|A doctor in every pocket|
|Written by Richard Watson|
|Saturday, 16 June 2012 22:40|
Despite developments in home-based monitoring, most healthcare is still procured inside hospitals, clinics and other medical premises. One way this may change in the future is the delivery of healthcare via mobile phones. As with most 'futurist' predictions, this one is happening in a small way already.
LG sells a phone equipped with a blood-glucose meter to diabetics in its home market of South Korea, while in the US, My-Food-Phone helps patients with high cholesterol levels to monitor their diet. Patients simply take photographs of their week's meals with their phone (easier than writing it down in a food diary) and email the pictures to a nutritionist who sends a weekly critique of their food choices. Over in the UK there's a trial starting next year whereby patients will wear a small plaster on their arm to monitor vital signs such as their heartbeat. Data is sent to the user's mobile phone (via bluetooth), which is then sent to their doctor for analysis. Any irregularity can immediately trigger an alarm.
There's even a system in South Africa (SIMpill) where patients (or their carer) are sent a text message if they fail to open a bottle of pills - because the cap of the bottle is connected to the phone which in turn is connected to the hospital's computer. The market for telemedicine is predicted to grow by an annual rate of 42% to 2011 according to a report by Frost & Sullivan. However, it's in places like central Africa that such 'telemedicine' could really deliver widespread benefits. In Africa and India more people have mobile phones than landline connections and the mobile will be the only computer most ordinary people will ever own.
Ref: The Economist (UK) 17 September 2005, 'The doctor in your pocket'. www.economist.com See also Pictures of The Future (Siemens magazine) Spring 2005 issue, 'Remote Services: Telemedicine'.
|Last Updated on Saturday, 14 July 2012 22:36|