Meet Your New Medical Device: Your Phone
TROY (WWJ) – Your cell phone is already your pocket computer, game deck, navigation device and encyclopedia.
Next? It’ll be your doctor, clinic and pharmacy.
That’s the prediction of Rick Valencia, vice president and general manager of Qualcomm Life, keynote speaker at this week’s Inno-Vention 2013 conference, sponsored by Oakland County Medical Main Street, the county’s life sciences industry accelerator.
Several hundred people packed a ballroom at the Troy Marriott to hear Valencia speak on Qualcomm’s predictions for the future of health care via mobile device. Valencia said it will become a diagnostic, therapeutic and monitoring device in your pocket, “more and more of your daily life, monitoring your wellness, your health and your fitness. All that is working its way into your mobile device.”
Valencia said phones will also serve as gateways to medical records and medical imaging, “giving you access to your health records anywhere you go.”
And he said a lot of doctor visits can be handled remotely on mobile devices, too.
“Remember, it wasn’t that long ago we had to wait in line at Blockbuster to get a movie, and now they don’t even exist any more,” Valencia said. “A lot of patient-caregiver interactions can take place in the cloud on a mobile device.”
There are obstacles to what Valencia called mHealth, of course — a lack of interoperability between devices and operating systems, the health care system’s unwillilngness to pay for medical services unless they involve an office visit, making sure there’s a pleasant patient-customer experience — and of course, security.
But Valencia said he’s sure these problems can be overcome.
Inno-Vention also featured other panel discussion on mobile health issues, a commercial competition among medical device startups, and tours of life science centers, including DMC Surgery Hospital in Roiyal Oak, Henry Ford hospitals in Detroit and West Bloomfield Township, the Microsoft Technology Center in Southfield and Oakland University’s new health care education building.
A security presentation from Subra Sripada, executive vice president and chief administrative and information officer at Beaumont Health System, talked about Beaumont’s efforts at a secure way for medical staffers to use their personal devices for work purposes, starting more than three years ago.
And there were awards, as well. Ann Arbor-based HistoSonics and its Vortx Rx medical device, which uses ultrasound to liquify unwanted tissues inside the body non-invasively, won the Medical Main Street Innovator of the Year award.
The initial application for Vortx Rx is removing swollen prostate tissue in older men, relieving the symptoms of benign prostate enlargement.
HistoSonics president and CEO Christine Gibbons said the Vortx Rx has been approved for investigational use in clinical trials by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada. Six units were built, and clinical trials began in July at the University of Michigan Hospitals and sites in Ohio and Ontario.
Eventually, the hope is the device will be used for other medical problems besides prostate enlargement, including perhaps cancer care and clot-busting.
More about the Inno-Vention event at http://www.medicalmainstreet.org.