Stroke and technology: an interview with Jonathan Singer

Written by Lauren Pulling

We recently featured the review ‘Stroke and technology: prescribing mHealth apps for healthcare providers, patients and caregivers – a brief, selected review’ from our partner journal, Future Neurology. Here, the paper’s co- author, Jonathan Singer from SUNY Downstate Medical Center & Stroke Center, NY, USA, gives us some background on the research and its future implications.
First, please could you tell us a little about your research background and what led you to become interested in the role of technology in stroke management and care?

Long before having to make a choice regarding higher education, I had a passion and drive to work in the healthcare field. I have been fortunate to team with DrSteven Levine (SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Stroke Center) and improve the quality of life for stroke patients through research. I believe the field of medicine, not only neurology, can be profoundly impacted through technology.  As hospitals continue to transition into a patient-centered model, technology can enhance the movement to improve patient care. I believe that implementing technology to introduce resources for stroke patients and their caregivers can help with their management and care. Informal care giving is growing at an exponential rate with reliance on providers who have little to no experience. Technology needs to be implemented that will help them to manage the healthcare needs of stroke patients, as stroke is the number one cause of disability. In addition to managing care, there are numerous ways in which technology can improve healthcare outcomes.

Please could you give us an overview of you recent paper, ‘Stroke and technology: prescribing mHealth apps for healthcare providers, patients and caregivers – a brief, selected review’?

Our selected review examines current research that has identified mHealth use with stroke patients. There are mHealth apps that are already making a difference for stroke patients, but there is much room for growth. mHealth technology is in its infancy. My last sentence in the review really sums up the relationship between technology and medicine; “As with Star Trek, science fiction today is the science of tomorrow.”

What implications do you anticipate your research could have on future research in the field?

Hopefully, this selected review opens the door for all researchers in the medical field by showing how a small number of mHealth apps are making an impact for stroke patients. Our review has outlined how researchers need to continue to implement mHealth technology and how current studies have barely touched the surface. Although the selected review is focused on stroke, it can be generalized to the entire medical field.

Looking ahead, where do you hope the field will be in the next 5–10 years?

As I mentioned in the Star Trek reference, ideas that were once thought to be impervious or impossible may in fact be the future of mHealth technology. Medical mistakes have been reported as the third cause of death worldwide and this must improve in the future. I believe that the cornerstone of this improvement is research on technology and how it should be implemented in the clinical field. Partnering in Dr Levine’s lab has opened the door to the importance of mHealth technology in medicine. It will be exciting to see the future of mHeath technology!

As a member of Neurology Central, you can access this Future Neurology article here, and can also access all content from our partnered journals for free.