Dr. Leslie Saxon’s Quest: iTunes For The Quantified Self

Feeling under the weather? In the future, you’ll take out your smartphone–not to call your doctor, but to check your own vitals.

What if monitoring your heart rate and blood pressure was as easy (and addictive) as checking Facebook updates? That’s the future Dr. Leslie Saxon is working toward at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. As Executive Director of the university’s Center for Body Computing, Saxon develops health care apps that provide personalized medical data to her patients in real-time. One app takes an EKG reading from an iPhone case, which reads the data from a patient’s fingertips. 

“I imagine this medical iTunes,” Dr. Saxon says, emphasizing that there’s no reason medical data shouldn’t appear on your smartphone right alongside sports scores and Words with Friends. “The sooner in medicine we let (patients) learn themselves and start to look at their data and understand it, the more sophisticated our own dialogue will be.”

Her latest venture is everyheartbeat, a website that will aggregate heartbeat data from around the globe to search for patterns while also warning individuals of potential health issues.