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Hospitals Team with Apple, Smartphone Blood Test and Medical Exam App

This month’s Tech Envy column looks at a collaboration between Apple and hospitals, a smartphone blood test and a medical exam app.

Hospitals Team with Apple

Apple is working with more than a dozen academic teaching hospitals on ResearchKit, an open-source software framework intended to make it easier for researchers and developers to create apps that could revolutionize medical studies.

For example, Mount Sinai Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College and LifeMap developed their Asthma Health app to gain greater insight into triggers for the disease. With an iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch, users can self-manage their asthma by avoiding areas where air quality could worsen symptoms. Since the study tracks symptom patterns in individuals, researchers hope to discover new ways to personalize treatment.

Other hospitals working with Apple include the Dana-Farber Cancer InstitutePenn Medicine and the University of Oxford.

Smartphone Blood Test

A new smartphone attachment is making it easier to perform blood tests for HIV, syphilis and active syphilis infection. Developed byColumbia University, the device supplied results within 15 minutes during a recent pilot test in Rwanda. Developers believe the device could be particularly useful in remote areas without easy access to medical labs.

Attached to a smartphone via the headphone jack, the tool has a circular section for a finger prick. Then, a disposable cassette tests the blood and provides results that can be viewed on the smartphone.

Medical Exam App

Medical school faculty members at the University of California, San Francisco, are using innovative apps to help students prepare for neurological and musculoskeletal physical exams. Physical Exam Tutors apps provide clinical cases, physician-authored information and a library of real patient videos.

These free programs help medical students, residents and practicing physicians expand their understanding and execution of these important components of the physical exam.

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