Technology is making health care services that may have once seemed available only within a doctor’s office accessible to the general public, according to new research from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.
The finding grew out of a comprehensive online search in April and May for health technologies and mobile applications available to American consumers and health care providers. The resulting table of approximately 170 devices and applications is a snapshot that may provide insight into the needs and demands of patients and providers, said Dr. Quianta Moore, the Baker Institute’s scholar in health policy, who conducted the research.
Moore found many low-cost devices and applications that target such chronic conditions as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. She also found consumer devices that perform sophisticated functions, like an electrocardiograph that detects and diagnoses heart abnormalities.
“Technology has permeated every sector of the market, making services and goods faster, cheaper and mobile,” Moore said. “Not surprisingly, advancements in technology have also increased access to health information and self-monitoring for individual consumers, as well as increased health care providers’ ability to diagnose, monitor or treat their patients remotely. Our search results presented numerous options for consumers, patients and health care providers to address a variety of health concerns and increase access to health care.”
The results also demonstrate demand for technology focused on physical fitness, Moore said. Most often worn on the wrist, this technology is able to measure a wide range of indicators, including heart rate, breathing rate, posture, activity level, peak acceleration, speed and distance as well as sleep duration and sleep cycles.
“This table, while not exhaustive, demonstrates there is an interest from the public to take more control over their health,” Moore concluded.
Moore’s research focuses on developing technologies to improve health outcomes in school-aged children. She is interested in studying the inequalities in access to health care and improving health outcomes through school-based clinics and telemedicine.
Source: Rice University