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Are Smartphones Starting a Boom In DIY Medicine? 111

An anonymous reader writes "How are you using smartphones and other portable devices to take charge of your medical care? The NY Times has an article about attachments to the iPhone for tracking blood sugar and blood pressure. There are also glorified web cams that take pictures of your ear drum, teeth or eyes to save you a trip to the doctor's. Some people are tracking the changes in their moles with an iPhone App. Is this the beginning of Med 2.0?" Odd as it sounds, I was able to be more quickly and reliably diagnosed with Lyme disease last fall because I'd taken some pictures on my phone of the lesion I'd wrongly thought was the result of a spider bite. Any camera would have worked, but I had my camera-equipped phone with me, rather than any other kind.
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Are Smartphones Starting a Boom In DIY Medicine?

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  • Awareness (Score:5, Interesting)

    by trimpnick ( 1362187 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @03:36PM (#39139709)
    I think that while documentation is already freely available for a lot of medical conditions, integrations into a single device (that you carry all the time with you) can surely raise awareness about such documentation. I don't think that people wanting to know more about a medical condition is necessarily evil or a sign of not trusting doctors. Has the pursuit of knowledge for knowledge's sake completely disappeared? "Self-medication" may well result in misdiagnosis and possible complications by not going to the doctor in some cases, but on the flip side, it might encourage others to go consult trained professionnals because they think they might not have something as benign as they first thought. Furthermore, there is a lot of developement in completely automated tools for diagnosing infections, genetic mutations, etc which might reduce the need for some medical consultation within the next 5-10 years.
  • by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <> on Thursday February 23, 2012 @03:41PM (#39139773) Homepage Journal

    Yet. I predict from this trend will rise cheap, bluetooth enabled medical sensors of various types.

  • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @03:49PM (#39139881)

    "As long as people don't like/trust doctors"

    Nice corporate line. My wife had Lyme and went from doctor to doctor before they finally referred her to specialist care which confirmed what she'd already diagnosed!

    Doctors are not interchangeable, have a tiny slice of time to work with patients (your auto mechanic has more time per car by far!), and are under constant pressure.

    Computer-aided diagnosis can be a huge boon to a public who can't afford medical care or who are under-served by existing options.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 23, 2012 @04:31PM (#39140269)

    Tracking blood pressure and blood sugar is not self diagnosis. It's really fantastic if you already are diagnosed with something and need to keep track of those numbers in the first place, especially if you combine it with food and medical logs. When I had gestational diabetes, I was able to send reports from a diabetes website to my midwife, so she could keep track of my blood sugars and diets with every visit, to make sure I didn't need to start medication, and remain diet controlled. I was also able to find out that milk was a huge trigger for me, and had to avoid it. Had I not kept all those logs like that, and just checked to make sure I didn't go over whatever number the midwife said, I would have wound up on insulin, and would have had to deliver in the hospital, with an MD, and not at the birth center, with my midwife, because I would have been high risk. Instead, this made it so much easier to look at the big picture and say, "Hey, why don't you cut out the milk, the times you have that is when you have the spikes in blood sugar".

  • by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @04:39PM (#39140331)
    Not to mention that the vast majority of illness/injury are already self diagnosed and self treated. Can you imagine if every time you got a headache or your kid scratched themselves while playing, you rushed off to the doctor?

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"