Smartphones Can Save Lives and Healthcare Dollars

 

Digital technology has changed our social lives; now, according to cardiologist Dr. Eric J. Topol, our health is next. Topol is a leading expert in wireless medicine – digital technology with the potential to make healthcare more efficient and patient-centered.

Enter the smartphone: “We’re all essentially surgically connected to our smartphones, and we’re still in the early stages of realizing their medical potential,” Topol recently told the Wall Street Journal.

In an earlier report, Topol describes the day when apps will replace the majority of prescriptions, and remote monitoring will become commonplace. Digital technology will save the healthcare system millions of dollars by reducing the number of diagnostic tests and doctors visits, and consumers will take control of their own health through the use of their devices.

That future is now. Topol himself uses an app, recently approved by the FDA, to perform cardiograms, and the consumer-focused UP system – a data-monitoring bracelet and iPhone app – tracks information such as sleep patterns and physical activity, and provides feedback so wearers can improve their results.

In Topol’s healthcare future, your body will be in a state of constant monitoring to provide, for example, warnings of heart attacks or strokes before they occur, allowing for proactive treatment.

This medical revolution may take a while, however. As Topol points out in the Wall Street Journal article: “The average time it takes for a significant innovation to become standard clinical practice is 17 years.”

For the healthcare system and health consumers, that time can’t come too soon.