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    Helpful technology for older patients

     

    Dr Levine is a Practice Director, CCRM New York, and Attending Physician, Lenox Hil Hospital, New York. He has no conflict of interest to report in respect to the content of this article.

    A 2015 review of smartphone ownership found that nearly two-thirds of American adults (64%) owned a smartphone of some kind, up from 58% in early 2014 (54% for those aged 50–64 and 27% for those aged 65 and older).1 As our aging population continues to adopt smartphones, it’s important to educate our older patients about how they can use their devices to improve their health. Here I discuss a number of apps and devices geared toward helping perimenopausal and postmenopausal patients.

    Apple Health

    In my January 2015 article, “Top apps for ob/gyns and their patients in 2015,” I discussed the strength and utility of Apple Health, "an easy-to-use and easy-to-navigate repository of health information."2 Whenever a patient asks for a health app recommendation I still name Apple Health first since it is already downloaded and installed on every current iPhone. I always make a point of reminding patients to update their *MedicalID, which is contained within Apple Health. The *MedicalID is designed to be a patient demographic snapshot including information about allergies and reactions, spouse contact information, blood type, organ donor status, and medications. *MedicalID is accessible from the lock screen on all current iPhones even if the device is locked with a password, and all first responders and hospitals know to go to *MedicalID in the event that a Jane Doe is brought to the hospital. Apple Health also has a built-in pedometer and can offer a dashboard of health data from other associated apps.

     

    Pericoach

    The PeriCoach System is an FDA-cleared home Kegel exerciser device and app that guides women in strengthening pelvic floor muscles to help treat mild, moderate, stress, and urge urinary incontinence. Beyond the impact of incontinence on daily functioning, pelvic floor disorders may contribute to low libido, blunted sexual arousal, and inability to achieve orgasm.3 This easy-to-use device is simply inserted into the vagina and the app takes the user through a series of exercises in which the user squeezes and relaxes against the PeriCoach. The strength and duration of the contractions are detected on the smartphone app through Bluetooth connectivity. These data are logged on both the smartphone app and the user portal to show progress over time. The data can easily be printed and scanned into the electronic health record.

    Image courtesy of PeriCoach

     

     

     

     

    Brian A. Levine, MD, MS, FACOG
    Dr. Levine is Practice Director at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, New York, New York.

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