Physical by Smartphone

Companies are developing miniature medical devices that tap the power of smartphones so you could almost get a complete physical — without the paper gown or even a visit to the doctor’s office.

Blood pressure? Just plug the arm cuff into the phone for a quick reading.
Heart OK? Put your fingers in the right spot, and the squiggly rhythm of an EKG appears on the phone’s screen.

Plug in a few more devices and you could have photos of your eardrum and the back of your eye, listen to your heartbeat, chart your lung function, even get a sonogram.

This mobile medicine also might help doctors care for patients in new ways. For more, check out the video below from last month’s TedMed conference in Washington, DC and click through to learn more about how Verizon is using technology to improve healthcare

After surgery, a robot may be at your side In quest for efficiency, savings, hospital is testing at-home mechanical monitors

When Erin Tally took Aidan, her 2-year-old son, home from Children’s Hospital Boston on the day after his urinary surgery, she brought along a new friend: a 4-foot-6, 17-pound, two-wheeled robot to help care for her recovering child. Overthe course of  two weeks and five video consultations, the robot, made by Vgo Communications Inc., of Nashua, eliminated the need for Tally to drive Aidan into Boston every three days for post-surgical checkups.

Vgo Communications worked with Verizon Wireless’s Innovation Program center in Waltham, where the telecom company helps incubate new technologies, to embed Verizon’s cellular communications technology into the robots. Through its connection to the cellular network, a Vgo does not need to rely on Internet broadband connections.

“Eventually, I see a whole fleet of these robots being sent home with patients,’’ said Dr. Hiep T. Nguyen, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and director of Children’s Hospital’s Robotic Surgery Research and Training Center. “With this technology, we’re going to be able to replace hospital monitoring with home-based monitoring.’’

For more information, please see boston.com.