Diagnosing Disease Using Smartphone Apps and Data Visualization

September 20, 2011
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diagnosing disease with smartphone app 233x300 photo (data visualization)Author:

Linda Rosencrance
Spotfire Blogging Team

diagnosing disease with smartphone app 233x300 photo (data visualization)Author:

Linda Rosencrance
Spotfire Blogging Team

While many companies are using mobile analytics to measure their mobile advertising and marketing campaigns, scientists are developing healthcare-related smartphone apps that could actually save lives. The new apps are designed to help doctors by integrating with medical devices, enabling the smartphone to become the tool for data handling, analytics, visualization and communication.

For example, scientists at the Center for Systems Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital have integrating a microNMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) device that accurately detects cancer cells with a smartphone, according to the article. 

The prototype device lets doctors extract small amounts of cells from a mass inside of a patient, analyze the sample immediately, get the results in an hour, then give the results to other doctors as well as quickly put the information into the patient’s medical records rapidly. And the device only costs $200.

Although the microNMR is a great device in its own right, when it’s connected to a smartphone it also solves another screening dilemma: rapid and accurate analysis, which means doctors can extract cells from the patient and analyze them immediately instead of sending them out to be tested.

When it’s integrated with a smartphone, the microNMR lets researchers address the problems of visualizing and communicating the results of the analysis by using technology most healthcare professionals are familiar with. Additionally, because smartphones are intuitive and their platforms offer easy ways to visualize data, training is reduced and the data is more accessible, according to the article.

Just think—rather than simply telling patients they have cancer, physicians can actually review the data with them on their handheld devices, then they can send the results to other doctors or into patient records without worrying about compatibility issues.

Then there’s the iPhone app that lets doctors make stroke diagnoses as accurately as they could using medical work stations, according to this article in InformationWeek. This is one more example of the way physicians are using mobile health applications to more quickly diagnose disease based on medical images on their mobile devices so they can start treatment more quickly.

One of the strengths of the application is that it can seamlessly handle huge imaging data sets of over 700 images over the iPhone, according to Mayank Goyal, director of research in the department of radiology at the University of Calgary—one of the neuro-radiologists who analyzed the data—who was quoted in the article.

“There are definitely benefits for doctors to have the ability to analyze and diagnose these images from virtually anywhere,” he told InformationWeek.

Next Steps:

Join our  complimentary webcast Thursday at 11am EST with Allergan’s Grant Morgan and Spotfire’s Ben McGraw as they present a case study on Clinical Operations and Resource Management.

Register for TIBCO’s TUCON 2011 conference in Las Vegas, Sept. 27-29 to learn how you can explore data beyond the desktop—via the iPhone and other mobile devices .