Ronald Yap designs an app to track prostate health
CONCORD - Ron Yap jokingly says he was not looking to come up with the next Angry Birds app when he designed Prostate Pal.
For one, the app is free to download. And, two, it isn't a game. Far from it.
Prostate Pal and Bladder Pal are mobile apps designed to help people track their prostate and bladder health along with their health care provider.
'The bottom line is there are a lot of people in apps trying to make a buck off it. It's been a gold rush,' Yap said. 'I've taken a different tact.'
Yap may be technologically savvy, but he's got more at stake in this venture than designing mobile technology.
Dr. Ronald Yap, 37, is the director of the male urologic health program at Concord Hospital and an adjunct assistant professor of surgery at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. The apps are just another way he's helping people stay healthy.
Yap specializes in laser prostate surgery and is a volunteer for the Man to Man Prostate Cancer Support Group. He said he developed Prostate Pal and Bladder Pal, which were first available for free on the iTunes App Stores, as a way to help facilitate doctor-patient relationships to better monitor prostate and bladder health.
Apple recognized The Prostate Pal, which Yap developed on his own time, as a new and noteworthy medical app when it was recently released. An android version has also been released.
'Medicine tends to lag behind the rest of the world in terms of technology,' Yap said. 'These (apps) seem like the next level in mobile technology.'
Yap, who says Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is the man he most admires, found support and funding for his project from a patient, Dean LeBaron of New London, who worked through the Concord Hospital Trust.
Yap said close to 3,000 people have downloaded the apps. And, while the majority of those people are from the United States, the apps have been downloaded in 65 countries.
Yap, who lives in Concord, believes the use of mobile technology will allow for better doctor-patient relationships and help cut the cost of health care.
'This is just the start of it,' Yap said. 'This is really just the first stage.'