September 2016 Caffiend

Caffiend 

logo-caffiend
What it is: A medical app that helps you track your caffeine and water intake
What devices: iPhones and Apple Watches
Cost: $0.99
Who should use it:  Anyone looking to monitor their caffeine intake
Why use it:  As we move into September, students are back in school, on college campuses and the days are shorter, many people turn to caffeinated beverages to give themselves a boost.  While caffeine can be very useful, we can get too much and it can cause medical problems.  Insomnia, palpitations and dyspepsia can all occur with ingesting too much caffeine and many people will have withdrawal symptoms when they do not have their usual amount of caffeine.  That is where this month’s health app comes in, Caffiend.
       Caffiend is a mobile health app that help you track and measure your caffeine use.  It easily allows you find the amount of caffeine in your favorite beverages.  You can see how much caffeine is in each drink and how much you have consumed each day.
       The benefit of tracking your caffeine use is two fold.  By tracking, you can make sure to limit your use to an acceptable level.  Most consider less than 400mg to be a good goal, although that is something that you should discuss with your own personal physician.  The other benefit could be to compare any symptoms you might have that could be caffeine related.  For example, is your caffeine intake too high in the evening and if you adjust your caffeine intake, does that improve at all.
       The Caffiend app also is set up to help you monitor your overall water intake as well.  It is a nice way to track both at the same time if you so choose.caffiene-healthkit-dashboard
       The one drawback to the Caffiend app is that you can not visualize your caffeine intake
graphically at all.  The easiest solution to this is to sink the app up with your HealthKit.  You can keep track of your caffeine along side your steps, miles and weight.

 

Should you care what EMR your Doctor uses?

       When you are looking for a physician, what kind of criteria do you use?  Location is probably a priority as is whether or not the physician accepts your insurance.  You might review your states medical board, make sure there are no issues with licensure.  Reviewing a physician’s medical school and residency training is important.  Some people even like to go in for an appointment just to meet a physician.  As one of my patients once told me, he had to “kick the tires” on a new doctor before he would commit to seeing them regularly.
       While all of that is important, should patients start asking which Electronic Medical Record a prospective doctor uses?
       At first glance, it doesn’t really seem to be something that a patient would care about. Patients have enough to worry about, let their physician worry about the Electronic Medical Record, or EMR.  There may be some reasons that you may want to include an EMR into your decision making process.
Physicians spend a significant percentage of their day using the EMR.  From scheduling an
appointment to checking in to prescribing medications to reviewing test results, the EMR is at the center of any clinic.  Does your physician like their computer-1149148_1920EMR?  Does it make them more or less efficient?  Will your care suffer if the EMR drags your doctor down and causes them to be chronically late and attentive only to the computer screen, not to you the patient?  The EMR is the tool physicians use to make their encounter notes, and those notes are the basis for insurance coverage, referrals and prior authorizations.  Is the EMR good enough to make it easy for your physician to create good notes?  Is it portable, can your doctor easily access it at home or when out of the office?
Most EMR’s can not integrate with EMR’s at other healthcare institutions.  Many people will have more than one physician that they receive care from.  Can those physicians use their EMR to communicate?  Can your physician’s EMR provide information to the local hospital if you are admitted for an illness, or will they have to wait for your doctor’s staff to print out your chart and fax it in?  Are you going to have to tell your medical history every time you see a different doctor or go to a different clinic?
You want to communicate with your doctor.  It isn’t enough anymore to call your doctors office, leave a message and wait for a call back.  Can you communicate directly with your doctor through their EMR?  Is it easy to receive your labs and test results?  Can you ask the questions about your medical care with email or text?  How comfortable is your doctor with digital communication or will they just have their nurse leave your results on your voicemail?
Sharing data with your healthcare team is important.  There are many connected health devices in your life.  Can your doctors EMR integrate with any of these connected devices?  Can you send your weekly blood sugar log to your physician for review?  What about a picture of a new mole on your arm, can that information be transmitted electronically?  Will your doctor have to ask you how much you exercise if they already have your daily average of steps, miles run and calories burned?
       While not the most important criteria when choosing a doctor or healthcare facility, the fact is the computers and EMR’s are central to healthcare today.  Choosing the right combination of physician and technology could be the difference between a good and bad experience in healthcare.
       I would love to hear about experiences with an EMR from both the patient and physician perspective.  Send us an email (dranderson@drmatthewanderson.com), leave comment on the site or Tweet your thoughts @DrAnderson19.  Next week I will have a review of a company trying to help solve the EMR problem.