Topol tags genomic sequencing, mobile imaging as future of mHealth

In his keynote address at the 2011 mHealth Summit in Washington D.C., this week, West Wireless Health Institute Vice Chair Eric Topol laid out what he sees as the bleeding edge and the next frontier for mHealth: genomic sequencing "at the point of care." Topol specifically mentioned DNA Electronics' genomic analyzer, noting that new apps and plug-ins are coming to the market soon that can provide a patient's genotype.

That will allow physicians to immediately flag a patient who might be allergic to a drug, or to identify a patient who might be the right candidate for a little-known new medication.

According to Topol, the next step likely will entail genomics being scaled down to the smartphone level, and made available in the field.

"This is the beginning of the genome sequencing era--it's a critical part of the mHealth revolution," he said. Topol pointed to the next year or so as a moment of "super-convergence" for health and technology, particularly with the intersection of mobile imaging, genomics and remote patient sensors.

Topol, who told the audience that he hadn't used a stethoscope in two years, also made a point to demonstrate his preferred tool--an ultrasound plug-in on his iPhone, on which he produced a viewable image of his own heart. The audience's reaction: applause across the room.