Cell phone technology can help boost health care delivery, according to researchers, the Boston Globe reports.
Cell phone cameras can be used to help diagnose diseases, wireless technology can link specialists to emergency responders and text messages can remind patients to take medicine and measure compliance.
Cell Phone Camera
George Whitesides, a Harvard University chemist, co-authored a study in this month's journal Analytical Chemistry in which a simple camera phone was used as a diagnostic tool. Researchers at Harvard and in Brazil were able to successfully evaluate a strip of paper sensitive to levels of glucose and protein commonly used to diagnose kidney diseases using a cell phone photo.
Whitesides said cell phones can help bring expert medical opinions and tools that are typically only available at well-equipped health care facilities into the field.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Nokia Research Center Cambridge are using existing wireless networks to create technology that could connect specialists and emergency responders.
Specialists could use the technology to guide emergency responders in beginning a course or treatment or to prepare for when the ambulance arrives. The researchers hope to launch a field trial of the technology this year.
Last month, Verizon Wireless announced plans to offer a service, called Pill Phone, that would allow people to access drug interaction information over their phone and schedule medication reminders.
Researchers at the Center for Connected Health in Boston and area hospitals sent daily text messages to dermatology patients informing them of the weather and reminding them to apply sunscreen. In addition, a special monitoring cap for sunscreen sends a time-stamped text message to a database every time the tube is opened to measure compliance.
Meanwhile, SexInfo, a sexual health hotline targeted at teens in San Francisco, lets teens locate clinics and basic information by sending text messages (Johnson, Boston Globe, 5/18).