The app marketplaces are awash with tools to allow us to quantify various health related aspects of our lives. Whether it’s monitoring our sleep, tracking our fitness regimes or keeping tabs on our diet, there have never been more apps available to help us do so. It would seem logical therefore that there is an increasing demand for these sort of apps to start doing more serious jobs.
Such a demand led to the creation last year of the Tricorder X Prize, which was designed to encourage the production of a similar device to that used in the Star Trek movies. The competition demanded that entrants create a devise that can accurately diagnose 15 diseases in 30 patients across 3 days using nothing but a mobile. It’s hoped that consumers can begin testing the creations sometime next year, with the winner then announced at an awards ceremony in January 2016.
There was an interesting development in this area earlier in the year, with researchers developing a mobile laboratory that was the size of a credit card and can offer people the opportunity to conduct blood tests wherever they may be. Suffice to say, this is still some way from meeting the full requirements of the X Prize.
Whilst not a finalist in the Tricorder competition, one of the more exciting companies in this field are uMotif. Whilst their ambitions aren’t as far reaching as that required by the X Prize, they are already making a dent in the marketplace. Their app is already delivering greater collaboration between patients and doctors.
The process is a straightforward one. The doctor recommends the patient download the app, which can then be used by the patient to track their diabetes. The app comes with a health diary for patients to log their daily fluctuations (fairly standard fare) but also enables patients to log medical data for things such as glucose levels. This information is then sent back to the doctors, who will hopefully therefore get a much better idea of how their patients are doing in real time.
The app was trialled in the NHS last year, with some promising results. Around 70% of those who were recommended the app ended up using it every day, with a subsequent increase in correct medication usage. The success of the pilot scheme has encouraged the NHS to roll out uMotif in 15 centres aross the UK this summer. The initial focus of the roll-out will be on patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Certainly one to watch. You can find out more about the service via the video below.