Researchers in Canada are studying whether the use of BlackBerries to transmit real-time health information can boost the treatment of patients with chronic conditions, the Montreal Gazette reports.
Under the study, 120 patients with chronic conditions use BlackBerries to answer a daily set of questions. Participants' answers are then transmitted to a computer tracking system monitored by a nurse. If patients report symptom changes, the computer system automatically flags the results and alerts a nurse, the Gazette reports.
Richard Scott, a founding member of the Canadian Society of Telehealth and a professor at the University of Calgary, said the use of cell phones and other wireless devices as a supplement to traditional health care is increasing in Canada. He noted that one of the study's biggest challenges is ensuring that seniors and others who are unfamiliar with computers can use the BlackBerries.
The $500,000 study is being conducted in conjunction with scientists in Great Britain and Sweden (Huber, Montreal Gazette, 11/7).