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  (Source: Gene Roddenberry)
Soon you may not have to go to the doctor to get an accurate diagnosis

Dr. Eric Topol, the chief academic officer of Scripps Health took to the stage with Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) Chairman and CEO Dr. Paul Jacobs, to talk ARM and smartphone's emerging roles as medical tools.  

I. Ditch the Doctor, Get Technology

Dr. Jacobs isn't much of a fan of the traditional medical system, which he complain is "inefficient, bureaucratic, and at worst even inaccurate."

He points to the fact that it typically takes 21 days in the U.S. to just get a doctor's appointment, and then another 2 hours in the waiting room to see the doctor.  As an alternative Qualcomm is pushing mobile self-diagnosis devices, which will help remove some of the reliance on unreliable medical professionals.

Dr. Topol -- author of the new book The Creative Destruction of Medicine -- had quite an exciting bag full of gadgets to back Dr. Jacobs claims.  First he showed off a prototype of a hand-held, clip-on smartphone electrocardiogram (EKG) reader, made by Qualcomm-funded AliveCor.  Apparently, Dr. Topol -- currently trialling the Alive Core device in the real world -- was able to use it to quickly diagnose that an airplane passenger having chest pains was having a heart attack, and not just indigestion.  The airplane made an emergency landing, allowing the man's life to be saved.

Dr. Topol

The good doctor also showed off an Android widget that received real-time, continuous information from a glucose monitoring device.  He also showed off a device from Sotera called Visi Wireless, which monitored in a non-intrusive way, continuously, as well as tracking other characteristics (blood oxygen, etc.) all from a slick watch package.  Dr. Topol brags, "It's like an ICU on the wrist."

Qualcomm Alive Core
The Alive Core is seen here in hand, while the Visi Wireless blood-pressure and biometrics watch is seen worn on Dr. Topol's wrist.

Dr. Topol hinted that by using nanosensors you could detect a heart attack well in advance via certain cellular cues.  The system could send a text message to your phone.  Dr. Jacobs quipped, "That's one text message I don't want to get."

He wrapped up by showing a slick device from DNA Electronics that is a handheld DNA analyzer, capable of sequencing specific sequences of interest within seconds.  Dr. Topol says he expects the device to soon be in the field at pharmacies, detecting genetic incompatibilities with certain medications, such as the heart medication Plavix.

II. Making the World's First "Real World Tricorder"

While Qualcomm clearly has its chips and loan dollars in a lot of interesting projects, the mobile chipmaker is stepping up its efforts to the next level with the "Tricorder X-Prize".  The X-Prize follows successful X-Prize competitions for space travel, fuel efficiency, and oil spill cleanup -- competitions which produced solutions far superior to any existing ones.

The Tricorder X-Prize

The goal of the competition is to provide "self-diagnosis without the hospital."

The first team who can design a device capable of a broad self-diagnosis, while maintaining "fun" and "easy to use" design paradigms, will take home a check for $10M USD, courtesy of Qualcomm.

Tricorder Priz

Of course it won't be a true Star Trek tricorder unless it can scan and diagnose you without touching the skin.  But Qualcomm is allowing that to slide for now, for the sake of getting real products on the market.

More info on this new and ambitious X-Prize can be found at its homepage here.


All images © of Jason Mick and DailyTech LLC.


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Nice
By bug77 on 1/11/2012 11:26:00 AM , Rating: 5
Topol, T'Pol...
I believe there was an episode in which one vulcan was left on Earth in the '60s. And we all know they tend to live long. And prosper.




RE: Nice
By Helbore on 1/11/2012 12:59:10 PM , Rating: 2
T'Pol's great grandmother, I believe - also played by Jolene Blalock.

If that's her, based on the picture, I'd say she's not aged well.


By tecknurd on 1/11/2012 5:49:34 PM , Rating: 2
There are tricoders like devices. Access webmd.com and other similar sites. Then fill in your symptoms. An accurate diagnosis depends on the person or patient if they write down their symptoms. Something like blood pressure, oxygen readings, and glucose levels will have to be done with consumer equipment. Taking blood tests can be problem for a lot of people. Most people do not follow directions, so something like they need to disinfect or throw away the needles when used will be a problem. Since health tests are now patentable, making a tricoder to do multiple blood tests will be a grey issue. Though I rather have someone else that is certified to do blood tests because doing blood tests on my own can be a problem.

I think early tricoders will be like the The Sims 2 health machine that will take up the same room as exercise equipment.

quote:
He (Dr. Topol) points to the fact that it typically takes 21 days in the U.S. to just get a doctor's appointment, and then another 2 hours in the waiting room to see the doctor.

Actually where I live I wait a day or two depending when I call in during the week to schedule an appointment with my physician. Of course only if I am sick. If I am not, it usually takes a week or some cases a day or two. Cost of the visit depends on the health insurance plan that I am on. The wait time is usually about five to ten minutes. For specialty visits, it can take longer, but again not always for where I live. I do live in a large city.




By Alexstarfire on 1/11/2012 8:15:27 PM , Rating: 2
I'm a bit skeptical on those times as well. Where I live, outside of Atlanta, GA, I make an appointment in the morning and 90+% of the time I get in that day. Wait time varies. Right after lunch is usually the worst with maybe a 20 minute wait. I do know that we used to go to a doctor's office where the wait was about 2 hours each visit. But that was well over a decade ago.


By johnsonx on 1/12/2012 4:24:57 AM , Rating: 2
yeah, I have to call bs on that stat too. I've never even heard of anyone having to wait 3 weeks to get a doctor's appointment, other than for some sort of non-critical specialist kind of thing. Most of the time if I call the doctor in the morning I can get in later that same morning, or at the very worst the next morning. Same with the kids. If I'm on-time for my appointment, I wait 10 minutes or less.

I do recall when my wife needed a specialist for something that was chronic but not at all critical at that time, her appointment was a couple of weeks out. But that only makes logical sense: those who need to see a doctor right away do, those who need to see a doctor some time in the next few weeks see one some time in the next few weeks. Why should that be a negative?


LOL
By kattanna on 1/11/2012 1:08:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
As an alternative Qualcomm is pushing mobile self-diagnosis devices, which will help remove some of the reliance on unreliable medical professionals.


i thought thats what google is for?? people take a symptom or 2 and do a google search for what it could be

;>)




RE: LOL
By mmatis on 1/11/2012 1:42:24 PM , Rating: 2
Heh. Just think of the fun you could have with a Google bomb - turning hangover symptoms into the Black Plague...
}:-]


Its possible
By Paj on 1/12/2012 7:27:05 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure how much diagnostic information could be done on a patient with the current sensors and tools on a modern smartphone without additional peripherals. Still it's a cool idea.

I once downloaded an app that can determine your heartrate by holding your finger against the camera - it detects variations in light caused by blood pumping through your finger.

The logical extension of this is a handheld that can perform some sort of imaging - CAT scan or something. Not sure how safe a handheld device that generates ionising radiations would be though :)




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