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Sunday, 3 May 2009

Mobile Pearls Vol IV: Mobile healthcare edition

This particular mobile pearl will be a bit different as I focus on mobile healthcare. I think mobile has the potential to advance healthcare, more so than the Web. Specifically, in the area of alerts, monitoring and doctor-patient communications, mobile healthcare can made a real difference.

First off, some interesting numbers. The following chart from O'Reilly has been passed around the Web. What is neglected is that medicine applications is the third highest growth category, behind books and travel. This of course may stem from the low base of medical applications but it is an encouraging sign nevertheless of growing demand.

Mobile monitoring

Our phones is a sensor to the world. It is also a device that we carry around everywhere, making it a perfect solution for health monitoring. Some interesting applications are emerging in this area.

-Radiation Passport
The purpose of Radiation Passport is to educate about the radiation and cancer risks associated with medical imaging exams and procedures that physicians (and dentists) want you to undergo, to keep track of radiology and imaging-related exams and procedures, and to provide an estimate of risk of developing cancer because of this radiation.

-Ultrasound imaging with mobile
Computer engineers at Washington University in St. Louis are bringing the minimalist approach to medical care and computing by coupling USB-based ultrasound probe technology with a smartphone, enabling a compact, mobile computational platform and a medical imaging device that fits in the palm of a hand.

-Phone-based diabetes monitoring system
(There is) 21 million Americans currently living with diabetes, the 54 million “pre-diabetic” Americans and the estimate that one out of every three people born in the U.S. after 2000 will develop diabetes. With a mere 2,500 practicing diabetologists in the U.S... traditional care will fail to support all of these patients and a disruptive, paradigm-shifting mobile solution will be more effective.

Mobile alerts
Being a medium that is always on 24/7, mobile can help patients and doctors to be informed and connected on a real time basis. Doctors could receive alerts about drug recalls, studies, disease outbreaks and changes in the status of patients. More patients could receive digital reminders to make appointments, do routine self-exams, refill medications.

Improving doctor-patient communications

Mobile in a communication device. Leveraging on that to create better interfaces between doctors and patients is a natural next step to improving doctor-patient relationship. The key to next generation health is prevention, not better medicine. This can only come when there is regular and relevant communication between doctors and patients.

It's a fast and easy way to bring together consumers, world-class health content, medical resources and expert advice for an improved healthcare experience.

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