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Mobile phone applications are being developed for just about everything, it seems, from gaming to news to shopping. And now a new crop of medical apps are coming that might even save your life.
According to a new University of Maryland School of Medicine study, mobile software linked to a blood glucose monitor dramatically improved the quality of life for people with Type 2 Diabetes. The software provides real-time feedback, generating charts and providing data to patients and doctors for effective management of the condition. It even works as a virtual secretary, creating alerts when blood sugar levels are too high or low and sending text messages with suggestions for corrective action.
Physicians are getting help, too. A new app from Diagnostic Imaging Pathways, developed by an Australian research team, was inspired by statistics showing that as much as thirty percent of imaging requests are incorrect or unnecessary, wasting energy and hospital resources. This app, which maps out over 130 pathways through the major organ systems, as well as common clinical scenarios, helps doctors to order the right tests.
Apps are proving useful in the developing world, too. A new one by Lifelens can detect malaria from a drop of blood. After preparing and photographing a slide, imaging software loaded on a phone can analyze the cells and provide an accurate diagnosis 94.4% of the time – a vast improvement over the current, widely-accepted method in which false positives can occur as often as 60% of the time. A lay person with a basic cell phone and minimal training can diagnose him- or herself in minutes.
The FDA is now issuing regulations for medical-related apps, which means that biotech companies and app developers in the healthcare field will need strong market research and media relations to stay ahead of the curve.
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