There are indeed many ways that one can consider ministry as an effort that can be augmented by the use of mobile technology. In that ream of thought, we usually consider things such as meditative content, evangelism, and on the fringes, educational pursuits. But, what if the mobile minister were also able to deliver healing as a part of that demonstration of Christ’s love? What then would mobile ministry look like if it were not simply speaking a word, but actually diagnosing the illness and putting forth accepted medical practices for rendering healing? What then would mobile ministry look like? I think a report shared to us from NBC News makes it about as plan as can be:
[from the transcript] reporter: dr. eric topol has long been one of the world’s foremost cardiologists. he has now become the foremost expert in the exploding field of wireless medicine. and this explosion, he says, is about to make our health care better and cheaper. watch what he does with his cell phone .
>> we’ll just pop this is phone into it like that.
>> reporter: he shows how simply his modified iphone produces a cardiogram for a patient.
>> so you just put your fingers on it. there you go. and in a second — you know, in the first or second it stabilizes.
>> reporter: the device was approved by the fda in december and is now sold to physicians for $199. topol tells his patient he just saved a $100 technician’s fee.
>> so are we close to using this to say i’m going to diagnose you and prescribe four or five apps instead of four or five medications?
>> well, these days i’m actually prescribing a lot more apps than i am medications. you can take the phone and make it a lab on a chip . you can do blood tests , saliva tests, urine tests , all kinds of things. sweat tests through your phone. this is a powerful device.
>> and we’ll just have you hold that on there like that.
>> reporter: topol ‘s patient, ron thompson , is dealing with several significant heart issues.
>> you saw that on a phone. didn’t you just — weren’t you just amazed the first time you saw that?
We’ve piggybacked on the discussions happening around the web in respect to mobile health. And certainly, there’s a lot that’s being discussed in respect to using mobile devices and services at the point of diagnosis and prevention. However, one of the aspects of mobile health that we’ve rarely talked about is the idea of wellness.
Wellness, or your state of physical, mental, and spiritual health is sometimes passed off as an area that only “new age spiritualists” think about, but I think that we’d be missing a bit about “carrying for this temple” if we didn’t highlight it in part.
This hits home a good bit for me because as I love to get out on my bicycle, I find that I’ve not nearly ridden as much in my time in a rural area as I have in urban areas, despite the lack of traffic. To wit, I’ve not felt as good physically and mentally as I know that I can be. To the point, right before sitting to pen this, I logged (on my mobile using Sports Tracker) a ride where I wen’t 13.5 miles in about 1hr 5min. Last fall, I was doing 17 miles in that same amount of time. Physically, that’s a problem, and I know its effected me mentally and spiritually.
There are applications like Nokia’s Wellness Diary that go beyond looking at a workout regime, but will also help you recognize sleeping and eating patterns so that you can make adjustments to your lifestyle to improve not just your quality of life, but also how you are able to respond to change all around you.
So, let’s open the discussion on mobile wellness by looking at what you do to keep yourself on track whether with specific mobile software to guide you or a service that helps you track. Let’s spur one another not just towards preaching the Gospel with words, but having the wholeness of life that lives it as well.
One of the areas where mobile seems to be making some headway as a catalyst towards ministry engagements is in the media field- and especially in areas where traditional means of data collection, analysis, and even diagnosis is not as able to happen. And while I know that one day we’ll get to the point where there will be sensors in or around our mobile devices that will correlate to health and wellness, it is really neat to see some of the work that is happening around that field right now.
The 3G Doctor is probably the premier website discussion medial and mobile. This site isnt’t just a technology demonstration either, it is actual doctors in the field, experimenting and collaborating to learn and share the lessons about what’s possible given the abilities of mobile in areas where traditional health managment just can’t happen. Check out the 3G Doctor Blog for some additinal analysis and insights in this growing field.
The field is commonly referred to as mHealth (mobile health) and covers everything from applications, to services, to regional and global policy development. mHealth initiatives don’t just seek to wave a flag that mobiles can access emergency health services, but look to embed an entire ecosystem of health and wellness practices which as fostered in some respects by mobile devices or the mobile web. What’s been most interesting in the mHealth arena has been some of the specific regional topics which have been addressed: pregancy topics and prenatal care, nutrition, AIDS prevention and education, domestic violence, and excercise and wellness.