New advances in mobile technology are paying huge dividends for patients who have serious conditions such as tuberculosis. Many devices, such as the mobile app miDOT, allow doctors to stay in touch with patients through messaging and video.
"miDOT allows patients to actually take video of
themselves using the medicine."
MiDOT is an application designed by Emocha that enables patients to inform their doctors when they've taken their tuberculosis medication. The app's importance can't be overstated considering just how critical it is that doctors know when their patients have used the medication. Those who have tuberculosis have to take medicine at least once a week, typically for three to nine months.
Tuberculosis is a diseases that affects the lungs of millions of people. In fact, in 2012 alone, nearly 9 million people contracted tuberculosis, reported James McIntosh of Medical New Daily. While doctors now use antibiotics to treat tuberculosis, it still needs to be highly monitored because it's become resistant to some drugs. That's where mobile and video monitoring comes into play.
MiDOT's video features allow patients to film themselves using the medicine. They then send this to their doctors who can monitor how it's taken. This saves them tremendous amounts of time because, as The Baltimore Sun points out, doctors can focus on other tasks and treat other patients. It may also save patients time by reducing the number of doctor visits as well.
Emoca Mobile Health recently landed contracts in Contra Costa, Fresno and Meced counties in California. These counties will now be using Emoca's application to help better service tuberculosis patients.
Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen said the current health care system isn't patient-friendly but that technology can help fix it.
"Our health care system is, unfortunately, not designed with the patient at the center. It's not an effective system to have a person come to the clinic every day, wait in line, sign in, get their paperwork done – just to watch them take medications," Wen said. "That's why technology can be helpful in increasing tracking and increasing flexibility and availability of treatment for patients."
Sebastian Seiguer, Emoca's co-founder and CEO, said the app should continue to see success in Maryland, Texas and California because these states "have strong advocates who are customers, and they're the type of customers who are going to improve the product."
The possibilities of mobile health applications are endless. The Baltimore Sun indicated other situations where doctors could monitor patients who contracted measles or Ebola.
"We had to monitor returning travelers taking their temperature daily. Similarly with measles you have to contact them daily and ask if they have symptoms," said Dr. Louise McNitt, the county health department's communicable disease controller, according to the news source.
The future of health care may very well be mobile, and miDOT is leading the way.