This morning I had the pleasure of keynoting the opening session at the Medical Records Institute's National Conference on m-Health (mobile) and EOE in San Diego. Qualcomm VP Don Jones preceded me at the podium with a presentation titled "The Momentous Impact of Mobile Technologies on Healthcare". Don picked up on a theme I've written about in previous Blog postings and in articles on http://www.microsoft.com/healthcare; that of the ubiquitous cell phone as an emerging platform for medical devices. The cell phone, and particularly Smartphones running Windows Mobile, may be the perfect platform for applications such as remote medical monitoring, home screening tests, "lite" telemedicine visits, medication management, patient education and more. Already, a number of medical device manufacturers and cell phone companies (mostly outside the US) have joined forces to develop and pilot various kinds of applications using specially configured cell phones, services and Bluetooth enabled physiological sensors as blood glucose meters, cardiac monitors, sleep apnea detectors, exercise and dietary intake monitors, peak flow meters for asthma management, cuff-less blood pressure monitors for hypertension screening, medication management dispensers, etc. All of this holds great promise for innovative disease management programs, health promotion and medical screening applications. The market for these future applications is being driven by innovations in the entertainment and financial industries. Music and video on cell phones is already yesterday's news. Overseas, the cell phone is increasingly being used as an "electronic wallet" for purchasing everything from fast food to movie tickets. Mass consumer adoption of Smartphones and similar devices will ultimately drive greater market opportunities in healthcare.
Software developers should take note of the tremendous potential for cell phones/Smartphones in healthcare. Government and insurers should be thinking about reimbursement mechanisms for the kinds of healthcare services these devices will enable. Consumers should take delight in what these devices may mean to the future of healthcare delivery.
What do you think? Let us know.
Bill Crounse, M.D., Healthcare Industry Director, Microsoft Healthcare and Life Sciences