Maher was just one of the fascinating mHealth entrepreneurs that attended the inaugural Mobile Healthcare Industry Summit as a delegate. His German Medical Device manufacturing/consultancy company, HMM Group, has produced a working prototype of how I think HealthPhones will look by the time they become a mass market proposition.
Whilst the concept of modular design of a mobile isn’t new the ability to make the Healthcare component of the HealthPhone as a modular unit has several enormous benefits:
1) Because the phone can be fitted with a range of very different sensors the base unit can be mass produced to serve a wide variety of users. This scale is important for cost effectiveness which in turn enhances build quality standards and value for money.
2) By being made up from interchangeable components the phone itself won’t face the regulatory, approval and trademark issues that govern/impact on the use of medical devices. Not only do these add substantial costs but they also delay market launch dates. The HMM Group solution means that these sensitive issues can be dealt with for the component part independently (in effect launching an controlled ecosystem of medical device manufacturers with their own independent expertise in bringing health monitoring solutions safely to market).
3) The phone can share in all the multimedia features of a normal 3G Video Smartphone. This enables the user/patient to not look different and benefit from the latest innovations in user experience and software applications. For example here is the HMM prototype device displaying a contact list with a user interface that is accommodating of the needs for the visually impaired (note the need for no device/hardware modification):
4) Form factor/Size: Whilst this has been a very sensitive area in the past for mobile designers, the popularity and adoption of HD Video widescreens with touch interfaces is leading to increased space within the device. The proportions of the HMM Group cartridge solution are slightly bigger than the microSD standard which is intended to offer more space for the medical sensor technologies eg. the device shown above is discreetly accommodating a blood glucose strip reader.
5) The same device is not limited to being just a HealthPhone and can offer other monitoring capabilities for example:
> UPS or ParcelForce could make their own integrating NFC and a security tracking application to monitor the safety and location of delivery staff and consignment locations
> Students/commuters living in rented accommodation could buy the Chubb/Appollo Carbon Monoxide/Smoke Detector for use in their phone.
> Paramedics, Health Visitors and other NHS healthcare workers could use a dedicated NHS security tag within their phones to support enhanced security/firewalled remote access to patient record information
> Commercial Drivers could fit their phone with a personal Tachograph monitor to comply with road safety authority regulations
For readers interested in the finer detail of the HMM Group modular design check out the following close ups of the glucose monitoring cartridge inserted into the Phone:
This blog post is part of a series of reviews from the Mobile Healthcare Industry Summit. Click here to get the full review.