Free Telemedicine Mobile Apps and FDA on Social Media

When the “i” series of the Apple products (iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes) drastically change the way we access music, videos, movies, games, and friends/families, I naturally think those things will eventually be applied in science and medicine as these two disciplines are global-oriented, data-driven, and information rich–exactly what those devices are designed to handle.  Not surprisingly, the smartphone/tablet world evolves daily with newer chips/designs/features/functions, and a gigantic software application market has constantly attracted huge interests in the music, gaming, entertaining, and healthcare industries.

The Age of Telemedicine – Mobile Apps in The Fingertips
Apps grow like weeds to run on several popular smartphone platforms, such as iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows 7 phone, and Symbian.  A blog run by a medical student and a medical resident on mobile medical apps contains a truck load of apps information and countless app screen shots that are eye-catching.  As of 14 Dec 2010, their top 20 free iPhone medical apps are:

1. Medscape (mini-textbook)
2. Micromedex (prescription medical reference)
3. New England Journal of Medicine (must read medical journal)
4. Epocrates (medical reference tools)
5. Calculate (Medical Calculators by QxMD)
6. Radiology 2.0 (case learning radiology tool)
7. Skyscape [RxDrugs: drug reference tool and OCM (outlines of Clinical Medicine): disease pathology information]
8. Living Medical Textbooks (information rich)
9. ReachMD (medical radio)
10. Neuromind (simple reference tool)
11. Prognosis (diagnosis simulation)
12. Harvard’s Public Health News (news)
13. Radiopaedia (radiology teaching files)
14. AHRQ ePSS [public health tool by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)]
15. Dragon Medical Search (search tool)
16. Epocrates calculators (for specialist )
17. MedPage Today (breaking medical news)
18. Doximity (facebook for doctors)
19. Dropbox (help medical workflow)
20. 3D Brain and Lost it (brain anatomy and point-of-care on diet and exercise)

As of 24 Jan 2011, their top 15 free Android medical apps are:

1. Medscape
2. Epocrates
3. Skyscape
4. Evernote (organization tool)
5. Calculate (Medical Calculators by QxMD)
6. MedPage Today
7. Harvard’s Public Health News
8. Monthly Prescribing Reference (MPR) (drug reference)
9. Standard Dictations (basic templates to read while dictating, great for interns)
10. AHRQ ePSS (electronic preventive services selector)
11. PubMed Mobile (medical reference)
12. Ob Wheel (pregnancy management)
13. Eponyms (reference material)
14. Speed Anatomy (anatomy reference)
15. Calorie Counter (diet and exercise application)

In addition, the US Department of Veterans Affairs comes out with a FREE PTSD (Post-tramatic stress disorder) Coach app to help learn and manage symptoms that commonly arise after drama.  Want to see more? Apple’s App Store has more and yet again more at Amazon.com appstore for Android.  If you want to gain more information on new development of mobile medicine application, the “Telemedicine and e-Health” journal is a good place to start.

FDA’s Media Channels and Approved Apps

Everyday, we are inundated by information tsunami elicited by technology innovation earthquakes–novel gadgets, new apps, extensive cloud computing/storage, you name it.  Numerous organizations jump on social and interactive media bandwagon to engage with interested parties, no exception for FDA, evident by a list of tools to gain access to the FDA information.   However, the FDA has not yet revealed its social media guidance on promotion of products and services.

The mobile apps have entered into a serious development to function as a medical device-equivalent.  The first iPhone and iPad mobile application approved by the FDA with 510(k) clearance is called Mobile MIM by MIM Software.  Medical doctors can view images and make medical diagnoses based on computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and nuclear medicine technology, such as positron emission tomography (PET). However, regular workstations should be used if available.

Until next post, keep on reading and writing!!

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Companies Under The Radar of a Talking Head

Two of my previous blog posts mentioned the FDA’s decision on diabetes drugs’ fate, curiously and inevitably I also looked at the stock prices of the companies hammered or bolstered by FDA’s announcement.  Recently, a famous/infamous self-proclaimed financial guru talking head did a week-long report on several biotech/pharma companies facing upcoming FDA decisions or having new development reports in the conferences.  I thought for educational purpose, it is no harm to learn the characteristics of some diseases and drugs available on the markets.  No stock recommendation implied, buyers beware!

Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic multifactorial disease diagnosed in ~350,000 Americans in 2009 whose central and peripheral nervous systems, eyes, and bladder are affected.  Drug sales reach $10 billion and estimated number will reach $15 billion in the next 10 years.

  • Biogen Idec’s Avonex is an interferon beta-1a drug to slow down the progression of disability in MS patients.  Side effect of liver injury has been reported.
  • Merck Serono’s Rebif is also an interferon beta-1a drug.
  • Bayer’s Betaseron is an in interferon beta-1b drug for the treatment of relapsing remitting MS.
  • Teva Pharmaceutical’s Copaxone is a class of medications called immunomodulators.
  • Novartis’ Gilenya is a sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor modulator and has fewer side effects than Biogen Idec’s Avonex.

Type I and II Diabetes: In the US alone, 23.6 millions adults and children have diabetes, which accounts for 7.8% of population; by 2020, estimated 38 millions adults and children will be diabetic.

  • Sanofi-Aventis’s Lantus is once-daily injected insulin.
  • Amylin Pharmaceuticals/Alkermes/Eli Lilly’s Bydureon (once-weely injectable version of Byetta) was rejected by FDA on 10/19/2010 due to increased heart attack risk.  According to Bloomberg:

Lilly markets Byetta outside the U.S. and co-markets it with Amylin in the U.S. The drug was developed by Amylin, and the technology enabling it to be used in a longer-acting form was developed by Alkermes. Alkermes will receive royalties of about 8 percent on Bydureon sales.

Colorectal Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the US.  It is estimated one-thirds of deaths could be avoided with early regular screening.  About 5 millions colonoscopies performed in the US this year, 30% of market shares could capture $1.2 billion.

Hepatitis C virus infection is transmitted by blood that affects about 3% (~170 million) people worldwide.  HCV infection is the most common cause of liver failure in the US.  No treatment is available and existing treatments made patients feel worse.

  • BMS/ZymoGenetics’s PEGylated-interferon lambda
  • Vertex Pharmaceutical’s Telaprevir
  • Pharmasset’s PSI-7977 is an oral uridine nucleotide analog polymerase inhibitor of HCV.
  • Merck’s Boceprivir is a protease inhibitor.

Orphan Diseases, also known as rare diseases, affect fewer than 200,000 people in the US.  There are estimated 5000-7000 orphan diseases existing worldwide.

  • Genzyme’s Cerezyme to treat Gaucher’s disease and Fabrazyme to treat Fabry’s disease.
  • BioMarin Pharmaceuticals’ Aldurazyme and Naglazyme are used for enzyme replacement for mucopolysaccharidosis.
  • Alexion Pharmaceuticals’ Soliris to treat rare, progressive, and life-threatening blood disease paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria.

Until next post, keep on reading and writing!!