The world is getting more mobile as we speak. According to Statista, by the year 2017 there will be more than 4.77 billion mobile users in the world. If you add to this a fact that since 2015, more people browse internet via mobile devices than via computer, you can fully grasp on the significance that phones have in the modern society. Now, even though most people still use these devices for entertainment, sometimes, there are much more worthy causes than that. For example, in the last few years there is a trend of using mobile apps in disease research, and this is something that can benefit both researchers and test subjects equally. However, the greatest winner here is of course modern medicine and with it entire humanity.
Always by your side
Even though it is highly unlikely that these devices will ever manage to substitute a real doctor, when it comes to research, sometimes they can be even more precise. First of all, these phones are always available to the patients/test subjects which means that they can conduct tests up to three times a day, without ever leaving their chair. Seeing how most people (unjustifiably) have antagonistic feelings towards hospitals and research centers this is a huge win.
Furthermore, each of these phones comes equipped with a camera, microphone and even GPS which can be used in order to detect some symptoms or changes on one’s body or in their lifestyle. In other words, all one needs to do is walk a few miles, speak a few phrases or even tap the phone in a certain pattern and it is all done. This procedure can especially be useful in researching diseases such as Parkinsons. Additional example can be found in Asthma Health app. Which by measuring lung strength, or dust and pollen levels in the air helps make users safer in their environment.
Now, we already spoke about the availability of the phone but it simply cannot be emphasized just how important this can be. In a recent conversation with people from FrontlineER, we learned that with some illnesses such as diabetes or asthma it is important to note every single change or occurrence. The best example of how this works in practice is Apple Research Kit which managed to make an enormous contribution to medicine in fields of Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and even breast cancer research and to do all that in no more in 6 months. Truly an astounding notion.
Safety in numbers
In order for any research to be viable it needs a large corpus. However, we already mentioned that a lot of people avoid hospitals and research centers, which makes this entire situation quite paradoxical. Luckily, these devices show serious inclination to change all of that. Few years back, researchers struggling to find an answer to how one AIDS enzyme works, decided to go with desperate measures and allow the gamer community try their luck in finding the answer. Because of this game Foldit was modified to make this research into a game like format. Needless to say where few experts failed, numerous laymen were triumphant. These researches often have a shortage in number of participants, which is a problem that mobile apps look forward to rooting out.
Today mobile technology plays an important part in our lives, but perhaps it is time to turn this phone addiction of ours into something socially beneficial. By allowing our phones to assume (only partially) a role of our physician, we can put an end to even some of the most vicious diseases out there. With its availability, modern sensors and corpus that it provides these tiny devices might succeed where traditional medicine fails.