M-health - bright ideas for diabetes, radiology and trials

M-health has been causing a bit of a buzz at Orange Business Live. The talk is that m-health is going to turn the global healthcare industry on its head. 
One of the sweet spots is remote monitoring of chronic disease management for conditions like heart disease, diabetes and asthma. Orange Healthcare demonstrated a smart phone app and service developed with Diabeo, for supporting patients with Type 1 diabetes. Users plug in their blood glucose levels and amount of sugar in their last meal into the mobile app, and it calculates the exact insulin dose needed and informs the GP remotely.  The benefits are obvious: the patients gets the correct treatment each time, and does not need to attend his GP for a checkup. A trial has just finished in France and in Spain. 
Another interesting project involved sharing radiology images - or "teleradiology". X ray and MRI scans are expensive, and typically covered by privacy issues which means that they can't simply be place on line in Flikr. Patients can wait weeks while waiting for images to be sent to a GP or a specialist. A trial in Paris has shown the power of the Cloud. Physicians and technicians from 250 medical centers and hospitals in Paris can now view radiology films on line, in real time, and in high-definition (this last bit is very important). Not only does teleradiology cut down on red tape, it means patients can get a diagnosis more quickly and therefore have the correct treatment identified more rapidly.
And another example that stood out would help pharmaceutical companies improve the efficiency of the drug trial process. In the world of big pharma, everything is about speed - time to turn trials data around means reduced time to market, A pharma IT director commented, "there so much pressure in the industry at the moment: regulators are very tough and we need to be quick to market because of the pressure from generic (medications). If we can get trial data in more quickly, and from different sources, it means we can focus or research." One recommendation for how this process could be speeded up is a digital pen. In large drug trials, participants may not take their medication or report on how they feel. By using a digital pen (which also produces real ink so that regulators are satisfied there is a genuine record of the trial being kept), the digital aspect means that the written notes can be recognized by OCR, and relayed wirelessly to a small access point, which in turn sends the data onto a hosted database to collection.
Stewart Baines
Stewart Baines

I've been writing about technology for nearly 20 years, including editing industry magazines Connect and Communications International. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Anthony Plewes. My focus in Futurity Media is in emerging technologies, social media and future gazing. As a graduate of philosophy & science, I have studied futurology & foresight to the post-grad level.