Saturday, May 25

Arizona Researchers, Businesses Produce Health-Related Mobile Apps

Arizona researchers and small business owners are leading the way in mobile app development, especially when it comes to health and wellness apps.

The Daily Wildcat reports that several Arizona organizations have been developing, releasing, and experimenting with mobile apps designed to address health issues. See Me Smoke-Free, for example, is an app created by a professor at the University of Arizona (UA) designed to help women quite smoking and improve their overall health. The app allows users to set up goals, listen to soothing music, and read about tobacco and its effects on the body — all of which is designed to help the user gradually quit smoking.

“It’s primarily aimed at getting women to feel good about themselves and to live a healthier lifestyle,” said associate professor Judith Gordon, the app’s creator. Gordon, who teaches at the UA Department of Family and Community Medicine, released the app on the first week of April. It is currently undergoing trial tests.

“We can now empower people to take their health into their own hands,” said Dr. David G. Armstrong, UA professor of surgery and director of the Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance. “That’s the future of care. What’s pretty cool is that future is now.”

Apps are also being developed for direct medical care purposes. Doctors at Banner — University Medical Center Tucson for example are using mobile apps to monitor their patients’ progress and health stats. One of the apps, SurroSense Rx, uses a watch connected to the patient’s shoe insoles to monitor the patient’s pressure points. The app will notify the patient if he or she stands on one point for too long. The app, part of Armstrong’s research study, is currently being used by patients at the Intensive Care Unit.

Another app in the study is Zephyr MD, which uses a BioHarness connected to the chest to record information on the patient’s heart rate, sleeping patterns, temperature, respiration, and other bodily information.

In general, the market for health-related apps is growing. A study conducted in January by a research firm found that roughly two out of three Americans want to use mobile or tablet apps to improve their personal health. There are already more than 20,000 health apps in the iTunes App store and even more in the Google Play store.

Another study shows that one out of three Americans own a tablet or e-reader.

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