The proliferation of cheap, connected smartphones in developing countries has the potential of transforming healthcare.
New users have access to information, such as through services such as MomConnect. Phones can support telemedicine. Smartphones can even be used as medical devices themselves.
One recent example is the use of smartphones to support inexpensive ultrasound devices in Uganda. Doctors there, armed with a phone linked to a $2,000 handheld scanner, can diagnose pneumonia, infections, cancers, and other conditions. The devices are built to be durable for use in remote regions. Images can be sent to radiologists in other cities (or countries) for review. Many users are now seeing their first medical device ever — and it is the extension of a phone.