Phone MD: 5 Ways Medical Apps Are Changing Healthcare Today
It’s something you’ll always need, can’t buy and can easily loose. Let’s talk about your health. There’s a reason people keep wishing it to you every birthday – health is as important as it’s fragile. In our busy world of everyday meetings, broadband Internet and traffic jams, people often overlook their health and ignore the worrisome signals their bodies send them. No time to be sick, they say. If only we spent as much time trying to improve our health as we do interacting with our phones. Luckily, the progress moves toward, making medical help closer to patients and having a doctor in your phone via a plethora of healthcare mobile apps.
Smartphones have disrupted pretty much every aspect of our everyday life, and it seems like healthcare is another one. The best medical apps can help you schedule a doctor’s appointment, keep track of your medical records, get e-prescribed meds delivered to your home or even alleviate depression. Here are five ways medical apps are changing healthcare today.
Doctor’s Appointment From the Comfort of Your Couch
There are many reasons people avoid visiting a doctor, from fear and procrastination to lack of time and money. Healthcare mobile apps can’t make people take better care of their health but they can fix certain issues that stop you from seeing a doctor. If you don’t know which doctor to turn to, ZocDoc will help you find the right specialist within your neighborhood and insurance network. It also provides reviews from other patients so you can make an informed decision. When you’re sick, have a fever and a severe headache, the last thing you want to do is go to the doctor’s office and wait in a line just for them to tell you to go home and stay in bed. Luckily, there are many apps that can arrange consultations through video or texting, and the number keeps growing. DoctorOnDemand allows seeing one of 1,400 doctors for non-emergency medical issues through video calls. Dr Now offers remote medical consultation and diagnosis through a mobile app. It can also deliver prescribed medication right to your door. Me MD is another healthcare mobile app that will allow you to receive personalized medical treatment without leaving your home.
Medical Records Accessible Anytime Anywhere
Up till recently, patient medical records were only kept on paper and stored in archives. And though it sounds like something from a prehistoric era, in many countries and rural areas patient records are still analog. Any emergency requiring information like the patient’s blood type, did he have Hepatitis or an MMR vaccination could lead to serious consequences if not answered quickly. But for those people who want to take responsibility for their medical records, there are mobile apps that help keeping and managing them directly from a smartphone.
MyChart, for example, can quickly provide you with information about your latest doctor visit, test results, immunizations and much more. You can also send a non-urgent message to your clinic, manage appointments and get prescription refills. FollowMyHealth is another medical app that can manage medical records for you and your whole family. It allows you to view test results, schedule doctor’s appointments, set reminders, etc. An app with a descriptive title Track My Medical Records is all about making your medical information accessible: data is backed up in the cloud and can be accessed offline. It allows tracking your medical conditions, blood pressure and sugar level, immunizations, allergies and more.
Fail-Safe Medication and Timely Prescriptions
Did you know, 8 out of 10 adults buy over-the-counter medicines for many of their illnesses? It’s not surprising, since going to a pharmacy is faster, cheaper and more convenient than visiting a doctor to get a prescription for flu or allergy remedies. But this kind of self-medication can cause more harm than good: people may be exceeding dosage or mixing medicines inappropriately. And even if patients get professional medical prescriptions, the situation is not far better: almost 75% of Americans report not always taking their prescription medicine as directed. They also tend to forget to take meds, not fill a prescription they were given or take less than the recommended dosage, assuming this will reduce side effects and cost. All this shows that having something as handy as a software app taking care of your medications is important.
CareZone is one of the apps that help managing drugs, dosages and creating medication calendars for the whole family. What makes CareZone different is that is can scan stickers on your prescribed meds and recognize information written on them from photos. It can also store medication lists, dosages, doctor’s recommendations, symptoms, appointments and more. After installing Round Health, you’ll never forget to take your medication again. Be it everyday vitamins or a complex serious treatment, Round Health will make sure you remember to take your meds in the right time and dosage plus will remind you about the refills. Medisafe is another great medication manager and pill reminder that takes the anxiety of missing a pill off your shoulders. It works with all kinds of pills and meds: fertility, birth control, diabetes, heart disease, vitamins, blood pressure and more.
Simplified Control Over Chronic Illnesses
Living with a chronic illness turns every day into a new challenge, so any help that can make the struggle less painful is a delight. There are many medical apps that help relief or control diseases some people suffer from daily. Diabetes is one of the chronical illnesses that needs constant monitoring, and thankfully there are a lot of devices and apps to do that. Take, for example, mySugr, an app that helps you keep a log of your diabetes and calculate insulin. Or Sugar Sense which records and stores your daily sugar levels and provides you with an estimate HbA1C level. People suffering from asthma will find AsthmaMD very useful. This app helps tracking asthma attacks and recording their triggers. There are also patients with various allergies, some of which can be prevented or alleviated thanks to mobile apps like Web MD Allergy. It provides users with an allergy forecast and tracker, a personalized forecast, tips and timely alerts.
Better Mental Health Diagnostics
Every year more and more people get diagnosed with mental disorders. This doesn’t mean that people used to be more “mentally healthy,” it just illustrates how far we’ve come in terms of psychological diagnostics. And mobile apps just might make diagnosing people with depression or anxiety more accessible. Not everyone has the money or courage to visit a psychiatrist, but answering a set of questions without leaving your comfort zone is truly a blessing. Talkspace, for example, is an application that connects users with licensed therapists via messages. For people who are anxious about calling anyone, texting a therapist whenever you feel the need to is a great option.
Whenever you feel like you’re losing control, the world is spinning too fast and you’re running out of air, just breathe. Breathe2Relax is an app that will help you relieve stress, control emotions and calm down anxiety using various breathing techniques.
Healthcare App Drawbacks
Though seeing a doctor from your couch instead of waiting in a line with other flu victims sounds tempting, medical apps still have unresolved issues that need to be taken care of. One of the drawbacks of some healthcare apps is that the data they store and operate may be relatively easily hacked. This can be devastating for people who don’t want to open up about their illnesses, especially mental ones. Another issue is that with the abundance of diagnostic medical apps, people may falsely diagnose and treat themselves. And as you know, reckless self-medication may lead to horrifying consequences. And, of course, there’s the intimacy issue: telemedicine can lead to doctors losing personal touch with their patients. A trusting doctor-patient relationship is crucial for proper diagnostics and treatment, and unfortunately, you’re unlikely to develop a deep bond with a doctor you’ve probably never even seen in real life. That said, medical mobile apps are still immensely helpful when used wisely.
Medicine is Dead. Long Live Medicine!
The emergence and evolution of medical mobile apps is by no means a sign that doctors will become unnecessary in the future. It just means that the old model of medicine slowly gives way to a new one. Doctors won’t disappear, but they will work more with data than with patients. Having more information that is thorough, relevant and up-to-date will help them treat patients better and faster. On the other hand, with healthcare becoming a part of our everyday life in the form of a handy mobile app, people may become more attentive and cautious about their health.
Certainly, medical apps should not replace a routine doctor check up and you should always see a specialist if you suspect a serious condition. But having medical help near at hand should definitely be a necessity, not a luxury. Because once visiting a doctor will require less time and money than it used to, many people will choose a professional consultation instead of frantically comparing different pills with the same active ingredient in a pharmacy.