Title: Using Mobile Devices to Quantify Traditionally Qualitative Health Measures
Advisors: Shwetak Patel and Jacob Wobbrock
Supervisory Committee: Shwetak Patel (co-Chair), Jacob Wobbrock (co-Chair), Katherine Steele (GSR, ME), James Fogarty, and Kurtis Heimerl
Abstract: The path to getting treatment for a medical condition typically begins with an observation made with one of the five human senses, whether by a physician or the patient themselves.
The person may feel warm to the touch, hear a wheezing in their cough, or see that their skin is pale. These observations are often qualitative and subjective, which can lead an untrained person to ignore their own symptoms and neglect treatment until their condition worsens.
Although medical devices exist for quantifying such observations or detecting their underlying causes, they are often not deployed to the general population due to cost and burden of use. For my thesis, I propose that the qualitative health measures convenient for some can be made quantitative for all with little additional burden by examining the ways that medical specialists use their human senses and replicating them through smartphone sensors. My work focuses on how the smartphone camera can be used in place of visual inspection to quantify diagnostic observations of the eye. These projects cover a variety of medical issues, including glaucoma, traumatic brain injuries, and pancreatic cancer. After I describe my projects in detail, I outline the work I expect to complete for my dissertation. Beyond iterating on my current projects, this plan includes interviews where I hope to gather design recommendations from different stakeholders in mobile health (e.g., doctors, physicians, patients, and non-patients) and understand their perspectives on how and when smartphones should be used for diagnosis.