What apps are able to do for health – MEDICA 2014 shows things worth recommending for many fields of application -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine
Medical app presented at MEDICA 2013

What apps are able to do for health – MEDICA 2014 shows things worth recommending for many fields of application

When dealing in the field of health, how good are the apps for our smartphones and tablet PCs? What constitutes a good mini application in this field? Those are questions that experts will be following up on at the MEDICA HEALTH IT FORUM within the scope of the world’s largest medical trade fair, MEDICA, in Düsseldorf (12 to 15 November 2014). For example, “M-health and Prevention” is the name of the topic starting on 13 November at 11 am in Forum 2 (trade fair hall 15). This is how apps can be used to increase the reliability of medication by generating reminders to take a preparation regularly. However, apps are also being successfully used in the field of individual, community-related and company prevention – even if is only to aid workers in leading healthy lives for example. But what are actually apps worth recommending in the field of health?

According to Dr. phil. Holger Mühlan, the chair of Health and Prevention at the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University in Greiswald, there is a variety of criteria for this, but (still) no binding standards. However, at the John Hopkins University in Washington, a database of evidence is being continuously built up. In addition, Mühlan makes reference to an important English review by Caroline Free et al., that comes to the conclusion that the use of mobile technologies, such as SMS reminders, are moderately beneficial (PLOS Medicine, 2013 Vol. 10 (1) e1001363, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001363). In the German-speaking region, there are already web portals and initiatives such as http://www.healthon.de concerning themselves with the issue.

Within the scope of the MEDICA 2014, it is also about apps that could help to improve of hospital patient care. The topic “ISV – Information Scarcely Visible?” is going to be addressed at the ENTSCHEIDERFABRIK (within the scope of the 37th German Hospital Conference). In fact, mobile units are supposed to make data that are already being stored in hospital information systems more readily available. “During everyday routine however, it is often the case that physicians and nurses have had to click a lot of times in order to retrieve information,” said Lars Forchheim, the IT department head at Edia.con. Thereby, touchscreens are already being used to display a full range of information from hospital information systems. Of course, this full range of information often entails too much information because generally, a chief physician requires a different set of information than a nurse. Now, an iPad app should make this easier. The app is configured in such a way so that the users only see what they actually need to. There should be one app for many professional groups, but with its own individual settings for each occupational field at hand.

App for more cost effectiveness

Forchheim names a “DRG system” that analyses patients’ lengths of stay. In this way, the maximum length of stay is determined until which duration of stay a standard fee is applied. On an individual basis, if this duration is exceeded, the hospital receives additional compensation from insurance companies. If this happens several times, it is deemed uneconomical. The signal light on the app shows green if the maximum length of stay has not yet been reached and turns yellow when the time has been reached. It then switches to red when the maximum length of stay has been exceeded. The physician or occupational therapist, for example, continues to decide freely on how long the patient should stay in hospital. However, he makes his decisions based on the knowledge of the length of stay with an overview of economic consequences. The app will comprise twenty to thirty parameters, of which only eight are relevant for the respective occupational group. For example, initial investigations have shown that invoices can be generated more quickly. The product has the potential to make work and operational procedures easier for both doctors and nurses. The first version is likely to be presented at the MEDICA.


The MEDICA App COMPETITION has to do with apps that, for example, help to improve processing at hospital or to increase the safety of patients. For the third time, a live competition will be held for the best app used in the daily routine of doctors and hospitals. App developers from the entire world can still submit their apps until October 2014. These submissions are preselected by the MEDICA expert team and ten developer teams will be able to qualify for participation at the live event taking place at the MEDICA. On the stage in hall 15, all medical apps nominated will be presented on 13 November and afterwards, the winner will be selected on site by a top-class jury and duly celebrated. More information is available on the Internet at http://www.medica.de/mac2.

The “eHeath Venture Summit & Innovation Award” is entirely new at this year’s MEDICA and especially interesting for young companies in the field of Heath IT on 14 November, 11 am to 2 pm. This price offers medical intervention start-ups the possibility to face the critical scrutiny of a committee made up of internally renowned clinical and economic experts, thereby establishing contact to potential investors. Within the scope of the MEDICA HEALTH IT FORUM, the final participants will meet the experts personally in order to question the value of their idea and obtain important pieces of advices and support. Further information concerning this is provided by the website, http://evs.curemyway.com.

Information on MEDICA 2014 exhibitors, product information, news on companies and the programme of the accompanying conferences and forums, e.g. MEDICA HEALTH IT FORUM und MEDICA CONNECTED HEALTH FORUM, are available online at: http://www.medica-tradefair.com.

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