Hospitals advised to end mobile phone bans

The question of the usage of mobile phones (as well as wireless equipment) in hospitals is always an interesting one.

According to this article, England’s Department of Health has issued new guidelines to hospitals, advising them to consider allowing “more liberal use of mobile phones”.

Under the new guidelines areas of hospitals where mobile phone use is banned could become the exception rather than the norm. Bans will remain in place in areas where critical care equipment is susceptible to electro magnetic interference.

“The MHRA recognises that mobile phones provide a practical way for patients to keep in touch with friends and relatives during their hospital stay. We welcome the clarification in guidance on the use of mobile phones in non critical areas.”explains Clive Bray, director of Device Technology and Safety at the MHRA.

However, it seems that in addition to pure convenience (of communication)  the use of mobile phone can actually improve health monitoring.

According to this article,  researchers at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) have developed a cell phone prototype that can monitor the condition of HIV and malaria patients, as well as test water quality in undeveloped areas or disaster sites.

Known as LUCAS (Lensless Ultra-wide-field Cell monitoring Array platform based on Shadow imaging), has now been installed in both a cell phone and a webcam. Both devices acquire an image in the same way, using a short wavelength blue light to illuminate a blood, saliva or other fluid sample. LUCAS captures an image of the microparticles in the solution using a sensor array.

With the convergance of technologies, alot of commercial technologies can be utilise as alternatives (or low cost) to exisiting commercial variantes. I look forward to what 2009 has to bring in these area.

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