SMARTPHONES AS ‘POCKET’ DOCTORS

With the recent breakout of diseases around the world, it has been inferred that we just might be short-changing ourselves by ignoring the use of a powerful weapon, our smartphone. This inference was made by Eric Topol, a professor of genomics at the Scripps Research Institute in California.

According to him, “Most communicable diseases can be diagnosed with a smartphone. Rather than putting people into quarantine for three weeks – how about seeing if they harbour it in their blood?”

At present, smartphones are already being used to ease some medical issues, like the detection and diagnosis of Parkinson disease, skin cancer and any communicable disease. Through the use of specially developed smartphone applications, people are now able to record heart beats, blood pressure, sugar level, check their skin for cancer amongst other things. Take Parkinson disease for instance, through the recording of speech and movement, using your smartphone, the information gathered can be analysed and used to detect and diagnose the disease much earlier and more accurately. In Britain for instance, researchers have revealed that they have been able to distinguish patients with Parkinson disease almost 100% more accurately.

Close up view of stetoscope on digital tabletWith the use of smartphones, patients can already do without some unpleasant aspects of being ill like long hospital visits and having to wait long hours for treatment; as these can now be done using a smartphone. Our phones have incredible ability to provide insights into our lives. “The smartphone travels around with us everywhere. From it you can know when they are getting out of the house, how ambulatory they are or the speed they are moving through the world. And it’s often the last thing you touch when you go to sleep and first thing you touch when you are awake – so it tells you about sleep patterns”, says Deborah Estrin, co-founder of Open mHealth – a non-profit organisation that aims to transform the way that personal and digital data is used in medicine.

In fact, it’s been said that smartphones can be used for the tracking and early detection of Ebola. For instance, according to Estrin, using the location data recorded by most smartphones, one can track places infectious people have been and who they have contacted. And since this data is stored on the smartphone, the findings can easily be uploaded to a central database to track the spread of the disease, which in turn could help to issue early warnings and prevent further spread.

 

Posted on November 13, 2014, in WHATis2COME and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Wow! This is mind blowing! I can testify that my smartphone got me through my pregnancy, without the panic and anxiety, as I easily googled any issues I was concerned about, and received education through babycentre.com and other sites! Now, any thing I might be worried about medically, it’s my first place for answers!!! But I never thought about it in the sense of how well my phone knows ME and my habits and patterns. Amazing insight! Thanks for sharing, sir!

  2. Thanks for reading Ufoma. Stay connected

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