iPhone Tracking Health

I picked this up off AppleInsider. Part of the iPhone 3.0 presentation included an accessory to allow diabetics to track their blood sugar level:

Almost a year ago, Amy Tenderich, a San Francisco blogger who maintains Diabetes Mine for people living with diabetes, penned an open letter to Steve Jobs, asking Apple to help apply the design savvy of the iPod to the medical devices that keep millions of people alive.

Speaking specifically about the blood glucose monitors or insulin pumps used by people living with diabetes, Tenderich asked Jobs, “have you seen these things? They make a Philips GoGear Jukebox HDD1630 MP3 Player look pretty! And it’s not only that: most of these devices are clunky, make weird alarm sounds, are more or less hard to use, and burn quickly through batteries. In other words: their design doesn’t hold a candle to the iPod.”

“What we need here” Tenderich wrote, “is a sweeping change in industry-wide mentality — achievable only if some respected Thought Leader tackles the medical device design topic in a public forum.” She recommended that Apple start a design contest, or assign the company’s design team to create some reference designs, or establish an Apple Med Design School offering courses on consumer design to engineers from pharma companies.

Tenderich’s plea was picked up by blogger Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, where it certainly caught Apple’s attention. Then nearly a year passed.

This is interesting to me personally because I have a brother with Type I diabetes and he has to monitor his blood sugar level on a daily basis. I can see how this would help him with that.

Taking a step back, there are lots of single use medical devices that are being used by people and I can see how these devices would be attached to a phone (the iPhone in this case) where software would be used to augment the capabilities of the device, in this case to track blood sugar level rather than giving single reads, and using the telecommunication capabilities of the device to upload this information to a database somewhere or providing a alerting service in case of emergency.

I think that yet again a chunk of functionality is about to folded into mobile phones just like what happened when smart phones first started to appear on the market eventually causing the demise of the PDA.

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