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Better Sleep from a Smartphone

Posted on June 15, 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.

Sleep. It’s overrated, right?

Not so much. It’s truly amazing how the correct amount of sleep can do for a person…and somewhat shocking what the lack of can do. Sleep and a healthy life go hand in hand. I mean, check out some of these facts listed on this webpage from Harvard:

Many of the costs of poor sleep go unnoticed. Medical conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, develop over long periods of time and result from a number of factors, such as genetics, poor nutrition and lack of exercise. Insufficient sleep has also been linked to tehse and other health problems, and is considered an important risk factor. Although scientists have just begun to identify the connections between insufficient sleep and disease, most experts have concluded that getting enough high-quality sleep may be as important to health and well-being as nutrition and exercise.

Seriously, go and read the article I linked to up there. It seems like many people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, trying to be healthy. We pay outrageous gym fees, meticulously plan healthy meals, and go to extremes in order to be healthy. But how many of those people get a decent amount of sleep each night? I bet a lot of health issues could be eliminated, or at least significantly improved, if we spent more time sleeping.

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t get as much as I need. Part of that comes with the territory of having a 2-month-old baby, but my issues with sleep started long before my baby was born. Sometimes, it’s just plain hard to fall asleep and especially to get some good ol’ REM sleep.

So what does this have to do with mobile healthcare? Well, it’s something I like to call white noise. It’s not a new idea. I’ve been told my entire life that putting a fan on helps a person fall to sleep, or listening to the rain. However, sometimes a fan isn’t available, and we obviously can’t control the weather. Luckily, there’s tons of white noise apps available to download, many of which are free.

A few months ago, my husband downloaded White Noise Lite for the iPhone. Not only does it lull my son to sleep, but whenever it’s on, I feel more rested and energetic the next day. All of my worries and thoughts from that day disappeared as I listened to a combination of an oscillating fan, waves crashing, and thunder. I swear by white noise, and I think it’s awesome that a phone can be turned into a white noise  machine with just the push of a button.

So are you looking to improve you health? Get more sleep. Have a hard time falling asleep? Download a white noise app. I can almost guarantee you’ll feel better in the morning, which will hopefully create more energy for more efficient workouts. And, most importantly, get amazing benefits that only sleep can give. I know that these apps weren’t created solely as health apps, but I sure think they are!

Here are some of the top-rated white noise apps for different smartphones:

White Noise:

for the iPhone: 1.99 version, free version

for Android: 1.99 version, free version

for Blackberry: 1.99 version

Simply Noise (apparently, the best sound machine .99 can buy, and has not only white noise, but brown and pink. Whatever that means). For the iPhone. For Android.

Study Shows Little Benefit from EMR in Hospitals

Posted on November 20, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

People have been buzzing over a recent New York Times article (requires login, but you can get a login and password here) which discusses a Harvard study showing little benefit seen so far in Electronic Patient Records. The study is interesting and worthy of consideration. I think this part of the Times article summarizes the findings:

The new study placed hospitals into three groups: those with full-featured electronic health records, those with more basic ones, and those without computerized records. It then looked at their performance on federally approved quality measures in the care of conditions like congestive heart failure and pneumonia, and in surgical infection prevention.

In the heart failure category, for example, the hospitals with advanced electronic records met best-practice standards 87.8 percent of the time; those with basic computer records, 86.7 percent; and those without, 85.9 percent. The differences in other categories were similarly slender.

Reducing the length of hospital stays, according to many experts, should be a big money-saving payoff from electronic health records — as better care aided by technology translates into less time spent in hospitals. For hospitals with full-featured digital records, the average length of stay was 5.5 days; for those with basic computer records, 5.7 days; and those without, 5.7 days.

I’m sorry, but I have a real problem with studies like this. Just think about how many factors play into a hospital’s average length of stay. Would an EMR be on that list? I wouldn’t place it there. At least not anywhere near the top. The same could be said for the heart failure category as well.

I guess my point is that a study of hospitals like this is really hard. There are so many factors involved in the outcomes of a hospital that it is really hard to measure. Plus, no one should kid themselves into thinking that EMR is the end all be all. It is and will solve a number of major challenges, but it’s just one piece of the complex puzzle.

One could also make the argument that hospital EMR software even more than ambulatory care have basically been a substitute for paper processes. Hospitals have the extra money to customize the EMR like crazy so that it basically models the previous paper processes. The real innovation in these hospitals will start to happen now that they’re electronic. Instead of focusing on becoming electronic, they can now focus on optimizing their processes using technology.

Ambulatory practices are often faced with a reasonable amount of change when implementing an EMR since they don’t have the money or the clout to get the EMR customized. For those practices that select a well designed EMR this ends up providing a great ROI for the practice’s investment in EMR. Sadly, this is also likely the reason that the EMR implementation failure rate is so high. When done right, it’s a great experience with a great return for the practice. When done wrong it’s a disaster.