Cell phones improving results for wounded soldiers

The trial of cell-phone-based health tracking system mCare among soldiers seems to be going well, according to recent comments by U.S. Army Col. Ron Porapatich of the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center in Fort Detrick, Md. Wounded veterans in the program who receive text messages via cellphone from their providers have better follow-up care and feel more connected to their caregivers, Porapatich told USA Today.

It's the first indication that the Army's year-long investigation of cell-phone based health outreach is yielding positive results. The system allowed injured solders who are recovering at home to stay in contact with their case managers and provide daily feedback on their condition. The system can be programmed to send automatic daily text messages asking about a solder's pain levels or sleep.

Text messaging, according to Porapatich, is more promising than traditional email because soldiers on deployment often are too busy to check their email regularly.

Soldiers might also benefit from another mobile health project just announced by the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Scientists there are building a prototype handheld device to detect mild brain injuries, such as concussions. It's a crucial technology in the field, where mild concussion can go undetected early on, but develop into severe symptoms later, its creators say.

A concussion creates chemical changes in the brain, which are transmitted via biological markers in a patient's blood. The device take a small blood sample, and reads those biological markers to determine the level of injury.

To learn more:
- read this USA Today article
- check out this News & Record piece