Smart Mobile Technology for Your Practice and Your Patients

Written by on April 30, 2013 in Research & Technology - No comments

iPadWEBWhether they have chronic ailments like diabetes or heart disease, or just want to watch their weight, Americans are increasingly tracking their health using smartphone applications and other devices that collect personal data automatically, according to health industry researchers. 21 percent of people who track their health use some form of technology.

More than 500 companies were making or developing self-management tools by last fall, up 35 percent from January 2012. Nearly 13,000 health and fitness apps are now available for little or no expense.

Technology for Doctors

Many physicians are already connected by mobile smartphones and tablets with accessibility to lab results, prescription information, digital medical textbooks, internet access to the Center for Disease Control, text messaging to other doctors and patients, and real time communication via Skype, instant messaging, GoToMeeting, and other wireless services.

For some practices, FaceTime—a video calling software feature for iPhone 4 and the fourth generation iPod Touch—is replacing face-to-face office visits for minor complaints like cold and flu, headaches, and muscle strains. Follow up visits and lab test result reviews are often easier for the patient and doctor when done long distance.

A lot of patient support used to happen in a doctor’s waiting room. Patients shared views and exchanged information that helped them, and gave warnings for drugs or treatments that harmed them. They were also provided support and sympathy, something that doctors can be in short supply of in a fast paced medical practice.

The waiting room chat is being replaced by websites like CureTogether, http://www.crunchbase.com/company/curetogether, and PatientsLikeMe, http://www.patientslikeme.com/. These sites provide information on what’s working for patients. They provide ratings and real information on different diseases and treatments with no marketing hype or ads.

Doctors are beginning to adopt the iPad into their workflow at their practices and the hospital, with many apps enabling doctors to be more efficient.

WebMD is a great reference app for doctors and it’s free at https://itunes.apple.com/US/app/id373185673?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4. The app includes a symptom checker to help remind you what may be wrong with a certain patient. The app also includes first aid essentials, conditions, drugs and treatments, a pill identification tool, and local health listings.

Microdex, https://itunes.apple.com/US/app/id390211464?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4, is a free app that provides drug information for the iPad. The app includes over 4,500 search terms. These results include: generic names, trade names, black box warnings, dosage info, administration, monitoring, precautions, adverse effects, and much more. If you are a doctor prescribing drugs day in and day out, then this is a great app.

Many physicians need to create custom forms for their patients. Tap Forms HD is an app that allows you to do just that. The app includes 17 different field types including: link to form, file attachment, email address, GPS info, contact, text, date, time, date/time, number, rating, URL, check mark, note, audio recording, photo and phone number. The app can also search through your forms allowing you to pull up past information quickly. The app is password protected ensuring your patients’ data is safe. The app also includes 25 different built-in forms. The app integrates with Dropbox to allow easy file transfers. The app can also export your information as a CSV file to be opened up in Excel or Numbers. If you need custom forms, then Tap Forms HD is a great app for that. It’s available at https://itunes.apple.com/US/app/id410500116?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4 for $8.99

Technology for Patients

The explosion of mobile devices means that more patients have an opportunity to start tracking health data in an organized way and many of the people surveyed said the experience had changed their overall approach to health.

A very effective mobile app for patients to record health information is My Medical, https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-medical/id347860026?mt=8. It is a comprehensive record-keeping app for personal medical information and is the perfect replacement for unreliable paper records or various electronic systems that hold bits and pieces of medical history. With My Medical, any and all information that is important to the patient is kept together in one place. And it’s secure because the information is kept on their device, not on a remote server.

Often the worst part of a visit to the doctor isn’t the awkward hospital gown, needle sticks or embarrassing physical exams — it’s the drawn-out wait, camped out in the reception room in the company of sick patients and old magazines.

This realization led to creation of Appointment Status, https://www.appointmentstatus.com/, a web site devoted to improving appointment efficiency and providing patients with information to avoid long waits. The site is designed to make it easier for patients to schedule appointments — and to find out how far behind the doctor may be before settling into a waiting room chair.

These are several innovations meant to help physicians and patients. While many digital developments — electronic medical records and mobile medical encyclopedias — have streamlined doctors’ work, new tools for patients are starting to hit cell phones and the Internet at a rapid rate with no slowdown in sight.

Sources:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/28/health/electronic-health-tracking-increasingly-common-researchers-say.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=4&
http://renegadehealth.com/blog/2012/08/31/doctor-visit-theres-an-app-for-that
http://appadvice.com/applists/show/apps-for-doctors-with-ipads
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/15/the-doctor-can-see-you-now-really-right-now/
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-medical/id347860026?mt=8

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