This week at the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) conference in Tampa, Florida MobiHealthNews sat down with Marty Cooper, the inventor of the modern cellphone to discuss mobile health’s future, tech hype, current challenges and more. The New York Times’ technology columnist David Pogue interviewed Cooper on-stage at the event during a plenary session this past Sunday, but their conversation only briefly touched on mobile health. Cooper is co-founder and chairman of GreatCall, which offers the Jitterbug phone service. He is also executive chairman and co-founder of ArrayComm, a wireless antenna solutions provider.
MobiHealthNews: How do you describe the mobile health opportunity?
Marty Cooper: The introduction of mobile telephony, the cell phone, was a revolution. A revolution changes your behavior—makes you live differently. And there’s no question that people live differently because they have cell phones. But I think there are going to be two new revolutions, both of which have already started. The one that’s most underway now is mobile health, also called telemedicine. The other one is social networking.
Telemedicine is really important because our healthcare system is broken. In fact, when I talk to the experts they tell me we don’t have a “healthcare system” we have a “sick care system”. The focus of our entire system today is on curing disease. There is a belief that all diseases are preventable and that’s really profound. We don’t know how to stop all of them, but that vision is a realizable one. The beginnings of telemedicine, are things like remote diagnosis and things of that nature. And those things are starting to become very common, but the dream is being able to monitor people continuously. I get a physical every five years whether I need it or not. And all the doctor gets is a snapshot. Most of it is meaningless. Instead of having an annual physical, with telemedicine you can have one every minute. Then we’d have a reference point for every measurement. That way when things go awry you can anticipate somebody getting a disease and stop it before it becomes a disease. That’s the dream. Keep reading>>