There are many inventions developed every day. Most of them are useless or would have limited application in real life. While these may seem “cool”, they will not make a dramatic impact in our lives. Out of the rough though, a few gems could always be found that could really lead to breakthroughs.
Last year in 2011, one of the most important innovations was an i-phone app that could let a patient monitor his own health signs. Although not yet commercially ready, this could have widespread implications for the field of healthcare.
Traditionally if you needed a checkup, you would have to book an appointment with your doctor. For people with conditions like high cholesterol or high blood pressure, this could mean going once every month or more. These visits could be inconvenient for the patient and can easily fill up a doctor’s schedule. With a shortage of doctors these days, relieving some of this workload would probably be welcome. These new apps in development would allow patients to self-monitor these things on almost an instant basis and could relay these changes back to a physician to help catch diseases before they happen. They would function well as early warning signals telling the patients if irregularities in their bodies were happening so they could take precautionary measures or head to the nearest hospital before something actually happens. This type of tracking and feedback could save millions of dollars and lives each year.
The mobile apps, however, go even deeper than that. In later versions they will be able to take feeds of a patient’s genetic data and analyze and incorporate them into the apps to determine if a person has a higher risk of developing certain conditions and then based on that, make lifestyle suggestions that may prevent or delay the onset of disease. Even farther out, these apps could design a lifestyle for people that incorporates all of this so that person can live a healthier and longer life. While it has not been revealed how much these mobile apps will cost, many are leaning towards a subscription-based model that would be cheaper than frequent trips to the doctor’s office, especially for those with either no medical coverage or poor medical coverage. In the future, your mobile phone will become your own portable health assistant telling you how much you should exercise, and giving you diet suggestions for you to stay healthy and avoid illness. It will become an indispensable part of the integration between digital technology and personalized medical healthcare that will revolutionize the industry in the near future by not only telling the patient how to live their lives in a healthier way, but also warning and updating doctors with a patient’s latest vitals so the doctor can prepare for situations long before they happen. These mobile apps that are soon to come could be just as big for medical field as the development of strong vaccines were over a century ago and could fundamentally change the way we view “personalized healthcare”.