My new story on “geomedicine” examines an emerging field in which doctors and other caregivers use new mapping tools and “Big Data” to gain insights into their patients’ lives so they can offer better treatment and advice. The story features a new asthma inhaler that has a GIS sensor for mapping the patient’s every puff. The information is sent back to a server, where the doctor and patient — and in some cases eventually asthma researchers too — can login and see where and when the inhaler was used. The idea is that patients will better understand what triggers their symptoms while doctors will be able to “see” when a patient’s condition is deteriorating “in real time” and intervene quickly to turn things around.
The Asthmapolis inhaler is just one of many new high tech upgrades to healthcare. Others use social medial platforms to share information, not just about illnesses, but about environmental exposures, as well as mapping farmers’ markets, healthy eateries, parks and other recreational outlets. It’s proponents say the geo-mapping can help us understand the environmental factors driving an individual’s health problems and then map out ways to address them. The story ran this morning in the Washington Post. Read it here.