It used to be that the word “doctor” brought to mind an image of a kindly old man in a small office with a stethoscope, but now it conjures up an image of an app on a smartphone or a high-end digital device transmitting medical information over the Internet. As digital innovations continue to cross over into the healthcare space, they are forever changing the way that we think about medicine, healthcare, and even the role that doctors have in curing us. “Digital health” has the ability to influence not only how we think about healthcare, but also to bring the exponential computing gains possible within the digital world into the world of slower-moving medicine.
Take, for example, this week’s WWDC 2012 conference, where Apple not only highlighted changes to its mobile operating system iOS6, but also highlighted how mobile apps are changing the world of medicine. Apple in particular singled out 3D4Medical, which specializes in the development of medical apps that contain real-world renderings of human anatomy for mobile devices such as the iPad and iPhone. In some cases, these relatively low-cost apps are now being used to teach anatomy in the developing world. With the new AirPlay Mirroring technology from Apple, educators can now project realistic anatomical models from apps onto a big screen, making apps from 3D4Medical an integral part of the medical educational experience for a large audience.
And that’s not all – the latest crop of startups being funded by venture capitalists are figuring out ways to turn your smart phone and tablet into world-class medical instruments. Consider the example of AliveCor, which just picked up $10.5 million in Series B funding from elite VC investors Khosla Ventures. What AliveCor does is truly extraordinary – by adding a lightweight plastic case to your iPhone, AliveCor is able to transform your iPhone into a clinical-quality ECG that you can hold up to your chest for accurate readings. (You have to watch the AliveCor YouTube video to believe it) Your “smart phone” today is truly “smart” – and with all of its built-in sensors, it has the ability to become much more than just a phone that you use to make calls.
via Big Think – Dominic Basulto
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