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Mobile:

Can Medical Apps Revolutionize Health Care?

Apps are capable of so much, but can they refresh the tired face of the health care system? Many smartphone and tablet users have already discovered the benefits of health apps that enable heart-rate or diet monitoring.

It’s a steady trend that has doctors and patients wondering what the future of smart medicine will be.

An app Rx

It sounds like pure science fiction — doctors prescribing downloads instead of pills, and insurance companies covering the cost of apps — but for many it’s a reality that can’t come soon enough. Supporters are aiming for a near future where complex apps that serve a variety of medical functions are developed to fill market demand.

They see prescribing apps now as a stepping stone for future app creation. For others, the issues accompanying app prescription — quality control, education, the cost of development, and FDA vetting — are hurdles that might eventually prove prohibitive.

So far, health-based apps have been quite successful. Some aim simply at encouraging proper hydration, others monitor more complex wellness and fitness plans, and even act as personal trainers.

Because these apps have been so popular and apparently effective, it’s not a huge leap for doctors who are hoping that apps can work magic with more serious, chronic diseases as well.

Patient response

A recent study by a group called Digitas Health confirmed that in the US chronic patients are also hopeful. An astonishing 90% of those surveyed confirmed that they would be fine with a mobile app prescription. The number is even more defining when compared to the mere 66% of patients who would be happy with a medical prescription.

Costs and benefits

Smartphone apps may be capable of reducing costs on both ends of the system. Because many actually function as a medical device, that are considerably more costly than standard apps.

Take, for example, the diabetes management app by WellDoc. It actually records blood sugar levels and makes dietary recommendations, and it costs more than $100 per month. In part, higher costs are the result of developing apps that will run perfectly the first time, without constant updates and bug fixes.

WellDoc’s diabetes app is one of the few that has been approved by the FDA. This year, WellDoc’s BlueStar broke even more ground by becoming the first “mobile integrated therapy” that can be prescribed by doctors and paid for by individual insurance.

Download your way to wellness

Tablets and smartphones have already changed the way doctors practice medicine. From field doctors who use portable equipment and mobile technology to serve military personnel, to EMTs and ER doctors who use tablets to transmit lifesaving information quickly and accurately, the worlds of technology and medicine are a natural fit.

If you have a chronic disease or illness, consider asking your doctor if there’s an app prescription that’s right for you. Don’t forget to ask if your insurance company will foot the bill.

Social:

5 Ways to Get People to Trust You Online

Gaining trust in this incredibly fast-moving global economy is not as easy as it used to be. If you’re selling products in Germany, and have a great reputation there, how do you get that great reputation and trust to carry across your borders, and into other countries that could be in the market for your product or service?

Don’t sweat it. The process is not that different online as it was offline, and we’ll give you our top five ways to be trusted everywhere, below.

1. Be open about who you are

By open, we mean put it all out there: your name, phone number, business address, office location, everything. Why does this matter? Because people are afraid of getting ripped off by someone who is unable to be found. When you disclose who you are and where you’re located, you’re making a statement: You can trust me.

2. Smile in your photo

There’s something inherently suspicious about photos of people who aren’t smiling, and that makes it harder to trust the person. Even if it’s not in your nature to smile a lot, when you consider the many personal advantages of smiling, you might as well get in the habit!

3. Tweet … a lot

Twitter is a great way to build social proof of your relationships and trustworthiness. Since your tweets can be seen forever in the archives, make sure you tweet helpful, important, intelligent, nice, and empathetic messages.

Your tweets create a resume of communication, as well as a count of people who follow you and believe in you. And that’s a powerful way of building trust!

4. Meet offline

Using sites like Meetup.com or going to industry events, you can make great connections and build trust with centers of influence in your field of specialty and/or your local community. These people can vouch for your credibility online, as well as in their respective circles, which is why networking can be so powerful.

5. Get testimonials from satisfied clients

If you’re already in business and doing a good job for people, collect testimonials from your happiest customers. They might do a video testimonial for you on YouTube.

This can be particularly helpful in the high-anxiety arena of professional trading of investments, where people can lose money and need to have a high trust level for the financial advice they’re acting upon and the agency they’re consulting!

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last update: April 23, 2014

Mobile:

Technical Challenges and Solutions for Knowledge Transfer in Business

Knowledge transfer has become increasingly vital, due to the retirement of Baby Boomers, who currently represent the largest percentage of the population. As this demographic exits the workplace over the coming years, it will be critical for the “Millennial” employees to learn what it takes to fill their shoes.

Let’s look at some of the challenges and solutions faced by various fields of business.

Challenges

Several notable challenges exist inclusive of but not limited to companies that have not established the proper infrastructure for a workable and seamless transfer from one set of employees to another.

To overcome these hurdles, Jeffrey Vargas, the Chief Learning Officer of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, argues that technology has to be a game changer, since it can give voice to a younger, more tech-savvy generation, meet educational needs of all age groups, and offer information that’s easy to access, accurate, relevant, enjoyable, and has great utility.

Farming

In farming, there’s a need to develop a good online database that can store and exchange farming data from multiple sources. It needs to be accessible for sharing and collaboration, by alternate farmers during a pending sale, or when a farm becomes part of an inheritance and is handed down to another family member.

Integration of data creates a comprehensive dataset for robust analysis and making quality decisions, which adds value to the technology. By developing an industry database, data is controlled and not lost. This ownership enables sharing of data to other agricultural applications or services, which encourages competition, innovation, and growth.

Apps

Apps are a relatively new concern in knowledge transfer. But companies like Podia in Copenhagen are finding them immeasurably helpful, due to their need for shared workspaces.

Their apps allow any employee to pick up on an assignment where another left off. This includes new employees who struggled to get up to speed in the past, because they hadn’t been a part of the 25-stringed email that described a particular planned assignment.

The Gulf Emirate government of Abu Dhabi has made MicroLearning with KnowledgePulse a standard application. Developed in Austria, the app is being used to effect knowledge transfer for government officials, as well as to assess and evaluate the acquired knowledge of existing employees.

Learn from the pros

Steve Trautman is corporate America’s leading knowledge transfer expert. For more than two decades, he has provided executives at blue-chip companies and in the public sector with the simplest, most relevant, and quick solutions for knowledge transfer.

You can learn from his team for more in-depth insight as to the current status of knowledge transfer in 2013 and going forward.

Knowledge transfer is not something a company should start planning when someone leaves the firm. Now is the time to be looking at handing over current work in progress and any responsibilities specific to employees that may move on or retire.

Companies should not make the error of allowing a valuable resource to walk out the door with some of the company’s data or unique experience. Starting from scratch is not an option in today’s business milieu. Learning best practices in knowledge transfer should be a priority today.

Lifestyle:

Gas Station Marketing in the UK

If you feel like you can’t get away from advertising no matter where you go, you’re really not going to like what’s going on in the UK. Major grocery store retailer Tesco, which also has gas stations in the parking lots, is using scanners at gas pumps to target a specific advertisements.

How it works

The company that designed the technology, Quividi, is shying away from the phrase “facial recognition” when talking about its technology. Instead, Quividi refers to it as “facial detection.” It essentially works by detecting the gender and approximate age of the person who stops to get gas, then caters the advertisement to him or her.

Some customers were concerned about the supposed invasion of privacy, but the company says that the scanner doesn’t store or record any information whatsoever. It simply tailors the ads that show up on the screens of gas pumps. Some citizens are worried that it’s a little too Orwellian, but others aren’t concerned.

A few people complain that they can’t even get their gas in peace without being forced to watch a commercial. But the company thinks it might be helpful and boost sales. For instance, showing a commercial for car eyelashes might not be effective for a 40-year-old man, but for an 18-year-old girl, it would be perfect.

Speaking of which …

The UK has a pretty extensive system of closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV). One of the new ways authorities and corporations might install these CCTV cameras are at gas stations. The cameras would be mounted where they can see the license plates and registration of the cars, and if the car is uninsured, the gas pump will not pump gas to the customer.

Although tackling uninsured drivers is an issue that needs to be addressed, most people argue that these cameras are not the answer at all. Many people who work at gas stations also get harassed because of the high price of gas, and they are the prime target for people who can’t pump their gas.

Of course it isn’t the cashiers’ fault, and they would have no way to override the system, but its doubtful that angry uninsured drivers would care.

Also, there would seem to be a problem with cars getting clogged up in the gas pumps. If someone is pretty much out of fuel when he pulls in, and then he can’t get gas, the car might get stuck at the pump.

Lifestyle:

Are We Raising a Generation of Tech Addicts?

There are plenty of studies that detail the impact of the overuse of electronic devices on healthy adults. Prolonged video gaming can cause hand injuries and anti-social behavior, excessive television indulgence can lead to obesity and lowered IQ, social media correlates to depression and anxiety, and using technology of almost any kind while driving is almost as bad as being drunk.

Still, until recently, studies involving Internet use were limited to teens and adults. Now the tablet and smartphone craze is changing all that.

Tablets vs. babysitters

Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced new recommendations surrounding how much screen time kids should actually be receiving. Suggesting that too many parents are unconcerned about the deleterious effects of tech, Dr. Victor Strasburger, the policy’s primary author, stated that tech use should be limited to two hours a day.

For many, that would mean some serious lifestyle changes. In one poll that surveyed more than 2,400 parents, nearly 60% admitted to using a wireless device as a babysitter or entertainment for their child.

Individuals polled had children aged 2 to 13, and claimed to use devices twice a week for the purpose of distraction or entertainment. Tablets, it would seem, are the new play-pens, with parents explaining that hand-held devices provided them with opportunities to relax, have “me-time,” and generally accomplish more.

Most of the parents claimed that the tech also offered their kids an escape from monotony during travel or family functions.

What the numbers say

The investigations by the Academy of Pediatrics paint a less wholesome picture. A study from 2010 shows that American children between the ages of 8 and 18 actually spend an average of 7 hours each day engaged with “entertainment media.” Another study from the nonprofit organization Common Sense Media, shows how those numbers have increased dramatically over time.

It found that almost 40% of children younger than 2 have used tablet or smartphone technology. That’s a 10% increase from the same numbers in 2010. When the study looked at children 8 and younger, what they found was even more staggering: Nearly 75% were known to use wireless devices, a number that had doubled in the course of just a year.

What can be done

The academy’s new policies suggest that parents keep computers and televisions out of bedrooms, and limit Internet, smartphone, social media, television, and movie exposure to two hours each day. Their only exception is online homework, which is becoming more prevalent as schools incorporate new tech into their curriculum.

Overuse of tech has been cited as the culprit for a variety of behavioral problems, sleep problems, obesity, and declines in school performance. But with nearly one-third of children fluent in mobile phone use before they’re fluent in their native tongue, and 29% of children using their first gadgets before they can run, it’s hard to say what can truly be done to neutralize the effects of technology on our youngest and most vulnerable generation.

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Social:

3 Social Ways to Get More of What You Want

Social media is now such a wide-ranging subject that it’s hard to figure out which aspect to focus on to get ahead. Should you be looking at niche-specific social media uses? Or should you be watching trends on a broad level, and gathering insights from them?

We have a different suggestion: How about looking at everything around you as a potentially socially element, and think of how to use any of those things to get what you want.

Here are a few ways you can get started in that practice of thinking. Call them three social ways to get more of what you want.

1. Don’t just brag online; ask

Social media sites have become an annoying platform for bragging. Whether it’s the expensive dinner at a fancy restaurant that somehow warrants a photo posting, or an extravagant vacation, or even the achievements of a person’s children, the social media outlets have become a platform for talking about what makes people and their lives so much better than yours.

But these platforms don’t have to be used that way. People love to give their opinions, and help others when possible. So why not use social media sites to ask people how to get more of what they want? Asking, instead of bragging, is much more likely to lead you to the places you want to go.

2. Shake hands and meet up

Meetup.com is a site that has made its mark by facilitating offline gatherings for people who have similar interests. Use sites like this to foster real relationships and unleash the power of formal and informal business networking, which essentially holds exponential value for people who are connected to the most other people.

3. Learn to combine offline with online

There are many examples of how to use online advertising to drive people to online businesses, and how to use offline advertising to get what you want in an offline commercial environment.

But two other combinations tend to receive less focus: How to use online marketing to generate offline traffic, and how to use offline promotions to get people to your online location(s).

Those last two combinations are where it’s helpful to read the blog posts of tech experts in advertising efficiencies and innovations. Make this a part of your daily or weekly reading, and you’ll soon learn how to design a hybrid world of offline and online innovations to get more of what you want!

Gadgets:

How Your Smartphone Can Help You Study

 

College can be stressful. There’s so much to do, so much to learn, so many assignments. Reading and papers and presentations — and then there are the pop quizzes and tests and final exams.

It’s tough on your average 18- to 20-something. But for those of us who didn’t hammer out a solid study technique in high school, or are looking for a new way to get study, look no further than your smartphone.

The first thing to do is get organized. I can’t stress this enough. Use the simple calendar that comes on the phone or download another one that suits your needs. Organize tasks by type (reading, writing, homework), by class, or by priority.

If flashcards are your style, download a flashcard app. This will scale back the need for you to carry hundreds of index cards in your backpack and will make studying on the go a lot easier.

The ones on your phone are pretty simple, but there are flashcard apps for iPad that actually work with the iPad flip covers that allow you to show the question and then flip back for the answer. It’s genius in its simplicity.

There are also more complex study apps that will combine notes and even help you coordinate your study sessions. iStudiez Pro ($2.99) and StudyBlue (free) are examples of these more complex apps. They can help you keep track of assignments, integrate notes, and have other features.

There are also apps that help you take notes. They have recording devices that allow you to put all your lectures on tape for reference later.

Note apps will help you organize your notes by class or by date. However, if you’re keeping notes digitally, make sure there are ways to back them up: I’ve been caught by a crashed hard drive and broken equipment, which meant that all my notes for the semester were gone. Trust me: This is not good.

If you’re the type of person who likes study groups, your phone can help with that too. Getting classmates’ information and organizing them into groups is a good way to set up a study group.

You could even download GroupMe, a text-messaging app that works like a chat room. That way, everyone involved can see everyone else’s texts and know when and where to meet up. Learning team skills in college can be great for you later on in the business world.

College can be challenging, with all the studying and organizing. Make sure to schedule in some fun time for yourself: Take up a hobby, join a club, make friends, be spontaneous. College is supposed to fun and enriching. It’s about growing up, finding your identity, and learning a little bit along the way.

Gadgets:

4 Old-Fashioned Ways to Use New Technology

Do you ever get the feeling that we’re all living in a time that was once only dreamed of in science fiction stories? Messages zoom around the world instantly. Free video communication. The Xbox One even lets you operate your TV with voice commands.

Keeping up with all the latest tech, however, can seem a bit overwhelming. Many people feel that a return to slower, more traditional forms of communication would create closer, more personal connections.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to add a personal touch to even the newest forms of tech. Here are four old-fashioned ways to use new technology.

1. Make a phone call

Texting and instant messaging are popular methods of communication. Short and direct, they are perfect for the office or the exchange of any other brief information.

But what about the lost art of conversation? When it comes to family and friends, sometimes a nice long talk is just the thing to reconnect.

Aside from using your smartphone as, well, a phone, another easy way to reach out and talk to someone is with Skype. It’s free, it’s easy and best of all, it allows for video, too. It’s the next best thing to being there: the old-fashioned connection of a long, face-to-face chat … with a newfangled twist!

2. Explore the world

There are all sorts of reasons you might not be able to travel around the world. But finances, health, and personal safety shouldn’t prohibit you from seeing it.

With GoPro cameras, people can record and post their adventures from around the world, and you can watch these videos right from your own home. Sure, it’s not the same as actual travel, but if logistics prevent real-world wandering, P.O.V. videos at least give you a chance to travel virtually.

3. Handwritten letters

There’s something undeniably special about a handwritten letter for both sender and receiver. The time it takes to write one out can certainly create a nice personal connection.

Unfortunately, while it’s not terribly difficult to write and mail a letter, it’s become nearly a lost art these days. After all, email is much faster.

One modern take on the handwritten letter is to write out a letter, scan it, and then send it as a file in an email. It’s the best of both worlds: Your letter has that personal touch, but it also gets to the recipient instantly and securely.

4. Display some photos

These days, most people have tons of pictures. The problem is that, in all likelihood, the vast majority of those pictures exist only in your phone or in cyberspace. Physical copies of photographs have fallen to the wayside.

The good news is that printing copies of your digital photos is pretty easy — you can either do it yourself at home with a color printer, or pay to have it done at most printing stores.

Displaying photos of friends and family instantly brightens any living or work area. You can even add an extra touch of fun by displaying your photos in personalized photo frames. Whether the photos are for yourself or a gift for someone else, they’re a great way to use new technology in order to create an old-fashioned decorating staple.

Don’t let cool new technology act as a barrier to real social interaction. These tips can help you add a bit of old-fashioned goodness to your life. Perfect for the holidays, or any time! Because certain things just never go out out of style.

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