Might mHealth be the end for knitted charity teddies?

Had a fun chat with a newspaper journalist this week who was writing a feature on how smartphones are going to impact on the way we think about healthcare.

Asking me if I felt it might change elements in the healthcare charity sector I explained that it already has by transforming the way people donate eg. remember when the Red Cross raised tens of million $’s via SMS within just hours of the earthquake in Haiti?

I also explained how I think it might have an even bigger longer term impact as it increasingly puts diagnostic tools into the hands of citizens who want to support a cause. As an example I pointed to the potential we have with the Alivecor iPhone ECG case (read more about our trial of this technology here) and how this could have an impact on the work of major chairities such as the Atrial Fibrillation Association.

So let’s say you’re a citizen who’s been affected by AFib. Perhaps you’ve had a parent or partner suffer a stroke and then you’ve gone on to learn that they’d never been diagnosed or treated for an underlying heart condition that’s actually very easy and simple to screen for.

Today you’d realise you’re interests are alligned with a charity like the AFA and you might sign up to be a member (like I have) when you’ll get regular emails inviting you to raise funds and help with awareness campaigns eg. for May the newsletter encourages members to knit an Easter bunny and set up a stall to raise funds:

So imagine how this will change when you can go into a mobile phone store hand over $100 and pick up an Alivecor case, simply clip it to the back of your mobile, download an app and 30 secs later you’ll be able to capture and send single lead clinical quality ECGs to a consultant cardiologist from anywhere in the world?

Imagine how easily you could test friends and relatives at your next family get together? Imagine the donations you might be able to get for a charity like the AFA if you used their app in conjunction with the device so that it provided the charity with the contact details of the people you screened so that they could then follow up with a free service offering the personalised advice of a cardiologist and asking for a donation?

When mHealth enable’s volunteers be this effective and engaged with the cause they want to help do you think there will still be anyone who wants to be spending their time knitting cuddly toys?

About David Doherty

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