I have a bad feeling about this.
A friend sent me a video from a (relatively?) recent NBC report showing how the Smartphone may soon be used to speed medical diagnosis and lower overall costs. The report highlights Dr. Eric Topol, a Cardiologist and champion of wireless technologies that can replace expensive and time consuming lab procedures. He demonstrates apps and add-on equipment that convert a basic Smartphone into a medical monitoring device, and more.
For your convenience I have embedded the video below. It is just under 9 minutes long:
With these supplemental apps and equipment, your Smartphone can provide an instant Cardiogram. Dr. Topol claims the phone can also now be used to conduct “blood tests, saliva tests, urine tests, all kinds of things, sweat tests, through your phone”.
And you thought Google knew too much about you already…..
Topol also makes the claim, accurately I suspect, that this technology makes medical care much more personal, as the physician can discuss real time results with the patient as they come in – a much more interactive experience. This technology has real potential to lower costs and speed care for all, including those of us in the workers' compensation system.
However, as regular readers know, I have had issues with Siri, my personal iPhone assistant. She is known for steering me to seedy restaurants and telling me to get out of my car and take a hike in the woods. Now I am going to be expected to sit idly by while she takes responsibility for monitoring my bodily functions and diagnosing appropriate health care for me? I am not sure I want her performing my next prostate exam. It's not only that I don't trust her judgment. I have to put that thing against my face several times a day.
When my HMO gets wind of this, I'm screwed.
This could just mean more ample opportunities for this less than competent assistant to mess with me. I could soon find myself over medicated for a non-existent condition, or on the business end of an unnecessary barium enema. I can't trust her to get me to the right side of an airport, for God's sake. How do I know she will be able to monitor and diagnose my vascular system or oxygen intake?
At any rate, Dr. Topol is on to something. I've written in the past that mobile, wireless technology will drastically alter the way we live. Now we have actual proof and process showing where we are headed on the frontiers of medicine. Properly utilized, this could speed care and lower costs, while making the patient a more active participant in their own care.
And Siri best be careful how she chooses to participate. I noted earlier Dr. Topol indicated that these devices could be used to conduct urine tests. I don't know how that would be done, but I have a picture in my mind. If Siri doesn't behave, we may have to undergo that urine test after all.
This will not end well for her…..