Wireless prototype to monitor comfort of patients in wheelchairs; psychology apps replace therapist's couch with smartphone;

News From Around the Web

> The Wireless Sensor Applied Research (WiSAR) Lab at Ireland's Letterkenny Institute of Technology is developing a wireless monitoring system for use in care homes and hospitals designed to monitor patients in wheelchairs who may be susceptible to pressure sores. The system is equipped with a real-time reporting tool that provides alerts when patients need to have their body position moved, thereby preventing the formation of sores. WiSAR Lab plans to produce a number of wireless prototypes over the next 12 months that will be tested in occupational therapy departments. Announcement

> Psychology smartphone apps--with names like BreakkUp, iStress, and my instantCOACH --have flooded the mHealth market to "help us live happier, less anxious lives," writes Judith Newman in the New York Times. Can they live up to their names? "A few bucks and a lot of squinting into my phone: that certainly beats a $300-an-hour psychiatrist, right?" asks Newman, who tried out a few of these apps and provides a review of their pros and cons. Article

> Singapore has launched a new mobile app for asthma care management. Called AsthmaCare Buddy, the app is the first of its kind in the region to provide asthma patients with key information on the disease and easy-to-use tools to proactively manage their condition. The app provides asthmatics clear instructions on what to do when they experience the various conditions of their disease, allowing them to take control of their asthma through close monitoring and record keeping. The app also comes with spatial location information to the nearest general practitioners and is now available for free from the App Store for iPhone and iPod Touch. Article

EMR News

> The low adoption rate of personal health records by consumers may be caused in part by problems that providers are having with the systems, according to a new study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. PHRs provide a benefit to providers, as well as to patients, in the "ecosystem," and provider endorsement of PHRs may be an important factor in patients' use of PHRs and of positive patient outcomes. The researchers, from the Veteran's Administration, found that barriers existed that inhibited the providers' PHR adoption and use, which also limited their endorsement of the PHR. The factors included lack of familiarity with and training in the PHR system, the ability to use other resources, and the fact that patients don't share information through the PHR. Article

Healthcare IT News

> Big data could help U.S. citizens save as much as $450 billion in healthcare costs, but fundamental change is necessary to meeting such goals, according to a new analysis published this month by consulting firm McKinsey & Company. Among some of the changes needed, according to the analysis, is a continuation of the move away from fee-for-service care, as well as recognition on the part of both providers and patients that data can be an effective tool. The authors point out that seemingly simple interventions performed on a large scale could lead to huge savings. For example, they estimate that, when combined with big data, efforts to combat a chronic condition like coronary heart disease such as taking aspirin, undergoing early cholesterol screening and smoking cessation, could bring care costs down by $30 billion. Article

And Finally… Weighing more than just your luggage. Article