Digital Medicine

Today, all the physiological data monitored in a hospital intensive-care unit — including ECG, blood pressure, pulse, oxygenation, sugar level, breathing rate and body temperature — can be recorded and analyzed continuously in real time on a smartphone. A small piece of hardware, either the size of a cellphone, or one integrated with a cellphone, held against your body, functions as an ultrasound device. It can deliver information instantly to you or anyone you designate, and the information rivals that collected in a physician’s office or hospital setting. It can do so when you are experiencing specific symptoms — no appointment necessary — and at virtually no additional cost.

Smartphones-and-EMRThanks to more than 20 Silicon Valley startups and advances in microfluidic technology, smartphones will soon be able to function as a mobile, real-time resource for rapidly obtaining all the studies done currently in a medical laboratory, including chemistries, blood values and microbiological studies. A device worn on the wrist, called Visi, has been approved by the FDA for hospital use that can measure your heart’s electrical activity, respiratory rate, blood oxygen and blood pressure (without a cuff), and transmit the data wirelessly. Many other such devices are coming out that could be used by patients in their own homes. (WSJ)

Comments (16)

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  1. Trent says:

    Just go ahead and plug us into Skynet!

  2. Lucas says:

    “A device worn on the wrist, called Visi, has been approved by the FDA for hospital use that can measure your heart’s electrical activity, respiratory rate, blood oxygen and blood pressure (without a cuff), and transmit the data wirelessly.”

    I wouldn’t mind this if it was personal use only. I should be able to monitor my levels without sending signals to a Doctor.

  3. Wally says:

    “Today an individual can feed a test strip into a device (there are a number of them) that—once connected to a smartphone equipped with an app—can carry out a complete urinalysis and instantly give the individual his or her specific gravity, pH, and levels of glucose, protein, red blood cells, white blood cells, bilirubin, nitrates—and even tell a woman if she is pregnant by measuring her HCG hormone.”

    Someone out there will pee on an Iphone. I guarantee it.

  4. Barnes says:

    I advocate such revolution. Living in a age of Big Data, everything is related to cell phone.

  5. Thomas says:

    As forward thinking and imminent as this seems, the majority of people who require the majority of healthcare will have no clue how to use their smartphone as an avatar physician

  6. Jay says:

    “prevention is the mantra and driving force. Welcome to the world of digital medicine.”

    Sign me up!

  7. Jesse P says:

    Technology’s potential has no boundaries. It has made our life easier in different aspects. Information is traveling faster thanks to technology and if we apply that to medicine it would benefit us all. If we can have a diagnosis in matter of days, it would be much better than what we have right now. It takes too long to receive treatment, thus people are reactive. Instead of seeking help when healthy, they wait until the symptoms are worse and they have tried all the alternatives. A proactive approach to healthcare will improve the system and will significantly decrease the costs.

  8. Johnny S says:

    In the future an apparatus that diagnose your symptoms will be as common in households as TVs, computers and refrigerators. I think The Jetsons had something similar to this. Visits to the hospitals will be limited to actual diseases that require medical attention. Not minor sickness that can be handled with over the counter medicine.

    • Kenny Y says:

      Such apparatus will affect the doctors and other health practitioners. Probably that is one of the reasons why it hasn’t been invented yet. Many in the health care industry feel entitled to be better than the rest because they went through a rigorous and expensive education (Med School and others). Most will oppose anything that might take their entitlement away.

    • Sarah says:

      “Visits to the hospitals will be limited to actual diseases that require medical attention. Not minor sickness that can be handled with over the counter medicine.”

      We can bring this on with consumer directed health care and HSAs, etc.