I agree: diagnosis is only one (arguably less important) area where mobile technologies are going to benefit us. I think the real opportunity lies in transforming the way patients live with their illnesses after diagnosis. More generally, mobile technologies have the potential to dramatically improve the quality of our health by empowering patients to be more engaged in their care. I think the current focus on just collecting data for the purpose of diagnosis is misguided. What we really need to be focusing on is how to engage patients. Patients need to own and control their data, they need to have their data presented in timely, convenient, and actionable formats, and they need to be empowered to work with their doctors (and other care providers) through ongoing collaboration (not patriarchal episodic care). This is the primary focus of the group I work with at the MIT Media Lab
. We are working to build an open-source platform for patient-centered care research
, and recently completed an event where we invited students, health professionals, and innovators from industry to build prototypes of patient-empowering solutions. You can see a brief video summarizing the event and projects here: http://newmed.media.mit.edu/blog/jom/2012/02/23/health-and-wellness-innovation-2012-intro-video
. Smartphones are indeed going to help start a boom in DIY medicine, but not just by becoming pocket-diagnosis machines. Rather, our phones are going to help us take control of our health.