Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Smartphone Medicine 2014

"Our smartphones are destined to become our prime medical advisers.... we will only turn to our doctors for refuge."

It is the new year and the TV and newspapers are full of 2013 year-in-reviews and 2014 predictions. 

Below is an excerpt from a New York Times article this week in the Technology/Innovations section that caught my eye - it is entitled '2013 was a more amazing year than you think'. 

"Technology is improving health care.

Quantified Self devices such as Fitbit and Nike Fuelband are becoming widely available. You even see these on the shelves of Apple Stores. Companies are running contests using these devices to encourage employees to get more exercise. Smartphone add-ons such as the Alivecor heart monitor are being prescribed by doctors. Interestingly, Apple recently patented a heart monitor sensor for the iPhone. Our smartphones are destined to become our prime medical advisers. I expect they will one day chide us to get more exercise, drink less alcohol and watch our calorie intake. They will tell us when we are about to get sick and which medicines to take. We will only turn to our doctors for refuge."

I know for me and my family, the Fitbit has become part of our life (yes, after my Fitbit Fun last summer, my wife and son are now on-board so we can all have a friendly competition for the  greatest number of steps each week (and of course, 'there is an app for that' so we get daily updates whether we met our personal goal and who is in first place).

This NY Times story exemplifies how rapidly technology for healthcare is changing the manner in which we deliver care. This is also why MHRI is investing in Health Services Research (research on the delivery of healthcare), with particular focuses on patient safety, quality, telemedicine and outcomes.

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