I’ve run into so many amazing examples of how technology – mostly wireless technology – is making health care better and easier. I wanted to share a few examples. Partially I just think it’s a great example of why improved broadband to all areas (emphasis on all areas) will eventually pay off in terms of providing better, cheaper health care services to everyone. Also it helps make the case that there will always be a place for wireless access. We’ll need fiber to the towers to support some of these applications – but not all; some applications are narrowband applications. Finally some of these are good examples of innovation born of necessity.
Last month I learned about how a 3-minute phone call could help diagnose Parkinson’s. The idea is that as Parkinson’s leaves your body shaky, it also affects your voice. So a quick phone call may be all it takes to diagnose the disease – amazing considering there are no known biomarks for Parkinson’s. The process is still in theory – and going through testing right now – but the results have been accurate. (A quick aside, you can help with testing by making a 3-minute phone call to be part of their study.)
Working on a project in remote Southwest Alaska, I had a good excuse to look into mHealth applications – mobile health applications, especially applications in emerging communities, such as Rwanda. Here are two examples:
CelloPhone is a revolutionary diagnostic tool that will be able to perform basic diagnostics such as Complete Blood Count, diagnosis of Malaria and TB, and CD4 T Lymphocyte count on the back of a camera phone. The device utilizes a new imaging technique called LUCAS that can take cellular-level images of blood or other liquids without complex lens systems or microscope hardware.
PatientView is a simple and easy-to-use electronic medical record system (EMR) targeting small clinics or single departments that have little support from professional IT staff. Many of these clinics are currently using paper medical records and would benefit from the improved efficiency and reliability of an EMR, but do not have the technical staff to maintain a large, complex EMR. To address this problem, PatientView was designed to be easy to set up, easy to maintain, and easy to use. Beyond simplicity and usability, PatientView has many mobile features that are useful when working with health workers in the field, like the ability to coordinate SMS to and from the workers, accept forms submitted on mobile phones, and more.
I think it’s worth noting that most of these applications are run on low end cell phones. And many of the applications both help serve the patients at hand but also aggregate medical information to create a wider view of what’s happening from a public health stand point.
Today I read about a program where smartphones can be used to diagnose eye ailments…
Smartphones could help emergency department doctors quickly diagnose eye-related conditions, according to a new study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, Reuters reports (Pittman, Reuters, 7/11). …
According to the study, reviewers consistently rated the iPhone images as the same or higher quality compared with the same images viewed on the desktop computer. …
The findings suggest that the use of smartphones could allow ophthalmologists to remotely diagnose eye conditions and develop treatment plans (Reuters, 7/11).