The SafeSex #CondomEmoji is an “Open Umbrella with RainDrops” #WorldAidsDay


After failing to have Unicode approve an official safesex emoji Durex have gone ahead with an unofficial emoji to coincide with #WorldsAidDay 2016 in the hope that Unicode will reconsider their decision and help ensure that there is a safe sex emoji on every smartphone so that more people can be encouraged to communicate about safe sex.

Please consider sharing your support for the cause by sharing the #CondomEmoji hashtag with your connections.

World Aids Day 2016

Related post: Mobiles play their part in World Aids Day 2008


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mHealth Events to attend in 2017

mHealth Events 2015

2016 was the first year I counted 100 mHealth events being held around the world (click here to view the events held in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010) so with no time to lose here’s a definitive collection of the mHealth meetings planned for 2017.

If you know of any that I’ve missed please share a link in the comments below and I’ll update this listing to include them:

mHealth Israel Conference
Tel Aviv, Israel
8 March 2017

UCLA mHealth Summer Training Institute
Los Angeles, California
6-11 August 2017

* We’ll be there ** We’re Chairing/Presenting/Exhibiting

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New service being piloted by the BMA provides every Doctor in the UK with Skype access to a Doctor


While 3G Doctor has been available since 2006 the new DocHealth service being piloted by the BMA means that every Doctor in the UK is now offered the opportunity to Skype a Doctor to consult about any Professional or Personal issues.

I think we should be able to learn lots about the future direction of medicine by looking at the design of this service and it’s evolution.

mHealth Insights

It’s interesting that the DocHealth service is billed as being ‘confidential‘ which is quite odd as presumably all Doctor consultations are confidential?

It’s very interesting that the service promises “no report writing unless specifically requested by the doctor using the service” as perhaps this means there are exceptions being provided to the Doctors that are providing the service as they would normally have a duty to report concerns about a colleagues fitness to practice regardless of whether or not the ‘Patient who is a Doctor’ specifically requested a report was written.

It’s great to see the service makes use of mobile video calling as earlier this year at the Irish College of General Practitioners annual conference Irish GPs gathered to debate “The role of video consultations in general practice: an opportunity or threat?” with the College’s head of communications presenting the case that this is somehow a threat to GPs and their Patients.

I thought this was interesting as:

1) I’ve never met a Doctor who hasn’t got a mobile phone that has a contact list full of other Doctors who they could call/SMS/Facetime at anytime if they needed help. It’s incredibly rare to meet with a Patient who is in this fortunate position and in fact Medics are being taught not to provide their personal contact details to Patients even though it’s one of the most caring things you can do.

2) The debate highlighted for me how despite the compelling evidence there is still a lot of disdain amongst experienced Doctors for any medium other than face to face in the office approaches to providing care. For many the medium through which they consult seems to be more important than the content and timing and I think they’re being left behind by Patients and are missing out on huge opportunities to improve the quality of their own careers and work/life balance while making a difference by improving access and outcomes for Patients who clearly want their Doctors to adopt the tools of our time and are more than ready for change.

3) the debaters  had clearly confused ‘video consulting’ with ‘video prescribing’ (something I talk about in this mobile video consulting best practice talk I gave at the Doctors 2.0 conference a few years ago in Paris).

Sir Stirling Moss 3G Video Calling 3G Doctor Dr Fiona Kavanagh


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Digital Health: “That must cost a bomb”

Gemma Morris checks out the GIANT Healthcare Event in London and I think the short piece makes it really clear why Patients and Clinicians need “Mobile Health” rather than “Digital Health” innovation.

mHealth Insights

“(4 Min) an USB stick and a drop of blood that’s all you need for a new HIV test developed by scientists the process is similar to the one here the disposable device detect the virus and then creates an electric signal your computer or handheld device reads to get the result the whole test can be complete within just 30 minutes”

It stuns me that the Digital Health industry has learnt so little from the Mobile industry or the BornMobile generation.

It should be obvious in 2016 that we are categorically failing millions of Diabetic Patients and Clinicians because 99% of the data captured by Digital Glucometers isn’t being automatically collected and shared but how could anyone working at Imperial College London think that we would want Patients to be monitoring their expensive HIV treatments with dumb  unconnected devices that need to be mounted to computers via USB drives when connectivity is such a simple and inexpensive addition?

I think we need to look to mHealth because ‘Digital Health’ entrepreneurs are nearly as out of touch as the EU Researchers who are trying to produce Robots to provide answer machines to Patients who have Mobile phones.

“(5 min) there’s the whole load of innovators and entrepreneurs here each with their own high-tech solution for helping us improve our health. We found one exhibitor who has been using holographic technology to help train medical students come and meet Dr. Javed Kahn.


And you bought half a human body with you!

That’s right this is a holographic 3D image of  human anatomy and it’s used to train medical students at the University of Edinburgh how has this become a tool for training one of the problems faced by teachers of anatomy and for the students is to understand the complexities of the internals of the human body this includes things like the organs the skeleton arteries this is very complex information and a good way to show this is in three dimensions so what are the current methods for training students would it be dissection and graphics that’s right currently students use dissection which happens in later years and they also use two-dimensional atlases which is just like a book and in fact we’ve made a three-dimensional version of this Atlas which enables you to see all of the human anatomy were imaged everything holographic technology doesn’t need glasses so things appear in midair and this is a real plus for this technology so you want those atlases to be rolled out across universities then that’s right we’re working on this now together with a medical publisher and a couple of universities.

I bet that’s going to be expensive though, there must be some drawbacks to this technology i bet it cost a bomb?

it used to be the case but the latest technology is is now manufacturable and replicable so you can copy it more easily so the prices have come down significantly”

I recently visited Edinburgh Medical School to provide the mHealth course I developed and while there took the opportunity to join an anatomy class and was stunned to find that the course materials being used were little different to those printed pages and textbooks that I used 20 years ago when at Medical School down in London.

In the common room I found noticeboard adverts for second hand/out-of-date textbooks which I think should be an embarrassment to any Medical School in 2016. How is this preparing future Doctors from the worlds most expensive medical schools are being out done by their counterparts in low income countries (there is no longer a market for such out of date books in these as the students download copies of the latest textbooks onto their cheap android devices that they can use anytime anywhere).

I noticed only 7 students had iPads in the full lecture hall and they were all using the great Complete Anatomy apps produced by 3D4Medical and when chatting with them I was told they had made the decision for themselves to use these mHealth tools to aid their study (eg. the apps hadn’t been prescribed by their tutors). I thought it was also revealing that all 7 of these smart students were female, all the male students used pen/paper.

I cannot begin to imagine how Edinburgh University tutors can justify wasting money ring binding expensive printed study materials with hologram printing tech or huge unweildy and expensive 3D display screens when there are world leading Medical Schools that have retired paper course materials years ago and have already published research showing how it improves the quality of teaching and student performance.

Augmented Reality (the next mass media) apps are coming but they’re going to build on mobile educational apps and not from a marginal improvement to printed efforts:

Medical Schools should move with the times because the reality is there won’t be a single day in these future Doctors careers when they won’t be carrying at least one mobile phone that is at least as powerful as the latest iPhone 7 and is loaded with all their text and reference books.


Related Posts:

The Medical Tech divide is disappearing thanks to #mHealth

mHealth Lesson for Medical Device Manufacturers: Clever doesn’t beat Connected

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Do men need access to an independent impartial Doctor because they never think they’d be THAT person?


“I really debated talking about this tonight with you because I’m going to tell you something and everybody watching that i didn’t even tell my mam until 2 hours ago when I rang her because I knew I was going to say it to you which is that a friend of mine said to me ‘look Al if you’re not enjoying everything that you’re getting and you’re having a great time, having a great life and winning all these things and having this fabulous time making everyone laugh, then maybe it’s not your circumstances, maybe it’s a physical thing. Maybe it’s an imbalance. Go to a Doctor”. So i went to a Doctor, and I wouldn’t even go to my own family Doctor as I was afraid. I went to a Doctor in Carlow so I could go outside of Dublin. And he said look you need antidepressants and I never thought I’d be that person. And nobody in my family would think I would be that person and I said it to my Mam and I said I’m just going to let you know I’m going to talk on Brendan O’Connors (show) about taking antidepressants and I know I haven’t told you this and she said ‘well no you haven’t’ and I’d be hiding them in my house. I have had my friend go and pick them up because I don’t want to have to go in and pick up the prescription. I’ve had the prescription made up in different names to my own and like that stigma I never actually really thought it was real. I had heard people like Bressie – who is a friend of mine – talking about it and kind of going I don’t really get where you’re coming from and then suddenly realising someone as confident as me, I’d tell people anything about myself. Every detail I’m like an open book on stage, radio and in the newspapers  and yet i just couldn’t even admit ‘yeah i need those pills they’re going to keep me balanced’. If I can’t cope with that like Jesus knows how someone who doesn’t have the confidence that I have does and is in their bed for three weeks and I mean is going like who am I going to get to go and pick them up for me. At least I have a manager who can”

In an incredibly honest interview with RTE’s CuttingEdge Irish comedy star Al Porter talks about the stigma young men encounter when seeking medical help for depression.

Related posts:

What can a Doctor do for a Patient over a Video Call?

Are you more honest with your phone than your Doctor?

I’d never admit that to my Doctor but to a computer? Sure.

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NHS patients being put ‘at risk’ because of cybersecurity flaws


“Last week, two NHS trusts in Lincolnshire were forced to cancel operations after a virus infected their computer systems. Derriford Hospital in Plymouth was also targeted by hackers and forced to pay a ransom, after its systems were attacked…   …Sky News received responses from 97 NHS trusts. The average annual spend for an NHS trust was £23,040, but six trusts spent at least £100,000. Forty-five NHS trusts were unable to specify their cybersecurity budget at all”

mHealth Insights

I’m not buying this story that there are NHS Trusts that are spending nothing or even as little as £23k/year on IT Security.

Buy an iPhone and you’re getting a device that has had billions spent making it secure – something that was highlighted by the fact that the FBI couldn’t even unlock it.

By the logic used by SkyNews a NHS Trust might say they have zero IT Security spend even though they just spent £10 million buying iPhones and iPads for staff. Similarly a NHS Trust that supported staff who brought in their own (maybe £20 million worth) smartphones to use at work just effectively realised millions of £s worth of cybersecurity for next to nothing.

There’s no denying that NHS Trusts aren’t spending enough in this area but the big gains are in adopting the tools of our time and training staff to use them.


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Cardiff University set to launch mHealth Network initiative


On the 7th December 2016 Cardiff University is set to launch it’s mHealth Network initiative to facilitate “interoperability across stakeholders and collaborative production of research“.

The launch event hosted by the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences is organised jointly by the School of Medicine, School of Healthcare Sciences, and School of Social Sciences and is a University wide workshop designed to bring together staff with an interest in consumer wearable technologies for the promotion of health and well-being and/or managing diseases. The goal is to identify potential areas of collaborative research that could include development of technology relevant to healthcare.

Speakers will include Dr Chris Jones, Deputy CMO, Welsh Government and Dr Philippa Jones, Cardiff University.

You can register to attend the launch event here on Eventbrite (Free).

Related: Also check out the iDoc Project from the Welsh Deanery – one of the world’s most pioneering mHealth app initiatives by a Medical School.


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