Posts Tagged ‘Open mHealth’

What’s Real In Personalized Mobile Healthcare

rsz_rxNews came this week that a man accused of defrauding a financial group out of close to a million dollars around an investment in a fictional mobile medical device tablet is scheduled to sign a plea agreement admitting that he committed mail fraud. The man, Howard Leventhal, had been promoting the Star Trek-influenced McCoy Home Health Care Tablet as a device that can instantaneously deliver detailed patient information to medical providers. (The product is discussed on the company’s still-surviving web site here.) He was arrested for the fraud in October and has been out on bail.

The interesting thing about this case is that the fake he was perpetrating isn’t very far removed from reality regarding the role mobile apps and systems will play in healthcare. There of course are plenty of mobile apps already available that help users do everything from monitoring their hearts to recording their blood-oxygen level during the night to see whether they have sleep apnea. Research and Markets, for example, says the wireless health market currently will grow to nearly $60 billion by 2018, up from $23.8 billion, with remote patient monitoring applications and diagnostics helping to drive the growth. But where things really get interesting is when mobile health takes on questions of semantic interoperability of accumulated data, and assessing its meaning.

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Making Captured Data Meaningful In the Age of Mobile, Participatory Health

There’s a new term in town: Participatory mHealth. As defined by Deborah Estrin, Professor of Computer Science at CornellNYC Tech and co-founder of Open mHealth, it “is taking what was previously unmeasured and uncaptured behavior – [things] that were previously ephemeral — and turn that into data.” Such information can be as valuable to treating conditions as is data collected by the instruments and diagnostics tools in formal health care settings, and perhaps can be a more reliable indicator of how a person’s health really is faring than their response to a doctor’s question at exam time. Those answers, after all, can be influenced by so many things – how they’re feeling that morning, for instance, vs. how they’ve generally felt since the last time they spoke to their healthcare provider.

With so many people today in possession of a smart phone with built-in GPS capabilities, there’s a new opportunity to capture so much data about what individuals do – especially those with chronic conditions – as well as the distance parameters related to where they’re doing it, the times they set out for an activity, how they’re feeling at various times during the day, and a whole lot more. “Chronic disease in some ways is the killer app for this kind of mobile health technology,” Estrin noted, since most of the care for dealing with chronic conditions occurs outside the clinical setting.

The capture is the easy part, says Estrin – much of it can be automated or be entered via a simple click, for instance. “The heavy lifting is in the analysis, in fusing and pulling out what is interesting from those data streams,” Estrin told an audience at the Semantic Technology & Business Conference in New York City on Wednesday.

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