A little bit on technology and how it is impacting health and patients. As an admitted techno-geek, I am passionately following mobile technology and where it is popping up in health.
A cool app that I recently downloaded is Instant Heart Rate for my iPhone 4. This is a free app and requires no external hardware. According to their website, it works by placing your finger over the iPhone's camera and it "tracks color changes in the light that passes through your finger." I used it and found the readings to be fairly accurate. It is also available for Android as well.
The basic app is free and for a $0.99 upgrade it adds features allowing you to document what you were doing at the time of recording, viewing graphed results over time, and auto-posting the results to Twitter.
As a clinician, apps such as this can help patients keep accurate data to review with their providers at their visit. It is exciting to watch this technology develop. Today it is heart rate monitoring and ECG recordings with tomorrow bringing endless possibilities. It is certainly in clinicians best interest to be aware of these apps since patients are using them. Further, perhaps it is an opportunity for clinicians to become involved with this developing technology and help steer it to ensure evidence-based and clinically sound apps.