Can smartphones revolutionise healthcare?

Our health should be top of the list when it comes to priorities, but can the devices in our pockets help keep us in check?
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Can smartphones revolutionise healthcare?

Are wearables the future of the patient welfare?

As it’s men’s health week, we’re asking the big questions. What if hospital waiting times were a thing of the past? What if your GP could nail a diagnosis in seconds without you ever having to go under the knife? What if doctors were only there to treat, instead of diagnose?

These are but a few of the hot topics being raised by the tech world, and with the latest smartphones and a few handy attachments, it’s all possible.

Would it be possible?

It may still seem a little sci-fi-esque, but a handful of high-end phones and smartwatches have a lot of sensors on board that can track the likes of blood pressure, glucose levels, blood oxygen, heart rhythm, lung function and even mood.

Looking forward, simple smartphone attachments are in the pipeline that could take a single drop of blood and analyse chemistries, electrolytes, platelet counts and liver, kidney and thyroid functions.

With so much data being collected so quickly, it all might seem a bit daunting. But smartphone apps will be able to take the stress out of analysing all the information so you get a simple and digestible set of results.

It’s not that hard to imagine a future where all this information will be sent to a cloud service, where computers can learn from the data of millions of people. We pretty much do it already with our Word documents and spreadsheets, so why not medical information?

With advanced cloud computing, your phone could ping you a notification about a potential medical issue before you even notice the symptoms.

And when your phone does recommend you seek medical attention, doctors won’t need to spend half an hour trying to figure out what sort of pain you’re in. Instead, they’ll look through all your phone’s data to find out what’s the wrong with you.

Putting your trust in the machines

It might sound scary to entrust your health to a faceless gadget, but biometric sensors like heart rate monitors and iris and fingerprint scanners are all already parts of the smartphones we use today. The question is: how long will it be before we can use our mobiles for the likes of ultrasound scans?

Got any questions? Drop us a comment below.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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