Dr. Dennis Ausiello, Director of the Center for Assessment Technology and Continuous Health (CATCH) at Massachusetts General Hospital, says the smartphone is “the greatest medical device ever made”. (Click here to learn more).
And of course it is true. The smartphone can be the point of convergence for all information related to a patient’s health. It can track physical activity, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, sleep patterns, cognitive ability, dexterity – the list goes on. Some of this information may be useful enough on its own but the greatest impact and value of this information lies in tying it to information from other external sources such as patient records, medical information repositories, knowledge management systems etc.
Combining the data from the smartphone with the external data can help in providing a 360 degree contextual view of a patient’s health information. Mobile apps can be built to identify patterns , draw inferences and essentially pull all the data together and present it to the patient in engaging and impactful ways.
What makes the smartphone different from a web portal which also tracks and presents health data is that the smartphone is very close to the patient – both literally and figuratively. It gathers patient data automatically, without the need for the patient to manually measure and provide this data. It also provides instant access to information anytime, anywhere. It can even be proactive and push out alerts and notifications to users to remind them to take steps to manage their health.
A whole new era in smart health management has opened up and there are a number of ways to make use of smartphones and mobile apps in digital health.
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