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      A Systematic Review of Healthcare Applications for Smartphones

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          Abstract

          Background

          Advanced mobile communications and portable computation are now combined in handheld devices called “smartphones”, which are also capable of running third-party software. The number of smartphone users is growing rapidly, including among healthcare professionals. The purpose of this study was to classify smartphone-based healthcare technologies as discussed in academic literature according to their functionalities, and summarize articles in each category.

          Methods

          In April 2011, MEDLINE was searched to identify articles that discussed the design, development, evaluation, or use of smartphone-based software for healthcare professionals, medical or nursing students, or patients. A total of 55 articles discussing 83 applications were selected for this study from 2,894 articles initially obtained from the MEDLINE searches.

          Results

          A total of 83 applications were documented: 57 applications for healthcare professionals focusing on disease diagnosis (21), drug reference (6), medical calculators (8), literature search (6), clinical communication (3), Hospital Information System (HIS) client applications (4), medical training (2) and general healthcare applications (7); 11 applications for medical or nursing students focusing on medical education; and 15 applications for patients focusing on disease management with chronic illness (6), ENT-related (4), fall-related (3), and two other conditions (2). The disease diagnosis, drug reference, and medical calculator applications were reported as most useful by healthcare professionals and medical or nursing students.

          Conclusions

          Many medical applications for smartphones have been developed and widely used by health professionals and patients. The use of smartphones is getting more attention in healthcare day by day. Medical applications make smartphones useful tools in the practice of evidence-based medicine at the point of care, in addition to their use in mobile clinical communication. Also, smartphones can play a very important role in patient education, disease self-management, and remote monitoring of patients.

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          Most cited references 74

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          Effect of mobile phone intervention for diabetes on glycaemic control: a meta-analysis.

           Q. Wang,  Ruby Huang,  J-L Cao (2011)
            To assess the effect of mobile phone intervention on glycaemic control in diabetes self-management. We searched three electronic databases (PubMed, EMBASE and Cochrane Library) using the following terms: diabetes or diabetes mellitus and mobile phone or cellular phone, or text message. We also manually searched reference lists of relevant papers to identify additional studies. Clinical studies that used mobile phone intervention and reported changes in glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA(1c) ) values in patients with diabetes were reviewed. The study design, intervention methods, sample size and clinical outcomes were extracted from each trial. The results of the HbA(1c) change in the trials were pooled using meta-analysis methods.   A total of 22 trials were selected for the review. Meta-analysis among 1657 participants showed that mobile phone interventions for diabetes self-management reduced HbA(1c) values by a mean of 0.5% [6 mmol/mol; 95% confidence interval, 0.3-0.7% (4-8 mmol/mol)] over a median of 6 months follow-up duration. In subgroup analysis, 11 studies among Type 2 diabetes patients reported significantly greater reduction in HbA(1c) than studies among Type 1 diabetes patients [0.8 (9 mmol/mol) vs. 0.3% (3 mmol/mol); P=0.02]. The effect of mobile phone intervention did not significantly differ by other participant characteristics or intervention strategies.   Results pooled from the included trials provided strong evidence that mobile phone intervention led to statistically significant improvement in glycaemic control and self-management in diabetes care, especially for Type 2 diabetes patients. © 2011 The Authors. Diabetic Medicine © 2011 Diabetes UK.
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            Consumer health informatics.

             G Eysenbach (2000)
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              Development and Feasibility of a Smartphone, ECG and GPS Based System for Remotely Monitoring Exercise in Cardiac Rehabilitation

              Background Despite its efficacy and cost-effectiveness, exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation is undertaken by less than one-third of clinically eligible cardiac patients in every country for which data is available. Reasons for non-participation include the unavailability of hospital-based rehabilitation programs, or excessive travel time and distance. For this reason, there have been calls for the development of more flexible alternatives. Methodology and Principal Findings We developed a system to enable walking-based cardiac rehabilitation in which the patient's single-lead ECG, heart rate, GPS-based speed and location are transmitted by a programmed smartphone to a secure server for real-time monitoring by a qualified exercise scientist. The feasibility of this approach was evaluated in 134 remotely-monitored exercise assessment and exercise sessions in cardiac patients unable to undertake hospital-based rehabilitation. Completion rates, rates of technical problems, detection of ECG changes, pre- and post-intervention six minute walk test (6 MWT), cardiac depression and Quality of Life (QOL) were key measures. The system was rated as easy and quick to use. It allowed participants to complete six weeks of exercise-based rehabilitation near their homes, worksites, or when travelling. The majority of sessions were completed without any technical problems, although periodic signal loss in areas of poor coverage was an occasional limitation. Several exercise and post-exercise ECG changes were detected. Participants showed improvements comparable to those reported for hospital-based programs, walking significantly further on the post-intervention 6 MWT, 637 m (95% CI: 565–726), than on the pre-test, 524 m (95% CI: 420–655), and reporting significantly reduced levels of cardiac depression and significantly improved physical health-related QOL. Conclusions and Significance The system provided a feasible and very flexible alternative form of supervised cardiac rehabilitation for those unable to access hospital-based programs, with the potential to address a well-recognised deficiency in health care provision in many countries. Future research should assess its longer-term efficacy, cost-effectiveness and safety in larger samples representing the spectrum of cardiac morbidity and severity.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                BMC Med Inform Decis Mak
                BMC Med Inform Decis Mak
                BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making
                BioMed Central
                1472-6947
                2012
                10 July 2012
                : 12
                : 67
                Affiliations
                [1 ]University of Missouri Informatics Institute (MUII), 241 Engineering Building West, Columbia, MO, 65211, USA
                [2 ]Health Management and Informatics (HMI) Department, University of Missouri School of Medicine, CS&E Bldg. DC006.00, Columbia, MO, 65212, USA
                [3 ]Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Missouri School of Medicine, M226 Medical Sciences Building, DC032.00, Columbia, MO, 65212, USA
                Article
                1472-6947-12-67
                10.1186/1472-6947-12-67
                3534499
                22781312
                Copyright ©2012 Mosa et al. licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Research Article

                Bioinformatics & Computational biology

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