Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mobile Applications for Tracking Diseases and Saving Newspapers

I came across a very interesting new iPhone application from today called Outbreaks Near Me. It was developed by John Brownstein, as assistant professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School along with colleagues at MIT's Media Lab.

This application combines GPS coordinates with LBS (location base services) that report on disease outbreaks near your location. You are able to set up the application to alert you whenever a disease outbreak occurs near you.

HealthMap brings together many different sources of data to provide you with a unified view of outbreaks of infectious diseases. The iPhone application even lets you submit your own reports including digital photographs of disease outbreaks. Don't ask me what digital images you would submit. This is very interesting to me as I am currently writing a report on telemedicine and mobile health monitoring. In fact, the research firm Gartner reports that by 2012 mobile health monitoring will be a Top 10 mobile application.

I find this application and concept very intriguing. It is a way of having people quickly share information and news, from the street or hospital bed, about specific health related events that are quickly displayed on a map for all to see.

This concept may also relate to newspapers. I have been pondering the fate of newspapers for some time. I am a big fan of the Sunday Edition of the New York Times with my hot drink on a Sunday morning. I suffer the thought of newspapers struggling to survive. I wonder if people reporting events from their neighborhoods and locations around the world on iPhones to a central web server which produces a form of Wiki-Newspaper is the next evolutionary step in news.

I can see it now. Your iPhone's GPS coordinates automatically configures your local edition of the Wiki-Newspaper and the news is collected and aggregated from people and news sources from all around your location.

What are your thoughts?

Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobile Strategist, Sales, Marketing and Business Consultant