Future Of Health: DIY Check Up

Future Of Health: DIY Check Up

Consumer electronics such as mobile phones can be used by people to detect early warning signals related to illness and other medical conditions using simple biomedical inputs.

Scott Lachut, PSFK Labs
  • 2 august 2010


This post is part of a PSFK Consulting project aimed at providing insight into the Future of Health. DIY Check Up is one trend of fifteen that appears in our exploration of  how technology and access to information play a vital role in the ways that people will understand, manage and receive care whether that’s at home, in hospitals and clinics or in doctor’s offices.


Consumer electronics such as mobile phones can be used by people to detect early warning signals related to illness and other medical conditions using simple biomedical inputs. By periodically checking their personal wellness, users are able to better manage their own health before visiting or consulting a doctor.


  • At-Home convenience – Access to self-administered tests encourages better health awareness.
  • Empowering Citizens – People can rely less on outside help for managing illnesses and ask more informed questions during routine checkups.
  • Increased Choice – Interactive experiences can walk patients through diagnosis and treatments.
  • More Efficient Healthcare – Decreased time spent diagnosing non-critical illnesses at home enables health facilities to focus on more pressing cases.

Supporting Examples for DIY Check Up


Diagnose Disease Through Sound
A new iphone app being developed by Star Analytical Services is designed to diagnose respiratory disease using the sound of a cough. Users simply cough into the microphone; the acoustic properties of the sound are then compared against a database of coughs which indicate various maladies.


Mobile App Puts Therapist In Your Pocket
The Mobile therapy application being developed by Intel works by displaying a “mood map” on a user’s cell phone screen at random times during the day. Users tap the screen to indicate their current mood. Based on the information entered by the user, the app offers therapeutic exercises ranging from breathing visualizations and progressive muscle relaxation to useful ways to disengage from a stressful situation.


Low-Tech Self-Diagnosis Tool
Designers at Honeywell Technology Solutions in Bangalore have created a self-diagnosis tool for people living in rural India, empowering patients and helping doctors by aiding patients in accurately identifying their symptoms. The simple design consists of a set of rings, each listing symptoms, a disease chart and other information. The patient rotates the rings and chooses their symptoms by bringing them into a single line, below the marker. each symptom has a number printed on it. The user maps the disease code on the chart, and the chart provides tentative results: disease name, severity, next steps, diagnostic tests required to confirm the disease, the particular specialty of doctor they should see, and contact information for doctors and hospitals.


Detecting Potential Skin Cancer Indicators At Home
The Factor 61 concept by designer antonia Haaf is a home-use medical device made for the early detection of nodular melanoma. The user holds their thumb over a sensor and the device analyzes visual characteristics from skin abnormalities with image recognition technology, identifying potential indicators of skin cancer.


Interactive App For Diagnosing Back Pain
Pain Free Back is an iPhone application designed to provide individuals with a rudimentary diagnosis and treatment guide for lower back pain. The app takes sufferers through a personalized, guided discovery of potential causes of their pain and demonstrates simple and effective exercises to help relieve discomfort and improve spinal health.


App Provides Frontline Medical Consultation
US based WebMD has launched a free mobile application that lets users get basic medical information before going to a doctor. The app allows users to find local health providers, check symptoms and access basic drug and treatment information.

About PSFK’s Future Of Health Report


PSFK’s Future of Health Report details 15 trends that will impact health and wellness around the world. Simple advances such as off-the-grid energy and the introduction of gaming into healthcare service offerings sit alongside more future-forward developments such as bio-medical printing. The report includes concepts for UNICEF based on the trends provided by the world’s leading advertising and design agencies. It is our hope that this report will inspire your thinking and lead to services, applications and technologies which will allow for more available, quality healthcare.

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