Mon, May 22, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Linkou doctor says he's made a mobile medical discovery

CNA , TAIPEI

A doctor who suffers from asthma has come up with the potentially useful idea of using cell phones to link patients to hospitals. In this way, he says, patients' can have their health remotely monitored and receive timely medical advice.

Kuo Han-pin (郭漢彬), a pulmonary specialist at Chang Gung Hospital in Linkou (林口), Taipei County, has figured out an easy way for patients to register and send peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) data to the hospital using their mobile phones, an idea which could also be applied to diabetic and hypertensive patients if software programs can be modified for the purpose.

Kuo said he conducted an experiment in which he asked more than 100 asthma patients to record their peak expiratory flow rate each morning and evening. He found that most of them did not take the trouble to do the job properly, but just perfunctorily jotted down some figures. This, he realized, hampers doctors' ability to properly monitor their patients.

Chang Gung Hospital even designed a Web site and a CD-ROM-based program for patients to register their PEFR numbers online, but to no avail, Kuo said.

Kuo therefore came up with the idea of cooperating with cell phone carriers such as Chung Hwa Telecom to install a special program on patients' cell phones that could save and transmit PEFR and other basic health data to hospitals, whose automatic response system would analyze and return medical advice to the patients via text messages.

For example, Kuo said, seasonal weather changes in early spring can induce severe asthmatic symptoms that can be worsened by sandstorms sweeping down from China. If patients regularly send their PEFR numbers to the hospital system, they could receive medical advice and reminders either by text messages or voice calls.

If telecommunication and Internet technologies could be used to monitor patients' health indicators by remote control, it could create a beneficial situation for hospitals, patients and the health insurance program, Kuo said.

This story has been viewed 3240 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top