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Smartphones and iPads Allow Patients to Take Control

The computing power available in mobile devices, combined with the ease of use that a touch interface allows, is making it possible for consumers to take greater control over their medical treatment than ever before. This control ranges from checking information about illnesses and treatment to the replacement of physical abilities lost due to injury or illness. The days of simply doing what doctors tell you are a thing of the past, due to the smartphone and the iPad (s aapl) enabling you to take a greater role in your own healthcare.

There are many apps for smartphones that put a wealth of medical information at hand, from explanations of symptoms to probable diagnoses. While these don’t replace proper medical care, for the first time, the patient is armed with the ability to do simple research, ask the proper questions of healthcare professionals and better understand the care at the point it is rendered.

Doctors themselves are also taking advantage of mobile devices to provide medical care when needed: Apps enable them to remotely monitor patient vital signs in real-time, and render aid from anywhere. And individuals are also using mobile devices in conjunction with their own medical care, with sometimes stunning results.

Parents of children with special needs, for example, are finding an unexpected way to communicate with their kids that is changing their lives in a dramatic fashion: the iPad. The iPad is a recognized tool of therapy for children with autism and other medical issues that affects their ability to communicate with those closest to them. The easy operation of the iPad has resonated with these children, as professionals involved in the treatment of the kids have discovered.

The New York Times (s nyt) tells the story of seven-year-old Owen Cain, who is disabled due to a severe illness contracted during infancy. Owen has very restricted movement, yet to the surprise of his mother, he was able to immediately interact with an iPad placed in front of him. Owen’s intuitive reaction to the iPad is a theme commonly heard in such cases, and no doubt why the iPad is so effective for these children to start using.

[inline-pro-content] During the research for this article, one app kept getting mentioned by those working with these children: Proloquo2Go is an app that works on the iPhone/ iPod touch and the iPad, but the iPad with the larger screen is the device of choice for using it. The app is designed by Netherlands-based AssistiveWare to provide a natural sounding voice to those challenged to speak coherently. It is not a simple text-to-speech app, but makes it possible for users to string coherent phrases together into complete conversations by using graphical icons, in addition to a keyboard easy to use by those with motor skill challenges. This opens the door for parents to really converse with their kids for the first time, which is an amazing breakthrough.

Laura Theriot, mother of 10-year-old Tom, knows firsthand how incredible that breakthrough can be. Using Proloquo2Go on the iPad, she has learned things about Tom through conversation that she’d never imagined over the years. “It’s a way that I am going to get to know my child, he is a joker and loves to laugh. We know he’s laughing, but have never been able to hear about what.”

The benefits of Proloquo2Go on the iPad are not restricted to children, as blogger Glenda Watson Hyatt points out. Hyatt has cerebral palsy that affects her motor skills and her speech. She recently bought an iPad and Proloquo2Go and her account of the way it has changed her life is breathtaking. The technology has opened up things for her that most of us take for granted:

Then, I did something I had never done before: I went into one of the many Starbucks at O’Hare and ordered my first mocha frappuccino by myself. No misunderstanding or hand gesturing involved. It was so cool, like another door had just opened for me!

The combination of an iPad with Proloquo2Go is proving to be very powerful, but it is not a cheap solution. The cost of the iPad starts the pricing at around $500, depending on the model chosen, and Proloquo2go is expensive as far as apps go at $190. While this seems too expensive, it is important to remember that until the iPad, special assistive gadgets were the only options for those with this need, and those cost thousands of dollars. As the mother of an autistic child told me, you can’t put a price on the first time your child tells you she “likes apple juice better.”

Technology is already available to consumers that enables taking a more active role in healthcare. This technology can be found in free (or cheap) apps for smartphones, and it should not be overlooked. The more sophisticated methods of using technology that have been discussed may require an investment, but many are finding it to be well worth the cost. What price is too high for taking control over your life?

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3 Responses to “Smartphones and iPads Allow Patients to Take Control”


    Stylus-R-Us has been contacted by countless hospitals around the world asking which stylus would be more beneficial for all medical staff in the hospital environment. The first thing you need to know is – all of our styluses possess the very same – no-downward-pressure tip – providing very fast and accurate data entrée.

    That being the case – selecting ones stylus may be preference – which ever stylus holder you prefer. However – if push came to shove – NOT one of our high-end – more expensive models – would be recommended more than the lower priced CAMRY. And why? It’s thin – strong – light weight and deadly accurate upon striking ANY icon – or character.

    This is to say – writing notes – texting – filling in medical reports – emailing – sliding from page to page – literally – can not be accomplished by anything else in the world at this time – as fast and effectively – as with using the Camry (or the stylus below). This is also the owner and CEO of STYLUS-R-Us choice of daily styluses.

    The Camry is perfect to slip into the Dr. Jacket upper pocket – and be ready to serve the user – better than the finger ever had a chance of doing. This is Stylus-R-Us #1 choice for the hospital environment. However – in expectation of selling out of these in the near future – with the possibility of not being able to locate that pen stock again – second choice would be any of the 7 high-end styluses – as they have the pocket clip – and though are thicker in body size – will serve you well.

    The above – is for medical personnel – who wish to have a stylus in their pocket wearing medical attire. There is another option however – that is fascinatingly awesome for the iPad – provided carrying it in a pocket – isn’t your aim.

    We’re talking about the Camry sensitive – 9” Roger iWand – either in brass or aluminum – (or pink – yellow – black – green – or orange). If you have an iPad case – similar to the cases shown in both the Roger iWand and the iWand pages on this site – the Roger iWand can easily be carried in the case fold (hinge) where it will remain until opened for use. It won’t fall out due to being wedged in.

    There is no doubt about it. If you possess both the Camry and Roger iWand – you will be thoroughly confused which one to take with you to work – as the Roger iWand – makes the iPad dance on its toes!

    Always keep in mind – that if for ANY reason you are not happy with any of our stylus – or anything happens to it (other than getting lost or negligence) – it will be replaced free – for one FULL YEAR.

  2. STYLUS-R-US iPad

    I’d only owned my iPad roughly ten to twelve minutes – when I could see it – clearer than you can see this line. Eighty to ninety percent of the companies – stores and businesses around the world – having and using the iPad. And why? The iPad – is literally a legend in its own time – and nothing is going to replace it (though journalist will write stories claiming some new device or another – will give it a run for its money – just to have something to write about).

    What could anyone else build? A larger one? Who wants that? A smaller one? Not happening. People are already in love with the ipads size – thinness and lack of weight. It’s a “zero-one” (super model) in the arena of electronics. It’s easy to carry everywhere. You can connect to the web – one way or another – depending on which model iPad you have – in seconds. No more having to wait till you get home to check your email – and not having to look at small phone screens – to do likewise.

    With the right apps in the iPad, you can text message anyone you wish. When it comes to photos and videos – hey? Nothing whatsoever comes close to the iPad – and I’m certain – the next version out will have both the still shot camera – but HD as well – and maybe even 1080 HD at that.

    Envision if you can – sitting at your favorite restaurant when your server or waitress walks up – iPad in hand. It’s just around the corner. Why? No more paper pads; no more lost pens that have run out of ink – all due to Steve Job’s brilliant iToy – the iPad. With each restaurants own menu in a special restaurant app (some sharp app designer will make) – the server will ask for your choice of food – at which time she’ll click here and click there. If you have a change of mind prior to her departure – she’ll click again and the switch is made. Upon telling her that will be all – she’ll click once more and the selected menu will appear on a large screen in front of the cook. I mean – how much easier – faster and convenient can it be?

    And this medical field? Twenty six and a half minutes of using my iPad – and I was telling a friend – the Doctors – nurses and entire medical field – are going to have a field day with this: WATCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Every doctor and medical person in the next 2 to 3 years – will have one – and not know how they ever did without it. It’s just as certain as you’re breathing. Saw it all – way back when.

    Your speeding tickets and red light violations will be quicker and more interesting as the officer stands beside you – as the glare from the sun hitting the back of his/her iPad – shines in your face while they “write-you-up”. By then – they’ll have a printer in their cruiser that prints out the hard copy of the ticket for you to sign (or not!). All of your information about you – including photo – will appear on the iPad screen as he’s making sure you’re not wanted – and you’re – who you ID or you (or lack of) says you are. If their NCIC or DAVID reflects you’re wanted – he’ll merely have to click one spot on the special law enforcement app – that will send an emergency message to headquarters letting them know – to send back-up (10-94 in Florida) as you have a 10-29 (wanted) subject in front of you – or to send a message to any additional units currently en-route – to speed it up. Mark these words!

    Every store chain – will have iPads for one service or another – but mainly inventory taking. When we walk up to a store employee these days an ask if they have some particular product in stock – most don’t know – while others – more sophisticated – have a PC they can walk to and check. Those days will be gone soon – when they all have iPads as one or two clicks – and the “in-stock” figures will be learn.

    No….I saw it all within minutes of having my first iPad. It couldn’t be plainer. Eighty to ninety percent of the companies – business and stores – will have the iPad in the next 2 to 3 years – and after that – when they start coming down in price – 75% of the worlds population will have them – to do everything from watching TV – movies – scheduling appointments – ordering groceries – etc., etc., etc.

    And we owe Steve Jobs a gigantic thanks for inventing – creating and manufacturing this beauty – because he too – is a legend in his own time – and one of the smartest men I have even seen (on TV) hopefully to meet one day. There’s just one tiny thing Mr. Jobs you forgot. The iPad is a Rolls Royce. But it lacks one thing – to make it five hundred times better: Wheels. The object that makes it roll. The item that makes it dance. The product that Stylus-R-Us invented – created – patented and markets: The ONLY super-soft-touch-stylus on earth.

    The STYLUS-R-US stylus – unlike the PoGo and 100% of the others that require an irritating and hindering downward pressure with each icon strike – STYLUS-R-US stylus requires absolute ZERO downward pressure (ONLY IF USED PROPERLY) to activate anything click on (including your mate – well – almost) Better yet – STYLUS-R-US has two – very special styluses for the iPad – called the iWand and the Roger iWand seen on their web site by inserting STYLUS-R-US in Google Search.

    No…Mr. Jobs created a beauty – no doubt. But so has STYLUS-R-US – as their styluses by far – make all others obsolete. Watch their YOUTUBE videos on their site – and you’ll see the saying – “A picture is worth a thousand words” – surface right before your eyes. Yes…in the next 2 to 3 years everyone will have the iPad – but just as certain – they’ll all have the iWands to make them dance and preserve a totally clean screen.