Using Your Smartphone to Lose Weight (and other interesting things you can do with a smartphone)
Today in Chicago, it is currently 48 degrees at 10:00 am. Not exactly beach weather. However, it will be soon time to take off those winter jackets and replace it with t-shirts and suntan lotion. So, did you know you can use your smartphone to help you lose weight? (Not saying you need it! You look marvelous!) Duke University researchers are using Android smartphones and wireless weight scales for a weight loss study. It’s not just that you connect with a scale wirelessly and it adds your weight to a chart on your phone; the app on your smartphone will keep track of your weight and depending how it is trending, send you messages. Hopefully they aren’t messages like “lay off the cookies, Max!” Because I love cookies too much. Anyway. This article came out a few days ago and you may find it interesting: http://www.imedicalapps.com/2011/04/duke-researchers-android-phones-bluetooth-weight-scale/.
Sort of on the same wavelength about getting messages from your phone – there are a growing number of services that will communicate with you to remind you of appointments, to take medicines, or in the case above, maybe even give encouragement. Some examples:
- Text4Baby (especially with Mother’s Day just around the corner!), http://text4baby.org/
- Indiana University Health, Texting Teen Moms Proves to be a Convenient Source for Support
- Weight Management Text Messaging, http://www.muschealth.com/weightlosstools/weightmessage.htm
- CDC – Mobile at CDC, http://www.cdc.gov/mobile/
- Summa Health System (OH)- Baby’s First Text Message, http://www.summahealth.org/common/templates/article.asp?ID=18612
- ER Wait Times (IL), http://www.edward.org/body.cfm?id=1443 and one from CA, http://blog.cep.com/bid/38007/Hospital-launches-emergency-department-text-messaging-program
There is a Health Literacy Out Loud Podcast on this topic: http://www.healthliteracyoutloud.com/2011/04/26/health-literacy-out-loud-57-texting-important-health-messages/
- In Denver, Co, the hospital group Denver Health has teamed up with Microsoft and EMC on a project to send patients text message reminders about upcoming appointments in a diabetes program that aimed to help patients better self manage their condition. They ask patients to text in their daily glucose readings. They hope that this will improve condition management, reduce admission rates and reduce costs. Read more about this project.
- Getting teens and tweens to be more complaint with eczema treatments with texting: http://www.skincarephysicians.com/eczemanet/texting.html
For more clinical research see the following:
- Text messaging for enhancement of testing and treatment for tuberculosis, human immunodeficiency virus, and syphilis: a survey of attitudes toward cellular phones and healthcare.
- Assessing the effectiveness of text messages as appointment reminders in a pediatric dental setting.
- Content of text messaging immunization reminders: What low-income parents want to know.
There’s more where these came from in PubMed.
What is your organization doing with mobile technologies? Does your hospital have ER wait times available via a mobile device? What about appointment reminders?
P.S. Don’t forget about the NLM “Show Off Your Apps” Contest! http://challenge.gov/NIH/132-nlm-show-off-your-apps-innovative-uses-of-nlm-information
P.P.S. (or is it P.S.S.?) Don’t forget about all of the mobile sites and apps available already from the NLM: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/mobile/