read everything — even news headlines — via your Treo, Blackberry, or Razr? Here’s the link to subscribe. It’s free and extremely easy to set up. I’m trying it out myself now, although I prefer to actually sit in front of my oversized LCD screen to read the news. How old-fashioned of me!

Mydiabase * How about a USB memory stick that not only stores your BG data, but also helps provide a “second opinion” on your current diabetes treatment? A certain Dr. Michael Albisser in Florida is experimenting with just such a device, called MyDiaBase.

In his own words: “The device is a full featured SMBG database and personal diabetes registry, all in a portable memory module. Not just a mini EMR, it includes software with unique features that realize a ‘personal diabetes prescription check. This RxChecker accesses the MyDiaBase and then can support the user in obtaining an objective ’2nd Opinion’ of their current diabetes treatment. The 2nd Opinion teaches the user when to contact their doctor and what to talk about. This closes the circle of care rather effectively.”

The University of Miami has completed studies and has published results or submitted them for publication in medical journals. They’ve also purchased a bulk quantity for the use of their patients in the clinical group at the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI).

The product is currently classified as educational and available for free market purchase both to health care providers and directly to patients. Providers get it at a discount, and can then sell it to their patients at a price that covers user instructions, for about $100, or less. Any early adopter types here willing to buy one and give it a try?

Glucomon * Don’t forget GlucoMON. Provider DiabeTech’s CEO Kevin McMahon reminded me recently that theirs was the first-ever wireless diabetes management system, introduced back in 2003. He’s been after me to review the system for a while, but somehow it just never got onto my personal docket. Besides, veteran D-writer David Mendosa has already done a bang-up job. To paraphrase:

GlucoMON is “an automated, long-range wireless blood glucose data monitoring and transmittal system.” It requires no computer, Internet connection, or phone line. Rather, it currently it works with LifeScan’s OneTouch Ultra (deals with other meter providers under negotiation). All you do is plug the OneTouch meter in to the GlucoMON unit, and then plug that unit in to an electrical outlet, and whala! Your data can be transferred over the Diabetech network and stored by their GlucoDYNAMIX server software in a secure patient record application. The data — including patient profile, patient-specific rules, alerts, reminders, reports, and education — can be streamed and shared in real-time with your doctor, educator, or parent, for children with Type 1.

Pretty cool stuff. And you can get it now without a prescription, for a monthly service fee of $29.95.

“Think of us as a wireless phone company that just does diabetes,” Kevin asserts. As we all know, there’s something to be said for being a one-trick pony — ’cause who understands diabetes better than the people who live it and breathe constantly it like we do?

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8 Responses

  1. JasonJayhawk
    JasonJayhawk April 10, 2008 at 10:12 am | | Reply

    The “MyDiaBase” sounded interesting at first, but it doesn’t look like it makes judgements on insulin dosing. The brochure makes no mention of insulin, and the screenshots only show oral meds, so it looks more like something for non-insulin people. I’ve read some of the papers that the inventor published during my thesis research, and it looks like he’s on the right path, though.

  2. A Michael Albisser
    A Michael Albisser April 11, 2008 at 6:41 am | | Reply

    I noticed Jason Jayhawks comment. Interestingly, the RxChecker prescription checker add-in was actually designed to work with insulin and then adapted for tablets.

  3. Andy
    Andy April 11, 2008 at 4:00 pm | | Reply

    A lot of software companies are thinking about puting their software solution onto USB stick – me included… I am co-developer of free diabetes software called GNU Gluco Control (available on sourceforge.net) and I am also trying to make it work on USB stick… Software has not had public release yet (planned for June this year), so so far you won’t find anything definite on that site… In last few months I have tried to find diabetes software to run on either my java equiped mobile or on my PDA but no luck… Problem is that I want diabetes management software, which will also store my food intormation (what I eat and how many carbs I use… I am trying to get pump and in my country it’s required to learn to count carbs). Most of software only fits one of this requirements…It’s either diabetes management software (and has no or bad food information) or it’s diet software and has no diabetes info.
    At first I tried to port my software to other devices, but it’s lengthy process and you need to learn a lot of new stuff and it takes a lot of time to do it. In last few days I have come across idea to just put everything on USB stick, so that I will be able to use software on any computer that is available.
    So…now first release will also have option to be put on USB stick and be usable everywhere (no install needed). If you are interested in testing this you can contact me on andy(at)atech-software.com.

  4. JasonJayhawk
    JasonJayhawk April 12, 2008 at 12:02 am | | Reply

    Andy,

    Keep in mind that USB sticks might imply that the software can run on all three flavors of operating systems (MS, Apple, *nix). Thanks for your contribution to the open-source community. That will keep it open for others to add their own features and churn it back into the project. I’ve seen a lot of other diabetes-related projects on Sourceforge, but most are either empty or failed to gain support.

    One annoying limitation of older programs is the assumption that a person lives on a routine schedule (“breakfast, lunch, dinner”) and tries to force the user on this routine. The system should not enforce a person to this time.

    I think the most popular route will be web services (such as via a phone or webpage) because then a person does not have to carry around a database (and worry about losing it) and can update their numbers from any location.

    Dr. A — thanks for the correction. I think the information on the website should highlight the use of insulin, because I couldn’t tell from the screenshots. (I thought it was confusing that oral Type 2 meds were entered in the ‘rapid’ and ‘short acting’ insulin column headings).

    Wish I still had access to Diabetes Technology, but can’t afford it. I was lucky to get a one-month preview and enjoyed the papers on automated glycemic analysis!

  5. Andy
    Andy April 12, 2008 at 6:33 am | | Reply

    Hi Jason !

    Every development goes slowly… and in steps. At this point application is ready to run on several os-es (I tested only on windows and linux). First we need to make sure it’s USB capable (which it is) and next step is to put JVMs for several OSes on USB. Software is written in java and now I need to make only startup scripts for different platforms and find correct JVMs…
    Problem is testing it mainly, since at this point in time I have only 3 os-es available (Windows (xp, xp 64), linux and freebsd)… Macs are quite rare here where I live… and testers are not many… he he.
    Andy

  6. JasonJayhawk
    JasonJayhawk April 12, 2008 at 8:36 pm | | Reply

    If you’re using the JVM, you shouldn’t have much to worry about cross-platform systems, since that’s really Java’s finer point. Just make sure it is not system-agnostic (such as hard-coding file paths using backslashes). I can’t wait to see what you’ve done — it’s always exciting when people share their ideas and code. It goes back to the irritation of certain glucose meter companies (and even pump companies) that keep their data encrypted to avoid someone from coming out with the next great idea.

  7. TomWoolworth
    TomWoolworth April 13, 2008 at 7:45 am | | Reply

    I am currently using a program (http://www.diabetespilot.com) on my PDA and Desktop. I have had great success tracking BG numbers and counting carbs. My concern is Endo and CDE not having the program. I would have to convert the reports to .pdf files to send them via email. They receive the paper copies of my results.

  8. Jan
    Jan May 6, 2008 at 6:09 am | | Reply

    MyDiaBase is not a new product. SINOVO had released a plug&play usb-stick one year ago with this functionality. look here ( http://www.sinovo.org/sidiary-usb-stick-897.asp?IDSprache=2&idMenu=3 ).

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