By Nahum Gershon and Michael Ackermann
Consumer Technology Meets Health Care – Promises and Challenges
Mobile health technology has come a long way since the days when devices were often untested, had a small number of capabilities and were of questionable quality. Current and future mobile devices are expected to revolutionize health care through their use in mobile health. Mobile health technology enables patients in remote places and the inner city to get the health care they quickly need. It also enables everybody to get at home treatment without visiting a health practitioner. This will lead to fewer in-office visits and shorter hospital stays as a patient’s treatment and rehabilitation can be monitored from home by the physician or practitioner. As an added benefit, data concerning the encounter will be captured and included in the patient’s medical record automatically. This disruptive technology promises to revolutionize the existing model of the interaction of patients with the healthcare system.
As in any emerging field, there are challenges. Can the accuracy of medical sensors be maintained in a non-medical environment? Can patients be taught to properly replace their worn sensors? Can one sensor do the job or will a system of sensors be needed? How often should the device provide a warning without inappropriately interrupting the patients’ life and work, causing anxiety and confusion? Will these devices affect the quality of the human interaction of the patients with their health providers? What are the cyber security (personal and national) and privacy and legal issues associated with these devices? How are devices and systems that function accurately and efficiently across diverse populations (e.g., gender, physical or social qualities, income) and locations designed? These are some of the topics and questions that are discussed in this Special Issue on “Consumer Technology Meets Health Care – Promises and Challenges” of the Newsletter of the IEEE Life Sciences Technical Community (LSTC).
In this issue we convened experts from health, consumer technology, medical instrumentation, telemedicine, engineering, science, and other areas to discuss the present and the future of using consumer technology in health care and ways to address the various issues with the use of these technologies.
Teaching & Technology Innovators