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Map of Most Popular mHealth Apps Worldwide

Posted on November 20, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way. recently posted a map that shows popular health apps in an interesting and interactive way. In the picture below, there is a key to show what the different colors mean. The map displays health apps popularity by country, and I think it was pretty neat to see the trends.

I wasn’t too surprised to see that WebMD is most popular in the United States. It’s definitely one of my favorites, and I feel like I’m constantly getting emails or updates about the website and the mobile app. Most of the apps on this list I have used or at least heard of, so I’d be interested in hearing why certain apps are more popular in different parts of the world. Is WebMD more focused on ailments that affect Americans? Is Livestrong, which appears to be used in the most countries world-wide (according to this map), more dynamic and trusted?

One thing that caught my eye was the popularity of ZocDoc across Russia and in parts of South America. I’ll be honest, I’ve never heard of it. After seeing it on here, I figured I should look it up and see what it was all about. Basically, you select your insurance, where you live, and what type of doctor you are looking for, and if any doctors in your area is participating with ZocDoc, it will pull up open appointments for that doctor. There weren’t any doctors in my area that were participating, but I could definitely see how this would be awesome. Whenever I look at my healthcare provider’s website and search for physicians, I always wish there was a way to just set up an appointment right then and there, or to be able to compare qualifications. It looks like there is also additional information about the education, reviews, and experience about doctors. I’m a little confused as to why it’s so popular in Russia and South America, because as far as I could see, it is based on American doctors, but perhaps there is an international version available?

Anyways, I just thought this was a neat visual, and that it was a good introduction to seeing what mHealth is doing around the world.

To view the actual map, complete with more details, go here.

Disaster Planning and HIPAA

Posted on I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

When talk turns to HIPAA, most of us are focused on privacy compliance.  After all, privacy is a complex, expensive nightmare, and few hospitals or medical practices feel up to the task, so talking through those issues makes sense.

But as blogger Art Gross points out, the HIPAA Security General Rules require more than protecting a patient’s privacy. They also require that ePHI remains available even in the face of disaster. From the rules (courtesy of Gross, emphasis his):

§ 164.306 Security standards: General rules.
(a) General requirements. Covered entities must do the following:
(1) Ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all electronic protected health information the covered entity creates, receives, maintains, or transmits.

Apparently, far too few healthcare providers are paying enough attention to this part of the rules. Gross, who is a HIPAA security consultant, says that when he audits organizations, few have disaster recovery or emergency operations procedures in place.

Now, big enterprise IT departments aren’t going to leave disaster recovery out of their planning; it’s simplly part of the drill for any large installation. But the smaller the provider group gets — particularly when you zoom down to one to three-doctor practices — the story changes.

As people who read blogs like this one know, smaller practices aren’t likely to have so much as a single IT staffer on board. Keeping their EMR up and running is enough of a burden. I’m not at all surprised to hear that they aren’t prepared for disasters like Hurricane Sandy, which brought down even large medical centers.

But with HIPAA demanding immediate access to ePHI, doctors won’t have a choice much longer. And hospitals will want to make sure independent doctors aren’t the weak link in the availability chain.

Yes, it’s asking a lot of small practices to make intellligent disaster recovery plans for their EMR, and even more of their hospital partners if they want to keep access to disparate EMRs out there.  But there’s just no getting around the problem.