Future visions of mobile health tools are all very well and good, but what about RIGHT NOW? A couple of new gadgets/services you might like to know about:
* As of mid-March, consumer health information news agency MedTrackAlert is syndicating its health content to mobile phone users across the country via 4INFO, the leading text messaging service in the United States. This means that at least two million mobile phone users now have touch-button access to MedTrackAlert's health info from anywhere, anytime. Are you a cellular addict? The type who actually likes to read everything -- even news headlines -- via your Treo, Blackberry, or Razr? Here's the link to subscribe. It's free and extremely easy to set up. I'm trying it out myself now, although I prefer to actually sit in front of my oversized LCD screen to read the news. How old-fashioned of me!
* How about a USB memory stick that not only stores your BG data, but also helps provide a "second opinion" on your current diabetes treatment? A certain Dr. Michael Albisser in Florida is experimenting with just such a device, called MyDiaBase.
In his own words: "The device is a full featured SMBG database and personal diabetes registry, all in a portable memory module. Not just a mini EMR, it includes software with unique features that realize a 'personal diabetes prescription check. This RxChecker accesses the MyDiaBase and then can support the user in obtaining an objective '2nd Opinion' of their current diabetes treatment. The 2nd Opinion teaches the user when to contact their doctor and what to talk about. This closes the circle of care rather effectively."
The University of Miami has completed studies and has published results or submitted them for publication in medical journals. They've also purchased a bulk quantity for the use of their patients in the clinical group at the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI).
The product is currently classified as educational and available for free market purchase both to health care providers and directly to patients. Providers get it at a discount, and can then sell it to their patients at a price that covers user instructions, for about $100, or less. Any early adopter types here willing to buy one and give it a try?
* Don't forget GlucoMON. Provider DiabeTech's CEO Kevin McMahon reminded me recently that theirs was the first-ever wireless diabetes management system, introduced back in 2003. He's been after me to review the system for a while, but somehow it just never got onto my personal docket. Besides, veteran D-writer David Mendosa has already done a bang-up job. To paraphrase:
GlucoMON is "an automated, long-range wireless blood glucose data monitoring and transmittal system." It requires no computer, Internet connection, or phone line. Rather, it currently it works with LifeScan's OneTouch Ultra (deals with other meter providers under negotiation). All you do is plug the OneTouch meter in to the GlucoMON unit, and then plug that unit in to an electrical outlet, and whala! Your data can be transferred over the Diabetech network and stored by their GlucoDYNAMIX server software in a secure patient record application. The data -- including patient profile, patient-specific rules, alerts, reminders, reports, and education -- can be streamed and shared in real-time with your doctor, educator, or parent, for children with Type 1.
Pretty cool stuff. And you can get it now without a prescription, for a monthly service fee of $29.95.
"Think of us as a wireless phone company that just does diabetes," Kevin asserts. As we all know, there's something to be said for being a one-trick pony -- 'cause who understands diabetes better than the people who live it and breathe constantly it like we do?