Smartphone Physical Debuts at TEDMED 2013

Hundreds of attendees have been lining up to receive a one-of-a-kind “smartphone physical” at TEDMED.

The futuristic checkup, which generally takes under about 10 minutes and is entirely powered by smartphone-based devices, was developed by Johns Hopkins medical student and Medgadget editor Shiv Gaglani, in tandem with Nurture by Steelcase.  It includes nine quantitative and qualitative measures from body analysis, blood pressure and lung function measurement to carotid artery visualization.

Mark Wilcox, first-year medical student at Johns Hopkins, uses a Withings blood pressure monitor with TEDMED Delegate Anita Samarth.

Data collected from participants will be uploaded for a big-picture look at the health of the TEDMED community. Many who had the checkup said it helped them visualize their health status and improved their understanding of the process.

“You can see exactly what the doctor saw,” said Laura Philips, CEO of WellGen, Inc., based in New York. “You’re looking at the blood vessels in your own eye and the doctor is telling you what she’s seeing. All of a sudden you know what they’ve been looking for all these years.”

“It does help you connect and give context to all that information. Not just from a medical background, but also as a human experience. It engages you in a new way. How do you make sense of your own health data?” said Stacy McCarthy, President of San Francisco Bay-based Learning Design Network, Inc.

The checkups were conducted in an “Exam Room of the Future,” developed by Nurture, who also featured a “Social Mind Map” next door where participants could record brief immediate reactions to the physical. They also scribbled comments about their last traditional checkup, which ranged from “Took a half-day” and “totally unnecessary” to simply, “$300.”