Today’s post comes from Felicia Baratz, Writer at Technected.com, a blog that is about all things tech.
People use smartphones at work for communicating, at school for organizing notes, in the car to get directions and at the bus stop to play games. In fact, people use their smartphones everywhere except, of course, in the doctor’s office. As soon as you walk in, you’ll inevitably see a big sign telling you to turn off your phone. The idea makes sense: you want your doctor to be able to concentrate on you instead of your phone, and you certainly don’t want your nurse to jump while poking you with a needle. However, developments in apps for the healthcare industry may make smartphones more welcome in the medical setting. Well-designed apps can help lower costs and keep patients healthier, and medical professionals and patients alike can benefit from apps.
Digitization of the Healthcare System
Health care is moving away from the paper-based system of filling out patient charts on clipboards, storing medical records in file cabinets and recording data by hand. In the digital age, medical records are electronic so that all members of the healthcare team can instantly access a patient’s vital information. Mobile apps can increase productivity in general care facilities, in the emergency room and maternity wards.
Since doctors and nurses are constantly moving from patient to patient, mobile devices make record-keeping and health care more efficient. With note-taking apps, medical staff can record measurements and jot down reminders about information they should check later. Some apps allow users to look up normal values for lab results so that they can instantly know if their patients may need specialists, such as an endocrinologist for high blood sugar readings. They can connect to online resources to look up symptoms for help in diagnosis.
Increase in Patient Involvement
With advances in technology, patients are becoming more involved in their own care. This can lead to better health through more attention and self-awareness, and more communication with physicians. Many healthcare systems host online accounts, so patients can manage conditions, email doctors and refill prescriptions. Smartphone apps are another step. Mobile apps help monitoring become fun and accessible rather than dreary and remote. Nobody likes being on hold for hours trying to get through to their doctors, and apps let patients instantly send their health progress or results to doctors.
Smartphone Apps to Promote Health
These are just three of the many apps in existence today that patients can use to stay healthy:
- I Can Quit: This smoking cessation app lets you send text messages about your efforts to stop smoking. The app is based on the idea that sending text messages keeps you focused and on track. Smoking contributes to 400,000 deaths per year in the U.S., more than any other single cause of death
- OnTrack: This app helps you manage diabetes. You can track your blood pressure, your cholesterol levels and your glycosylated hemoglobin, or A1C, which is an indicator of how well you controlled your blood sugar for the past few months. Glucose Buddy is an app that lets you talk to other individuals with diabetes in forums
- Lose It: This app lets you record your diet and exercise to help you control your weight. It has a database with popular foods and many restaurant foods
Smartphone apps seem to be able to do everything from ordering pizza to bargain shopping to helping you study for exams. Now, they can help you take control of your health, and help doctors and nurses take care of you. Smartphone apps are leading the trend toward mobilization in healthcare and patient involvement in their care.