My favorite new tool is Canva, a graphic design tool that makes it super easy to create images for social media, flyers for sharing, and cards for printing. You can choose from free or $1.00 templates, photos, or icons to create images or PDF’s that you can download or save in your design stream. Check out some of the images that I have created to publicize our Pet Therapy Study Break, Afternoon Tea, & other messages for Twitter and Facebook posts. One nice feature of Canva is that you can choose the size of your image to fit perfectly into posts on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram as well as headers for social media and email. Canva also offers helpful tutorials on design plus inspiration from cool designers to follow on Instagram. Join the over 2 million members on Canva and start creating your own super designs.
Archive for Mobile
Mobile health or “mHealth” applications featuring targeted text or video messages to frontline health workers and patients in resource-poor countries have had mixed success so far owing mostly to the limitations of the technology and economics in scaling up pilot projects. The mHIFA Working Group recently updated a review of existing projects, highlighting some of the more successful ones.
Foremost among them is the Safe Pregnancy and Birth app from Hesperian Health Guides. As judged by the Working Group’s criteria of “Significance of the Health Problem,” “Appropriateness of the Targeting,” “Value of the Information,” “Ease of Assimilation of the Information,” “Availability of the Application,” and “Technological Accessibility of the Application,” the Safe Pregnancy and Birth app provides short, easy to follow, step by step instructions (illustrated by simple drawings) of pregnancy and birth health issues.
For example a lay birth attendant in a remote location can get simple instructions on how to check the baby’s position in the womb or non-medical techniques for strengthening labor.
The app is freely downloadable to iPhones (or iPads and other Apple products) as well as Android devices. For now, the information is available only in English or Spanish, but the producers welcome offers to translate the information into other languages. The Working Group noted the app’s focus on action-oriented instructions and ease of navigation.
Mobile health applications are still proving their worth, but apps such as this one definitely help to make the case for continuing the effort.
Keep up to date with your scholarly reading with Browzine™, a new way of browsing and reading your favorite journals from many major publishers on your iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire, Android Tablet or Android phone. BrowZine is free. All licensed content is provided via UAB Libraries.
Get started in two EASY steps:
1. Download the free Browzine app for your device.
2. When installed, choose University of Alabama at Birmingham as your university library. Use your Blazer ID/password when prompted.
Why use Browzine?
- to scan the complete tables of contents of scholarly journals and read articles optimized for mobile devices
- to get one-click from journal tables of content to the PDFs of the articles you want to read
- save specific articles for later reference and offline reading
- create a bookshelf of your favorite journals for easy, fast access
- to receive on screen notifications when new issues of your favorite journals are published
- Find journals by searching or browsing a title list, or by using a Browzine bookshelf chosen by subject.
- Annotate or print articles by opening them in your favorite apps like Good Reader or iAnnotate.
Pushbullet is a great, free app designed to allow you to easily move items between your computer and mobile devices.
As promised, it is very easy to get started:
I downloaded the app to my iPhone and iPad and added the Chrome extension to my computer. I logged in with my Gmail account and that was it. I could then use the app on my mobile devices to push items such as photos, files, and links to my computer. I sent a couple of things from home and when I got to work the next morning there was a pop-up on my computer with the information. Computer does need to be on though, when I sent one over the holiday it didn’t go through and I couldn’t easily resend it.
I did the same thing from my computer, using the Pushbullet icon in Chrome and instantly pushed files or links from one to the other.
Now I do have other options for moving things between devices but this is so fast and easy I likely will never use the other options again. As I don’t have an Android phone I don’t have all the options (yet) but still find this FREE app to be a great time saver.
There are also some great IFTTT recipes for Pushbullet.
Apparently this app has been around for a while, I just missed it somehow. If you have been using it and have suggestions on how to make the most of it, let us know in the comments.
When I heard that ZipList was closing down earlier this month, I panicked. As mentioned in my post about ZipList earlier this year, this is one of the top few apps I use on a daily basis. The discontinuation of this app comes at a very bad time of year, so I’ve quickly had to do my research to find a replacement! And since I raved about ZipList and may have even lead some to start using it themselves, I feel the need to direct you all to another shopping list solution!
After reading about and considering a few other shopping list apps (Shopper, GroceryIQ, Grocery Gadget, and others) I have ended up with OurGroceries. (Available for both iOS and Android as well as via most PC web browsers.)
So far, am really liking it. As I confessed in my ZipList post, I am not a grocery shopper. I go only when I must. My role is the list maker; my husband’s role is the store-goer. So the ability to share shopping lists in real time, is key. I like to sneak one or two more items on the list while he’s actually at the store!
In addition to list sharing, other shopping list app features I require include the ability to:
- sign up for an account without linking to Facebook. (This was the deal breaker for Shopper. I did not see a way to share my lists without registering with my Facebook login and like others, I’m still suspicious of “anonymous login.”)
- make lists for multiple stores: Publix, Target, Home Depot, Beth, Bath, & Beyond, etc.
- categorize items by type of product and/or aisle in store
I didn’t find myself using ZipList to search for recipes and then automatically add recipe ingredients to my shopping list, so for those who like the sound of that, OurGroceries is probably not for you. You can store recipe names and ingredients but must manually enter that information. There is no place to store the actual recipe instructions. To me, the recipe part of the app is pretty worthless. I guess just having a list of recipe names might be helpful if you’re at a loss for what to cook and need to skim a list.
Some features OurGroceries doesn’t have (or not yet) that some of the other similar apps have include barcode scanning, price tracking, coupon integration, and photos of products. For now at least, I’m enjoying the simplicity of OurGroceries.
There is a free version of OurGroceries, which includes ads. So far, the ads have not been too much of a nuisance to me. For $4.99 (in-app purchase), though, you can upgrade to OurGroceries+ and go ad-free.
“62,804 top doctors. No waiting room.” Sounds pretty interesting, huh? HealthTap has been around in a free form for several years, but I just recently heard about it on a tech segment of the local news. Via the HealthTap website, a healthcare consumer can enter a health topic and quickly access a list of patient questions with doctor-provided answers, as well as links to tips and topic information pages. For example, a search on multiple sclerosis (MS) brings back doctors’ answers to questions such as, Can I catch MS? If I have MS, how can I reduce the effects of an attack? What are the signs of MS?
The HealthTap app requires you to create a personal account. To “personalize your experience,” you are guided through a series of pages to provide information about yourself: gender, location, three health topics of interest to you, etc. After that you can:
- view a feed of targeted health information, much like a health-focused Facebook feed;
- search by condition, symptoms, doctors, medications, or procedures;
- enter a question, at which point you’re given the option to (a) (for a fee) consult a live doctor via video, phone, or chat, or (b) (for free) email a doctor anonymously if none of the provided links sufficiently answer your question; or
- find doctor-created checklists.
The fee-based features of HealthTap were launched just last month as HealthTap Prime, which gives users (for a $99/month fee) access to unlimited medical advice via live video conference with participating physicians.
HealthTap also markets heavily to physicians, highlighting numerous benefits for doctors to offer services through the site and app. In fact, there is a separate HealthTap for U.S. Doctors app that allows physicians to, as one reviewer put it, “help people in [their] spare time.”
It’s no doubt the website and app are slick and user-friendly and the convenience of being able to video conference with a physician at any moment is enticing. I believe this company is onto something exciting. However, I can’t help but feel a bit skeptical of the service. I saw several typos in my browsing of physician answers, so I question the quality control and review process of the information provided. (I couldn’t find a description of their editorial process.) On their Additional Information page, they do address one of my initial concerns about the service by pointing out that virtual consults with HealthTap Prime physicians should not replace regular visits to primary care doctors. Which makes sense: your primary doctor knows your history and has access to your health records. Personally, based on what I saw on their website and app, I’m not yet ready to take a $99/month plunge. But what do you think?
Contraception continues to be controversial politically it seems, judging from recent news. However, there are quieter revolutions in reproductive health occurring somewhat surprisingly in the field of natural family planning. The Georgetown University Institute for Reproductive Health recently announced the availability of a free app for the Two Day Method of natural family planning, which focuses on raising women’s awareness of their cervical secretions surrounding their most fertile periods. This simple, inexpensive method of family planning does not involve contraceptives except for the possible use of condoms during fertile days. It can be used by women with varying cycle lengths. It is not necessary for a woman to be able to distinguish between types and consistency of secretions, only to be alert to their existence during her cycle. (The instructions do provide information about those types of secretions that indicate infection, however.)
When used correctly the Two Day Method is 96% effective, with typical use it is around 86% effective. That means that no more than 5-14 per 100 women using this method will get pregnant if avoiding pregnancy is the goal. (It can also be used by couples hoping to conceive a child.) Although there are some obvious benefits to the Two Day Method, including its ease of use and the ability to avoid hormonal contraceptives or other types of contraception, there are some disadvantages as well. First, the woman has to remember to check her secretions regularly. She must also have a partner willing to abstain from sex during her fertile days or use condoms. The method by itself provides no protection against HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases.
The new 2Day Method app is available for free download to iPhones at the App Store. The results of the clinical trial on the method at Georgetown University were first published in Fertility and Sterility in 20004.
I’ll admit it. When Apple first announced the iPad mini, I was skeptical. Why would anyone want one, since the iPhone and iPad did everything so well and the iPhone is so portable? Then I learned the mini fits in a doctor’s white coat pocket. And that the new mini has (almost) all the features of the iPad Air. So when offered the opportunity to upgrade from my iPad 2, I chose the new Mini with Retina Display and I could not be happier with it.
The size feels exactly right.
To learn specifics about the features of the new mini, start withone of these comprehensive reviews from my favorite sites:
Why I like the iPad mini
- It is small enough to carry in a large pocket or small purse, but has the functions I need to work productively as well as the apps for personal use that I also have on my phone
- I have a case with keyboard for when needed for writing and email
- Webpages open in the full site view, not the mobile view, so there is a full range of options for using them
The LHL Website in Both Views
Working with PDFS
Most people in academia need their tablet to work well with PDF files so they can easily find, read, annotate and store papers. The smaller size works very well for these tasks in part because of the sharpness of the retinal display. The tablet fits easily in my hand for reading or sits upright in its case on a desk. If the PDF print is tiny, a pinch magnifies the screen.
- From the LHL website, you can search in PubMed, CINAHL or Scopus to find articles. Many other UAB resources offer apps or mobile sites.
- There are many apps that store and open PDFs. I often use GoodReader because it has an excellent set of annotation tools.
Screenshot of an Annotated PDF on the Mini
- Most PDF apps allow you to upload the finished PDF to Dropbox, email it to yourself to save storage on your phone, or open it in another app, like Papers or EndNote. I use the EndNote app ($) because it syncs with my other computers. A recent upgrade added a robust set of annotation tools to EndNote as well.
Screenshot of an EndNote Library
Share your experience with using tablets for clinical care or research in the comments below.