Live from the mHealth Summit, Washington DC: Eric Topol (pictured), a mobile health thinker and vice chairman of the West Wireless Health Institute, gave an upbeat runthrough of mobile health’s achievements and then painted a vision of how he sees the “extraordinary convergence” between the two industries progressing in the future.  Speaking during a keynote at the summit he said the collision between smartphone penetration, social networking and healthcare has led to online data sharing platforms such as PatientsLikeMe, the rise of fitness devices such as Jawbone’s UP, numerous wellness apps in the App Store, and even iPhone-based ECGs such as Alivecor’s.

In the future, Topol predicts, genomes will be an important part of mobile health. He argued why a handheld genome analyser could be such a useful device. Of the 350 million diabetes sufferers in the world, 25 percent are resistant to a leading medication for its treatment which the analyser could detect. He also predicted that the availability of heart attack and cancer-detecting apps are “just a matter of time”. Combined with embedded sensors, these apps could give early warning of bodily failure such as a cracked artery.