This month’s iPhone X launch comes a full decade after the iPhone’s original debut and harkens back to its first release in 2007. Like the original, the X is priced much higher ($999 for 64GB and $1,149 for the 256 GB model) than the average phone available today; the first iPhone was originally priced at $399, while most phones at the time were $199. The release of X is also similar to the original, with its limited availability due to manufacturing constraints and its certain role as a status symbol. Continue reading
Digital health’s focus on the “quantified self” and on providing convenient access to medical information and expertise on-the-go has led to the development of over 165,000 mobile health applications available through either the Apple or Android app stores. This number is on the rise, and it is estimated that 58% of smartphone users have downloaded mobile health applications onto their smart device. While many in number, most mobile health applications have a common thread: they exploit existing functionalities of the smart device – whether it be communication, documentation, display, or connectivity – for new purposes. These applications use the smartphone or tablet device in one of four ways: As a means of communication, particularly for telemedicine; as a tool for documentation, particularly for keeping track of self-reported data such as consumed calories; as a means of information display, e.g. to educate patients on their condition; or as a means of control, e.g. external devices such as insulin pumps and blood pressure cuffs. With these applications consumers use the phone’s native functions in new ways: they can video chat not only their friends, but also their doctors; and they can control through Bluetooth not only the song choice in their car, but also their amount of insulin administered.
More recently there has been a growing fifth category that looks to use mobile phones as a health device, as opposed to a communication and record keeping device. Applications in this category utilize hardware components in smart devices, particularly the camera, display, microphone, or motion sensors (accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer) for health purposes. These mobile applications, examples of which are included in the table below, do not re-purpose native functionalities of the smart device, but rather they exploit hardware components to attribute to the device new functionalities, use cases, and applications. Now, a smartphone or tablet is not only a communication device; it is a melanoma diagnostic tool [(see SkinVision’s profile) client registration required], a stethoscope (see iStethoscope), and a stool analysis tool (see PoopMD) that also has built-in communication and connectivity protocols.
Up until now, mobile app developers have been thinking of innovative ways to exploit streamlined hardware components in mobile devices for medical purposes. Continue reading