We are living in the digital world which is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact technology development is rampant as ever as evidenced in the article ‘Dr Smartphone and the digital health revolution’. A passenger onboard a flight lost consciousness and a doctor by the name of Eric Topol was able to use his smartphone to perform an electrocardiogram (ECG), and also measure oxygen levels in his blood.
What is most fascinating about this article is the fact that the digital world is making what would seem intangible for most, tangible. You or I, who may not be medically qualified by any means, have the ability to perform this ECG through the simple use of an app and a $200 sensor.
The ease and functionality that the smartphone is playing in today’s society is tenfold and is set to revolutionise the healthcare industry. As explored throughout the article, smartphones today can perform and measure ‘electrical activity in the brain, intraocular pressure, blood pressure, ECG’s, recognise atrial fibrillation, perform breathalysers’ just to name a few.
Furthermore, research and developments are being carried out around the world, such as in Germany where a university is testing Alzheimer’s diagnosis on a phone program. And in Israel where the composition of a pill can be identified. It is called SCIO, ‘the first smartphone app for mass spectrometry’.
The digital shift has given and is giving many industries a run for their money and has created competition. Take the traditional form of media in newspapers for example, powerful news companies have had to structure themselves accordingly in line with the culture shift to preferred online means.
The same now can be seen in the medical profession, doctors may find in the future that patients will have options of performing their own medical diagnosis in the comfort of their own home as opposed to coming to the local centre. Midwives may also benefit substantially from the smartphone insurgence, performing ‘a scan on site’ and sending the results to a gynaecologist for example.
Whilst the future of digital medicine is fast evolving, one thing is for sure, that the medical profession is going to change at the hands of technology. Whether it is facilitating doctors or becoming a cheaper and faster alternate for patients, Stay Tuned.
- 2017 Der Spiegel. Distributed by the New York Times syndication services.