The Future of Healthcare? Prescribing Smartphone Apps Instead of Medication

Pulso-iPhoneIn a recent story from NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams, they reported on an innovative approach to treating patients from well-respected physician, Dr. Eric Topol. In the report, Dr. Topol candidly admits that healthcare is full of wasteful spending, and a potential solution is to utilize the power of smartphones to treat medical conditions.

It might sound crazy, but the same smartphone we use to play Angry Birds or watch funny cat videos is powerful enough to perform some of the same medical tests that we pay hundreds, or even thousands of dollars for. For example, Dr. Topol states, “You can do blood tests, saliva tests, urine tests, all kinds of things, sweat tests, through your phone. This is a powerful device.” According to Dr. Topol, “I’m actually prescribing a lot more apps than medications.”

This approach is certainly innovative, but we’d love to know what you would think if your doctor sent you home with a smartphone app instead of traditional medication. Would you embrace this concept, or does it sound too far-fetched to work?

You can view NBC’s report here, and it’s definitely worth a look.

Leave a comment


  1. Colleen Thompson

     /  February 12, 2013

    This seems like a much more patient-friendly and efficient way for docs, nurse practitioners, etc. to help their patients manage chronic conditions. And beyond that, it seems there’s huge potential for use of these tools by others – school nurses? your local pharmacist? EMTs and paramedics? medical support crews at runs/walks/bike races, etc.? It’s got to be more cost-effective than all those visits to doctor’s offices, lab tests, imaging equipment, etc.

  2. Picky Eater

     /  February 11, 2013

    I’m totally down with this. All the time it would save me would outweigh any “cons” I can think of.


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