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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Vital signs collected and transmitted by your cellphone!

Researchers in Edmonton, Alberta are teaming up with cellphone maker LG Electronics to test a new device that can detect a patients temperature, pulse, and blood pressure and transmit the data via cellphone. Plans are to build the device into a cellphone and include further vital signs such as glucose levels and other blood chemistry readings. According to the CBC, "the device could help people with conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, that require frequent home-care monitoring, as well as seniors or patients who live in rural areas." The Province of Alberta is committing $1.5 million to the joint project by LG, Capital Health and the University of Alberta. It just makes good sense to collect this data at home using a single device and the infrastructure that is now in place to support it. The only negative that I see in the remote monitoring of patients is the inability to see physical changes in those being monitored, in particular the elderly. I'm sure regular visits to or by a health professional are also part of the program, it would be a mistake to rely completely on the technology... in my mind.