Aerotel has announced the GeoSkeeper, a Global Positioning System-enabled, wrist-mounted unit that alerts a call center when you press its panic button. The call center can also track your position and raise an alert when you leave predefined zones (such as your school). In addition to the GeoSkeeper (can you parse that name? I can't parse that name), Aerotel makes a variety of wireless medical monitoring devices suitable for "mobile patients." All of these products could, in theory, be combined to produce a comprehensive location/diagnostic "über-box."
I got interested in location-based tele-monitoring a few years ago when I suddenly found myself with children (and discovered what paranoia really is); I've become partial to the idea of remote medical monitoring as I head (at seeming lightspeed) toward age 50. So I find Aerotel's product line intriguing.
The idea behind this technology is simple: Move diagnostic equipment out of the doctor's office and into the field where it can monitor your health continuously. There are four advantages to this approach: first, you visit your doctor less often.
Second, the doctor would have a continuous history of your health rather than the occasional office snapshot that gets taken today. Said snapshot can be inaccurate because (among other reasons) of advantage number three:
"White Coat Hypertension," a syndrome that kicks in when you see a doctor or nurse and become agitated (because of those traumatic childhood inoculations). It may cause significantly elevated pulse or blood pressure. Readings taken over time and "in the field" may be more accurate.
Finally, of course, it provides an automatic alarm system should you suddenly find yourself in distress, plus it pinpoints you for the ambulance.
Exciting times: Fewer office visits, better diagnosis and the chance to scratch that powerful "geek itch" with wearable (perhaps even implantable!) digital diagnostic technology. In fact, that may be where we see early take-up–aging boomer nerds, obsessing over their health and (like all nerds) craving the latest silicon.
I think I'll sign up now and beat the rush.
See also: ZDNet's HealthCare IT blog.