The next big thing in health improvement may be no farther away than your smart phone.
Patient self-monitoring could be one of the most important emerging categories of applications for Android and iOS phones. The initial offerings in this category are standard fare; calorie counters, dietary databases and pedometers are obvious examples. But technologists are moving forward with more advanced applications that monitor your pulse and which trigger alarms when preset values monitored by wearable or implanted sensors are exceeded.
But below the current horizon are a new generation of devices that will use smart phones to transmit the history of implanted (AICDs) cardioverter/defibrillators and which could connect the two devices using the human body as a transmitter. Also now in development are implantable glucose sensors for diabetic patients that transmit data to smart phones and which trigger alarms when blood sugar levels fall above or below preset clinical levels.
Many of the new health related smart phone applications are being investigated or developed by senior technologists whose life and industry experience fall outside of the current “found- a-startup- and-sprint-for-liquidity” model that defines industry.
No one makes this point better than Philippe Kahn, whose post Borland career includes pioneering software that allows readily sharing digital pictures on social media and other platforms. Mr. Kahn’s new venture is called MPath Technology, which uses a smart phone’s abilities to capture physical motion and turn data points into accurate maritime or terrestrial navigational systems. “The MotionX wearable sensing platform at FullPower (is protected by dozens of patents. We are 75 scientists, engineers, technologists working in Santa Cruz, CA, focused on inventing and staying away from business battles, et cetera”.Some of the areas
MPath may next explore are smart phone-based health apps, according to the company web site.
Although MPath’s Mr. Kahn eschews today’s MBA-cookie cutter entrepreneurial model, the complexity and cost of any next-generation health app that works in conjunction with pharmaceutical or critical patientvital signs monitoring may favor startups with very deep pockets or direct ties to established medical companies. A single phrase in this smart phone application category—regulatory agency approval—adds months and mega buck research development costs to product delivery.
But topical applications such as those measure physical activity and deliver caloric burn rates, Or which allow individuals to download and store personal health records and insurance plan data (including info on in-plan physicians) are well within the range of most start-ups and represent
fast paths to liquidity or cash injection points.