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Mayo goes cellular with medical tips

By Bob Freund

The Post-Bulletin

On the go and struggling with a deep cold?

Flip open the cell phone and check your symptoms with Mayo Clinic.

The clinic and wireless software firm Digital Cyclone Inc. now are sending Mayo’s medical know-how to customers of major cellular companies.

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You can’t talk instantly to an on-call doctor or nurse. But Mayo Clinic InTouch allows consumers to tap into Mayo’s health information bank via the cell phone for the first time.

The cell providers are selling the service for $2.99 a month, a written release from Minnetonka, Minn.-based Digital Cyclone, said this morning.

It’s Mayo, real-time, at the dial of the phone.

"We were interested in having this because it makes the same information that is available on (www.)MayoClinic.com available to people in their time of need," clinic spokesman Lee Aase said this morning.

Among the features:

  • Emergency Room Finder — offering location and one-touch dialing to a local emergency room, wherever you are. GPS-equipped phones also will guide you to the nearest ER.
  • Symptom Checker —advice to help decide when you need medical aid and when over-the-counter or other do-it-yourself remedies will work.
  • First aid — steps to take immediately in a medical crisis, including what not to do.
  • Health news videos — more than 100 short features, viewable on cell phone screens.

Mayo Clinic InTouch isn’t meant to be a substitute for medical care or a trauma advisor. "Obviously, If you’re having chest pains, you should call 911," Aase said.
The health information service first became available earlier this month on wireless giant Verizon, Aase said. Last week it debuted on Cingular Wireless, now known as AT&T; it will begin on Sprint within a few days and soon on Alltel Inc., which owns Midwest Wireless.

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