New Smartphone Sensors Can Aid Healthcare & Generate All Important Data

Thanks to technology that includes smart meters and home area networks, a huge amount of data is being generated on a daily basis.  In fact, research from McKinsey discovered that an average business with over 1000 employees has already stored more data than the information contained in the Library of Congress (which coincidentally contains twenty-five terabytes of information). Moreover, the volume of stored information is expected to increase forty-four times by 2020 – according to reports from IDC.


Within the healthcare realm, one of the areas that will generate a significant amount of information in the future is the use of sensors.  Why sensors?  Well, many times doctors are unable to get necessary data from patients.  For instance, many patients become lax when it comes to recording their blood pressure readings and/or glucose readings on a regular basis.


Smartphone-Based Medical Sensors

In a comparatively short time period, smartphones have become extremely popular among consumers of all ages around the world. As smartphones and related technology becomes increasingly more sophisticated, smartphones with embedded sensors are becoming a reality. For example, many smartphone apps utilise smartphone-based sensors to determine jogging distance, speed, the route, and even the number of steps an individual takes along his or her jogging route.  More specifically, the Convertis PiiX  can measure heart rate, respiratory rate, posture, activity level and so much more.


A wireless sensor called AliveCor Heart Monitor was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.  This interesting piece of technology can currently be prescribed by doctors and works by simply connecting it to a smartphone.  Then, when an individual touches two sensors on the device, it can produce and record a reliable electrocardiogram.  Further, this electrocardiogram can be transmitted to doctors in real-time.  Without a doubt, this product will come in handy for at-risk individuals.


Should People Embrace this Technology?

That said, the Food and Drug Administration is still cautious about this type of technology.  For example, they expressed concern that the data given on the smartphones to patients and their doctors may be inaccurate information.  Fortunately today, the processors used in smartphones are incredibly powerful and can minimize these types of worries.  In fact, the newest smartphones are definitely comparable to small handheld computers since they are so powerful and capable of many tasks.


As more and more of these types of devices are being introduced to individuals and medical professionals, it will not be long before there are applications and devices that could possibly monitor the health of people on a constant basis and in turn, let doctors know if there are any causes for concern.  Moreover, as mentioned earlier, this type of technology will generate more data which in turn can be analysed to further prevent and best treat diseases in the future.

-Larisa Redins

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