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The New Digital Medicine

By Gregory Mone

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 57 No. 9, Pages 18-20
10.1145/2641227

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The average person sees his or her physician for about an hour each year. At our annual checkups, doctors and nurses check our blood pressure, heart rate, and other vital signs, and from those brief snapshots they attempt to determine our overall health. Until recently, monitoring these metrics outside the office, and over long stretches of time, would have been neither affordable nor efficient. Today, however, the average person carries a versatile medical gadget on them at all times.

"A smartphone has become a medical device of the highest potential," says Sreeram Ramakrishnan, manager of Insights-driven Wellness Services with IBM's Health Informatics group. "The type of sensors that have already evolved are clearly establishing that there's no technological limit. You could capture almost anything you want."

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