TEDMED highlights innovations in mobile health as experts predict the stethoscope's demise

The more we hear about the revived TEDMED conference, the more we wish we had gone to the San Diego area last week to cover it--and not just because it took place in the historic Hotel del Coronado. The event brought together some big-name speakers, including CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, magician David Blaine, Qualcomm chief Paul Jacobs, genomics pioneer J. Craig Venter and even domestic goddess Martha Stewart. But we were most interested in some of the wireless and mobile innovations being demonstrated there.

But the name that really caught our attention here at FierceMobileHealthcare was Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, chief medical officer of the West Wireless Health Institute in La Jolla, Calif., and chief academic officer at Scripps Health in San Diego. Topol, according to an account from Xconomy, said that the time has come for the handheld ultrasound to render the humble stethoscope obsolete."In 2016, doctors will not be walking around with stethoscopes around their necks," Topol said, while dropping a stethoscope into a trash can. (2016 just happens to be the 200th anniversary of the stethoscope.)

Topol also noted that the cell phone has made a profound difference in the lives of literally billions of people around the world in the last 20 years. Now he expects wireless health technologies to have a similar effect in the coming two decades. People already check their email and browse the web on mobile phones. "In the future, you can check your vital signs--and I mean all your vital signs," Topol said. He then showed an iPhone displaying heartbeat, blood pressure, body temperature and oxygen saturation readings.

To learn more about Topol's forecast and the TEDMED conference:
- check out this Xconomy story, via San Diego News Network

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