Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Smart Phone As a Medical Device

The Georgetown Advocate
Webster Russell

In a recent Wall Street Journal article Rolfe Winkler wrote that the iPhone "...really isn't so much a handset as it is a computer with software that makes calls and plays music, offers games, gives directions, takes photos, and provides web access..." The one thing he left out is it can also serve as a medical device.

To prove my point let me go back into the weeds for a moment. As of March of this year there was 106 million smart phone users in the US. Of that number approximately 684,000 smartphone users were physicians and more than 255,000 physicians carry tablets for their medical practice. Those kind of numbers incentivize software developers to the make the smart phone another part of medicine's arsenal.

There isn't enough space for me to outline every use I have found so I will mention just a few.

Rural hospitals, through an adapter created by UCLA, can turn a smart phone into a microscope for an off site pathologist to evaluate tissue and blood slides.

Then there is the blood glucose meter that attaches to iPhones or iPods for diabetes monitoring. The app acquires and displays the data for patient or physician use.

Using the iPhone's microphone or camera flash, there's an app that calculates a users' average pulse, stores and displays it.

The iHealth Wireless Blood Pressure Wrist Monitor, expected on the market in soon, will measure and track your systolic/diastolic numbers, heart rate, pulse wave and measurement time. The data can be captured by the company's app, stored,displayed and available for sharing with your physician.

AliveCor Heart Monitor has developed an electrode-studded smartphone case that turns the iPhone 4 into an EKG device which users place on their chests to detect irregular heart rhythms. Combined with the app, the monitor can analyze, transmit and store an ECG reading for their doctor's evaluation.

San Francisco-based CellScope's is developing an otoscope which attaches to a smartphone's camera lens which enables parents to photograph their child's eardrum, then e-mail the images to their physician who can check them for an ear infection.

Then of course there are apps like Web MD, nutrition apps such as Live Strong or Tap Track, patient oriented medication apps such as Micromedex, and patient oriented education apps like TED and iTunes U.

These are but a very few of the many health related apps on the market, so if you have a smart phone check them out, many are free.

- Posted using from my iPad HD

Location:Georgetown TX,United States

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