Steven Chan is a resident physician at the University of California, Davis in psychiatry. He's engaged in health, technology, & design.

Guest-writing for iMedicalApps, a mobile technology blog, & covering Health 2.0's Health:Refactored conference

iMedicalApps website

iMedicalApps, a leading blog for mobile applications for physicians, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers, has graciously taken me on as a guest writer for their site. I’m grateful to Satish Misra, a partner, editor, and an internal medicine resident doc at Johns Hopkins, for the opportunity!

You can read some of my articles already up on their site:

Health:Refactored stage

This week, I’m covering the Health 2.0 Health:Refactored developer conference, which focuses on the development and design of health applications, including medical records, mobile apps, and more. It’s a much smaller conference than Health 2.0, but so far the energy has been very high!

I’ll post the articles onto iMedicalApps with Satish’s help, and tweet from both my @StevenChanMD account and the @iMedicalApps Twitter account. See you there!

Conquering another mountain: how I studied for the USMLE Step 3 two-day soul-crushing anxiety-inducing omg-wtf exam

Mountain Dew time!

I just finished USMLE (the United States Medical Licensing Exam) Step 3, a 2-day-long ordeal spent answering questions about patient care.

500 multiple-choice questions pelted at me like paddles at a frat hazing party, each with clinical scenarios. I tore through several hours of 12 simulated patient cases, placing orders and doing virtual “exams” within the emergency department, the outpatient clinic, and in the inpatient wards. These were questions from nearly all of the specialties: a bit of opthalmology, dermatology, pediatrics, OB/GYN, lots of psychiatry, neurology, gastroenterology…suffice it to say, psychiatrists (like me) know quite a bit about the entire body and not just psychiatry cases. :-P

UC Davis: Future of telehealth (part 2)

Telehealth involves incorporating care beyond traditional clinics and hospitals, and into two more domains: (1) at home, (2) in the community. Thomas Nesbitt, MD MPH, at the University of California, Davis, spoke at UC Davis’s most recent monthly Health IT seminar covering the future of telehealth. I covered some of the questions concerning telehealth in my earlier post; here, I’ll cover some of the challenges he touched upon during his talk.

At home, telehealth can potentially manage chronic diseases better. We are used to seeing health professionals during sporadic one-time episodes. Care management models are migrating towards more frequent patient contact and regular physiologic management.

This can make things like managing hypertension more accurate. Some patients might forget to take their meds for awhile, so they “spiff themselves up” beforehand to make it appear as if they were more compliant before a doctor’s visit. Or perhaps they get “white coat hypertension,” becoming more nervous while in the doctor’s office.

Telehealth can instead monitor blood pressure on a more frequent basis to have a more accurate picture of a patient’s day-to-day blood pressure.

Sensors like this SecuraPatch Sensor can help track heart rate, respiration rate, falls, stress, skin temperature, activity, caloric burn, and even body posture. It’s nearly the size of a Band-Aid but does a whole lot more!


Projects from the VA in the mid-2000’s, dedicated medical devices and peripherals for iPhones (and, I hope, Android devices), and even pills with embedded chips (as previously covered by Stephen Colbert in Cheating Death) demonstrate how telehealth can work at home.

UC Davis: What is the future of telehealth? (part 1)

Numerous industry and economic changes are causing healthcare to incorporate telehealth and mobile health technologies. Thomas Nesbitt, MD MPH, at the University of California, Davis, spoke at our most recent monthly Health IT seminar covering the future of telehealth. He declared that the shortage of physicians, President Obama’s Affordable Care Act with its consequent increased demand for health services, and the Institute of Medicine’s focus on increasing healthcare quality.

We need more than just improvement...We need transformation.

As a result, there will be numerous transformations over the next few years: a focus on population health, treatment at home (versus institutions), integration of services, and increased usage of technology.

Putting together Health 2.0 Sacramento's inaugural kick-off

Last Wednesday, we hosted the Health 2.0 Sacramento’s inaugural kick-off to a crowd.

I couldn’t believe the energy in the room.

A few of my new friends in Sacramento and I put together a new group, Health 2.0 Sacramento, to bring together people interested in mobile devices, Internet technologies, and healthcare. With some generous financial support from Health 2.0’s Jennifer Lee, two amazingly talented speakers, one Costco run later with my sweetie, and the Hacker Lab co-working space, we put together the inaugural kick-off event in a few short weeks.

Keisuke Nakagawa talks about his non-profit, Global Health Bridge read more→

New meet-up group Health 2.0 Sacramento launches with end-of-March party

Hacker Lab I’m proud to announce that a group of talented inviduals — plus myself — have started a new volunteer-run group in Sacramento for people who are interested in the intersection of healthcare plus Internet and mobile technology. Keisuke Nakagawa (a UC Davis medical student who founded his own DC-based nonprofit that uses interactive voice tech to advance maternal-fetal health), Jay Sales (a leader at VSP Global’s innovation center), and Gabriela Lee (a leader at the NSF Center for Biophotonics) have banded with me to start this group. We thought that Sacramento needed a way to bring together all of these elements, especially since UC Davis is such a powerhouse in health informatics and is expanding into wireless devices for healthcare.

Eric Ullrich at the newly-founded Hacker Lab co-working space, plus support from Jennifer Lee at the larger Health 2.0 international group, and VSP Global, have helped get us off the ground. We’re indebted to them.

Why aren't medical systems more usable? Stanford medical informatics director on designing health IT systems

Ron Jiminez, MD speaks on health IT design

Ron Jimenez, MD, FAAP, one of Stanford Medicine’s medical informatics directors, brought together the concepts of usability, technology, and medicine at the monthly UC Davis Health Informatics Seminar. His goal: make Epic, one of the leading electronic medical record (EMR) system providers, usable for Stanford’s numerous clinics and hospitals.

Why is usability in medical records important?

Defender Sira video games

I miss pixel art!

It all started out with The Games Factory in 1997, when my parents gave that shiny box imported from the United Kingdom. I could make my own computer games! I set out to make a re-creation of the Commander Keen games, a popular PC arcade shooter created a decade ago.

I tried making things “opposite.” I put the scorebox on the right (in Keen, it was on the left). I made Sira a girl (Keen is a boy). And I gave Sira a health bar (Keen had only a handful of lives). read more→

GHHS Compassion Pen

This pen is mightiest: we distributed UCI Gold Humanism Honor Society’s National Solidarity Day pens promoting compassion on Singles Awareness Day at the UC Irvine Medical Center. Original credit idea of the pen comes from Laura Mosqueda, MD. Yes, even the colorful language. These pens proved to be extremely popular. — with Rachelle Lo, MD, February 2011 read more→

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