Friday, April 04, 2008

Cell phone application has potential for being useful tool for blind diabetics

Its been interesting to watch cell phones evolve into the mini computers that they have become. Today’s mobile phones are running more and more computer applications and letting their users do computing tasks without the computer.

There is a story in today’s Houston Chronicle reporting on how
more people are using their phones for data services.
(The Chronicle maintains its links for only a limited time, so I apologize if too many days have lapsed and this link no longer works.)

One particularly nifty tool, which I learned about in this article, is a glucometer application. As blindness is one of the serious side effects that can stem from diabetes, I’m wondering if this application would work with a cell phone screen reader such as Talks or Mobile Speak? If so, this nifty and useful gadget can allow all diabetics the freedom to travel with one less piece of equipment.

From the article:
“Through his Wellness Wireless company, the CEO and president of Diabetes Centers of America has embedded a glucometer into a cell phone so diabetics can automatically track their blood sugar when they check it. The data also gets shared with nurses back at the office. If blood sugar is especially high, a patient will get a message from a nurse asking whether he feels OK. If he says no, the nurse will call him with instructions. They might even have a video conversation.”

“Wellness Wireless also offers a health-based application for nondiabetics that uses other metrics such as blood pressure, height, weight, age and gender. The health information is used to recommend exercise plans and meals, and companies including NutriSystem and Whole Foods pay to suggest recipes and shopping lists.”

While it doesn’t appear to be initially constructed as assistive technology, if this glucometer works with the screen readers as I suggest, then it would definitely become just that. It would allow blind diabetics the same information that they currently get from their specialized talking glucometers. And, with the connectivity with the nurses that the program provides, that makes it even more useful than the glucometer.

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