Diabetes is a common problem around the world with over 345 million people worldwide according to a Qualcomm article which talks about trials of a wireless glucose meter which they are trialling on some of their own staff.
Diabetes New Zealand says there are around 208,000 people in New Zealand with Type 1 or 2 diabetes. They say it is epidemic with up to 50 more people being diagnosed EVERY DAY!
Type 1 people typically require insulin by injection every day. If this does not happen there is a risk that they will become disoriented and risk going into a coma condition.
Most people with this condition are well organised and will have the resources they need on them and should be wearing a MedicAlert bracelet or necklace, or have a wallet card identifying them and their condition.
Unfortunately there are times when people don’t have their insulin with them, or don’t manage their dosage according to their diet or activities and can then find themselves with a problem.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a mobile application (the phone being the one thing that everyone has on them) that could assist with this condition. For example:
- An application that would allow the user to find their nearest pharmacy, A&E or hospital and provide them with directions to get there based on the GPS location which is known to the smartphone. It could also allow them at the press of a button to dial emergency services or the location they are going to depending on the severity.
- It could have a panic button that sends a message to an emergency services call centre, identifying the person, their condition and their current or last known location. It could also allow that service to call them and have the phone automatically answer in speaker-phone mode if they are unable to answer the call themselves.
- The phone could also be preprogrammed to message the person to remind them when their next insulin dosage is due and require that they respond to confirm they have done so.
- The national Diabetes Association could also have a number of volunteers running another version of the application, so that if a person was in trouble, they could locate the nearest available volunteer, also identifiable by the GPS on their mobile and have them on their way to assist.
There have been several companies set up solutions like this around proprietary devices which are expensive, especially in the numbers required. Most people would not be able to afford those devices and they are another thing to carry around, whereas the mobile is ubiquitous and there are devices for all budgets today.
Effectively a project like this is relatively easy to put together and with funding from a drug company or Government, could save lives and significant medical cost by moving the ambulance to the top of the cliff. Internationally there have been some apps developed, but from what I can tell they tend to be more about managing dosage than the features I have mentioned above. Here is a link to a few of them.
Do you know of any developments in this field?