Mobile health applications of breath analysis: challenges and solutions
The world of healthcare can be seen as dynamic, often an area where technology and science meet to consummate a greater good for humanity. This relationship has been working well for the last century as evident by the average life expectancy change. For the greater of the last five decades the average life expectancy at birth increased globally by almost 20 years. In the United States specifically, life expectancy has grown from 50 years in 1900 to 78 years in 2009. That is a 76% increase in just over a century. As great as this increase sounds for humanity it means there are soon to be real issues in the healthcare world. A larger older population will need more healthcare services but have fewer young professionals to provide those services. Technology and science will need to continue to push the boundaries in order to develop and provide the solutions needed to continue providing the aging world population sufficient healthcare. One solution sure to help provide a brighter future for healthcare is mobile health (m-health). M-health can help provide a means for healthcare professionals to treat more patients with less work expenditure and do so with more personalized healthcare advice which will lead to better treatments. This paper discusses one area of m-health devices specifically; human breath analysis devices. The current laboratory methods of breath analysis and why these methods are not adequate for common healthcare practices will be discussed in more detail. Then more specifically, mobile breath analysis devices are discussed. The topic will encompass the challenges that need to be met in developing such devices, possible solutions to these challenges, two real examples of mobile breath analysis devices and finally possible future directions for m-health technologies.