Next generation photo sharing: diagnosing disease via mobile phone

Earlier this week we learned that Facebook purchased the photo-sharing app Instagram for $1 billion. Clearly there is a demand for online photo sharing — with friends, family, potential customers, and other audiences. But what if you could use that technology to save lives?

Josh Nesbit, CEO of Medic Mobile and a member of the board at Chapel Hill-based IntraHealth, thinks it could be coming soon. Yesterday he appeared on WUNC’s The State of Things to talk about his work and “switchpoints” in global health. One billion people across the world don’t have access to basic health care, but more than 90 percent of the population gets a mobile phone signal.  On the show, Nesbit mentioned a photo-sharing platform in development that may allow health workers in the field to get a tuberculosis diagnosis for a patient via their mobile phone. When you hear Nesbit talk about the remote places he’s been to, where one physician is tasked with caring for hundreds of thousands of patients, some of whom travel as many as 100 miles to be seen, you can imaging the power of such mobile technologies (Listen to the podcast of yesterday’s interview).

Nesbit will be one of more than 30 speakers at SwitchPoint, an unusual gathering of global thinkers and doers merging ideas, sharing breakthroughs, and finding solutions to save lives in the developing world. Hosted by IntraHealth, Switchpoint will take place on April 20 in Saxapahaw, NC at the Haw River Ballroom. SwitchPoint will feature leaders  and entrepreneurs who know how to get people across sectors thinking differently about opportunities to create, innovate, and collaborate to save lives and support health and well-being in developing countries.

Speakers work or have worked for industry leaders including GOOD, Google, Red Hat, USAID, Medic Mobile, Development Seed, MapBox, New Kind, iHub, Ashoka, the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, Grameen Intel Social Business, the UN Foundation, the World Bank and Cisco.

To learn more or to register for the event, go to

- Lisa

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