Smartphones in TeleMedicine April 24 2014

Telemedicine, the practice of remotely conferencing with a physician over electronic communications, is becoming extremely popular. The benefits are many, such as not having to leave the house, getting instant treatment, and always having treatment available. The biggest issue facing telemedicine is not having enough patient data to make a diagnosis. Sure, connected medical devices are becoming more and more popular, but a Midmark iqVitals is not going to show up in too many American homes any time soon! The solution to this issue is to use a device that people do have common access to, and extend it so that it can serve the purpose of the equipment needed. The logical choice of device to fit this role, for many Americans, is the smartphone.

The concept of a smartphone powered doctor’s appointment isn’t all that far off. It sounds far-fetched, but there are people out there working towards this goal, and the things they are coming up with are downright fascinating.Midmark iqVitals

For instance, StethIO can record a patient’s heartbeat, using a special attachment that directs sound from a diaphragm to a smartphone’s microphone. The data is interpreted by a companion app, which can make a visual representation of the sound for a telemedicine provider to interpret. The AliveCor is a similar device that can also take a full ECG. The Withings BP Monitor is a blood pressure cuff that interfaces with your phone via Bluetooth, that can automatically take your blood pressure reading, and interpret it using a companion app. It can even send that info off to your telemedicine provider. The Cellscope is an attachment for your smartphone that turns your phone camera into an otoscope that can take pictures of the ear canal, then may be sent to your doctor.

There are also attachments that are more specialized. For instance, ophthalmologists are already using the Welch Allyn iExaminer, which is an iPhone attachment that when paired with the Welch Allyn PanOptic Ophthalmoscope, allows you to take and send pictures of the patients eye directly from your phone.

With technology advancing as fast as it is, TeleMedicine is becoming more popular and more and more smartphones are making their way into medical practices across the country.