January 7, 2005

Text messaging for meds

bloodprepssure.gif Physicians now have a technological solution to an all too common scenario -- a cardiac patient forgets to take his heart medication and winds up in the emergency room, reports The Washington Times.

"Doctors are sending text-message reminders to patients, via mobile phones and personal digital assistants, telling them it's time to take their prescribed angiotensin converting enzyme or ACE inhibitor, like Prinivil, or other medications.

[...] Telemedicine Partners is conducting a trial with wireless technology developer Motorola Corp., creating a communications hub to monitor critically ill patients in the home. The patients are provided with a Nextel mobile phone handset equipped with a Java applet and a scale and a blood pressure cuff. The blood pressure cuff sends data wirelessly by Bluetooth software to a Web site, where it is viewed by physicians.

"One of our major thrusts is going to be moving healthcare related applications to technologies that are more familiar to the patients," said Dr. Joseph Kvedar, vice chairman of dermatology at the Harvard Medical School, and a director of Partners Telemedicine.

"Many of the technologies that have been deployed in the home look like they should be in a doctor's office, Kvedar told United Press International's Wireless World. "But people are more likely to change their routines if we use technologies, like mobile phones, that they have already adopted."

Harvard Medical School is a leader in the emerging niche of telemedicine via text messaging. During the 1990s, doctors started to embrace telemedicine, using computer networks to link specialized medical practitioners across the country or around the globe.

Now they realize that rather than just linking doctors, they can connect with patients in this way, too, and reduce the time spent on routine in-office visits, cutting overall healthcare costs. "

Related:

-- Articles on hospitals and doctors around the world embracing SMS

-- Cellphone May Be Lifeline for the Sick

-- Siemens working on breathalyzer cellphone

-- SMS 'Smart Bracelet' for Medical Emergencies

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