Agostina Giorgio of the Polytechnic University of Bari in Italy has published a very interesting paper about telehealth. The paper is “Social networks, apps and smartphones for telemedicine”. Giorgio sees telehealth as a nearly all inclusive solution for a large number of people. He has created an app called Care-App which allows private and secure communication between doctor and patient using Facebook. Most people think of Facebook as communicating with a lot of friends and family, if not everyone, but it can be limited to a secure and personal channel.
Care-App includes a medication diary, a 911-like feature, and allows a patient to search for providers and make appointments. The video feature of telehealth can enable a physician to see symptoms or problems. Using mHealth devices, a telehealth visit can become very real. For example, a “tele-stethoscope” device connected to the smart phone headphone jack allows the physician to hear your heartbeat. Giorgio and his colleagues in the Cardiology department have already tested and validated a tele-stethoscope with Care-App. Other remote devices can measure blood-oxygen saturation, pulse, temperature, and even a 30-second electrocardiogram. Giorgio’s Care-app manages all the steps taken during a collaborative session between doctor and patient.