Monday, 27 February 2012

Maps and apps

One of the biggest challenges (and the best bits) of working in assistive technology research is the speed at which technological change occurs. Thinking back to 1995, the British Medical Journal published an article entitled Telemedicine: lessons remain unheeded  in which the authors concluded that  "The telephone is an effective and stable technology that is already in place in most health care systems—but its full potential has yet to be exploited." In the past seventeeen years, mobile phone technology has moved on so much - but it could be argued that this is still true, and the full potential of m-health has yet to be realised.

The Department of Health have been trying to capture some of the latest ideas for helping to support long-term condition self-management via their Maps and Apps initiative. From obesity to mental health, there are lots of innovative ideas about the way that mobile phones can be used. There's a definite need for more research, and the Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology research group is right at the forefront, with projects including SMART 2 helping to combine touchscreen and mobile technologies to manage health conditions like stroke, chronic pain and heart failure.

Ref: McLaren P , Ball C J BMJ 1995;310:1390-1391

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