I’ve been mulling over something that came up at the 2011 World Mobile Congress: mobile health, its practical applications, the high-tech equipment required to support it, and the long-term view of what’s possible. With Japan’s earthquake and tsunami still very much in the news, conversations about mobile health and mobile health equipment seem at once trivial and yet profound.
It’s trivial because the conversation among industry players frequently centers on revenue potential, market growth predictions, and plenty of promises to change the face of global healthcare. This number-crunching talk becomes banal in the face of natural disasters we’ve witnessed in Japan, Haiti, New Orleans, Indonesia, and many other places.
I don’t want to completely dismiss the financial rewards or barriers because eventually, these business issues will be important to supply chain professionals as more device makers enter the space and regional governments search for solutions. However, I’m finding myself drawn to the real-world need to advance this technology -- quickly.
For now, let’s leave aside the big picture of how delivering health services through mobile devices or applications could heighten people’s overall wellness awareness, influence lifestyle decisions, and keep people healthy. Let’s just look at this through the narrow window of emergency medical services and how effective public-private partnerships during crisis may seed activities that become longer-term, industry-wide best practices.
Smart cars are being designed with technology and sensors that would relay location and vehicle information to first-responders in the event of a serious accident. What would happen if mobile technology like that could be wired into buildings, or bridges, or cell phones? (I’m assuming the technology could be honed enough to distinguish an earthquake-scale event from a truck rumbling by, or someone riding a roller coaster.) Could that information, transmitted through durable, super reliable, and dedicated communication lines, better help emergency crews pinpoint where the need for help is the greatest?
Arguably, yes. We only have to look at Haiti to see an example of this. According to the video below posted by Dr. Roni Zeiger, Chief Health Strategist at Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), physicians used mobile devices like iPhones to create on-the-fly electronic health records for patients. Companies such as FrontlineSMS and others built a system by which healthcare providers could send a short code via SMS; that information was aggregated and mapped to show healthcare needs in various areas. Additionally, Google, in collaboration with the on-the-ground health agencies and NGOs, developed an application called Resource Finder to display hospitals and better match medical needs with available resources.
It’s not just cell phones that fall in the category of the mobile emergency medical care. Earlier this month, before the quake in Japan, MobileHealthWatch reported on a new telehealth product designed with emergency situations in mind. Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) and Lifebot have collaborated on development of an HP Slate 500 tablet with the Lifebot Disaster Relief and Emergency Medical Services ambulance teletriage and disaster management system. The Website states that "the system's high-def, interactive voice and video communication features deliver access to -- and enables remote management of -- patients in more locations, including remote emergency rooms, ambulances, satellite facilities, or intensive care units." The companies are also looking to make those functions available on HP's TouchSmart 9100 all-in-one PC.
While watching and reading the news coming out Japan, I haven't come across many specific details about what kinds of mobile health applications are being used in recovery efforts. What have you heard? What kinds of partnerships are being created on the fly? In a country where technology thrives, I imagine some innovative practices are being developed that could immediately benefit the Japanese, and maybe help all of us whenever and wherever the next disaster occurs.
I would like to see the mobile device emit emergency signals to prompt people for action. For example: if there were going to be a big earthquake to hit and scientists have already captured that information, I'd like to be notify as soon as possible. Even if it was a false alarm, that would at least give me heads up what to do and what NOT to do in the next moments. That's where the mobile device can come in handy to alert me and prevent me from being harmed.
The leveraging of the mobile platform by internet services has had much success, and has proven to be a valuable resource in emergencies. One example is Google's people-finder, which instantly links the finder of a missing person with the people searching for them.
Mobile system has become an essential item of our lives. It can be networked with home security system, It can be used to monitor children (Tel/tv), navigation and many others. The current use of mobile technology will not mark the limit but it is just the begining of future innovations. One thing is sure, one discovery is a stepping stone for another one. The disaster in Japan should be an eye opener to technology companies. Capability of mobile technology can be developed into monitoring health related issues such as radiation level. Satellite phone is a great tool but the only issue is the cost
mario8a - Can you tell us some more about "how with the right communication gear a lot can be achieved on those times of emergencies." In your experience, what kind of gear would be most valuable/useful?
elctrnx_lyf - This is a good idea: "couple of extra big buttons on the mobile which can deliver messages to three medical service providers and five close persons as stored on the phone."
And I'll check this out:"I've heard of such a mobile is in the market made by iball."
First of all thank you, for this really good article.
Coming from the Mobile phone industry I was able to help during the 9/11 tragedy providing some support with hands free comunications, we basically focus on providing all the possible comunication channels to help those heroes helping people, it is amazing how with the right communication gear a lot can be achieved on those times of emergencies.
I think the mobile will play a big role in fulfilling the right setup for the emergency management and the disaster recovery. But all it needs would couple of extra big buttons on the mobile which can deliver messages to three medical service providers and five close persons as stored on the phone. I've heard of such a mobile is in the market made by iball recently.
The thought of mobile health applications is great. This would be of great assistance to first responders and medical staff. However in an event like this, I'm sure communication towers have been destroyed, or at least the infrastructure that supports them is gone. My first thought would be communications through SAT phones. As far as I know those are limited to voice, with the exception of the military. Maybe if there was a way to operate some limited services on certain satellites during emergencies, these applications could be used more often.
With the kind of damage the earthquake and the resulting Tsunami have caused to the infrastructure of the affected areas of Japan, It is quite unlikely that the mobile networks are alive in those areas. The best way to connect in such situations will be through the satelite phones and I think they provide only voice communications. So I am not sue whether any healthcare applications on mobile will be useful in this scenario.
A new report shows that most of the worrisome issues that the supply chain industry has been dealing with for years are not new, but there are some new concerns that need answers. Here’s a look at what keeps supply chain professionals up at night.
For many dealing with the enormous task of tracking,
reporting, and resolving issues associated with
potential counterfeit parts, there is a collective
hope that 2013 will bring clearer guidance on what
needs to be done by whom and when.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.