(p. A15) One type of mobile device that is likely to appear first in the Far East and be widely adopted there is the digital stethoscope. This device is able to detect changes in pitch and soon will be able to detect asthma in children, pneumonia in the elderly, and, in conjunction with low-cost portable electrocardiographs, cardiopulmonary disease.
An additional advantage is that this part of the world–particularly India and Africa–has limited regulation, which makes it much easier to launch these kinds of health-care tools. In India and much of Africa, there are few government drug agencies or big insurance companies to throw up barriers.
Companies that make medical devices and their accompanying smartphone apps could establish themselves almost overnight. Then, once they have built a large, profitable base of users, they could consider jumping through the legal and regulatory hoops to bring the technology to developed countries.
For the full commentary, see:
Michael S. Malone. “Silicon Valley Trails in Medical Tech; With smartphones everywhere and little regulation, India and Africa are set to lead..” The Wall Street Journal (Mon., July 24, 2017): A15.
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date July 23, 2017.)