Innovative applications of the mobile phone are quickly emerging in clinical practice as a time- and money-saving tool for physicians and patients alike. Physicians from Graz's University Medical School in Austria have successfully monitored from afar the blood pressures and heart rates of 25 people with hypertension using mobile phones. In the comfort of their own homes, patients entered key values, including blood pressure, pulse and body weight, on a regular basis into their mobiles using a specially developed software program. Immediately, physicians were informed of a patient's vitals, while the software alerted them to intervene if a patient's values became too high or too low. Patients, in turn, were able to receive almost instant remote advice from their physicians.
Meanwhile, researchers in the U.K. are preparing a pilot study of remote monitoring of asthmatics via mobile phone. A newly developed device hooks a peak flow meter up to a mobile phone that gathers, records and submits accurate asthma data in real-time to physicians. Furthermore, an electronic diary enables patients to describe, and then transmit, their symptoms on a daily basis. At any time, GPs or nurses have access to their patients' data stored on the server, allowing them to monitor their patients' conditions with up-to-date, accurate and reliable data. Initially, 100 asthmatics will receive the mobile device for the duration of the trial. Researchers hope the innovation will provide a more efficient, proactive management of asthma and perhaps help understand the relationships between symptoms and a patient's environment, by analysing whether symptoms are exacerbated at home or at work.