"In the future, mobile phones will be provided with sensor capabilities for health information such as a thermometer and blood pressure meter." Asked about the possibilities that a mobile phone will act as a healthcare terminal, NTT DoCoMo, Inc.'s spokesperson replied at a press conference held on April 23, 2007 for the announcement of the FOMA 904i series.
Recently, attention has been focused on preventive medical care (disease prevention) based on personal healthcare. In a bid to reduce increasing medical costs, Japanese government has been working on formulating strategies to promote preventive medical care. In such circumstances, it is predicted that devices capable of measuring health conditions at home will become pervasive (see also the cover story "Attacking Medical and Health Applications" in the August 28 issue of Nikkei Electronics). Among such devices, a mobile phone, which more and more people have come to use, has a huge potential.
"A mobile phone functioning as a healthcare terminal is certainly one of the future options that we are considering," explains the spokesperson. The company is weighing a function, for example, to take a user's temperature using a built-in sensor and record and show it in a graph so that the user can check and manage the data. A mobile phone is also expected to be used for the management of data measured with, e.g., an external blood pressure meter or pulse meter in addition to a thermometer.
On April 17, 2007, NTT Data Corp. announced that it will launch a test of healthcare service using mobile phones. The service tested will store measurement data obtained by external healthcare equipment in a mobile phone. In the future, however, measurement itself is likely to be performed on a mobile phone, as in the comment mentioned at the top.