We are all aware of how quickly technology is advancing and being incorporated in all spheres of life. From electric vehicles and sending people to space to education and travelling – there are many ways how technology impacts our lives. Just take a look at how smartphone technology improved our every day. However, there is something else that smartphones have improved and that is healthcare. It might seem odd but make no mistake – mobile devices have plenty of uses when it comes to healthcare. Read on to learn more about these mHealth devices and apps.
The communication happens in real-time
Let’s start with the most obvious benefit – easier communication. Mobile devices were created exactly for this purpose and in addition to using them in everyday conversations with our friends, we can also use them in healthcare where they actually help save lives. Thanks to various apps that allow picture and video sharing as well as video calls in HD, physicians can inspect the condition even from a faraway location. Plus, whenever some tests are being conducted, doctors can get the results and images immediately when they require them. Despite this great opportunity to receive health advice from anywhere in the world, an Australian study concerning virtual hospitals showed that only half of the people surveyed would opt for this. However, seeing as how telehealth is in its infancy, it is expected that more and more people will accept these kinds of services, especially when all the benefits are taken into account.
It provides more convenience
Another one of those benefits is the convenience it provides patients and healthcare providers with. Even when the doctor is nearby, sometimes the patient is simply not able to leave the house to get a checkup. Also, even if the doctor does house calls, just checking in over the phone might be enough to determine the patient’s condition. Not having to travel, regardless of distance, is an amazing way to save time and money – both for physicians and patients. What is more, sometimes just being in the waiting room can lead to someone picking up a cold or the flu, which is not exactly what one wants after visiting their doctor. Patients staying in the comfort of their own homes can be much safer.
The efficiency of the doctors is enhanced
There are many ways how physicians’ efficiency can be enhanced when using smartphones. For starters, just like it’s easier for patients to contact healthcare providers, it’s easier for doctors to contact one another. This makes consultations between experts much faster and this collaboration and sharing of knowledge can provide patients with an opinion of a specialist who lives overseas. The next way how smartphones help in this area is by making research more efficient. There is no need for doctors to look through numerous medical books and records – these can all be found with a quick search on their mobile device. Finally, administrative tasks like data entry often take a lot of time but phones and tablets can automate this process and make it much less stressful. Plus, having all the information about a certain patient in one place and available at the touch of a button can allow physicians to solve issues much faster.
The accuracy of the diagnosis is increased
In addition to making the whole process of diagnosing patients more efficient, smartphone technology can also make it more accurate. The ability to consult with other experts in the field, go through other similar cases and see the patient’s medical history are all highly beneficial when establishing a diagnosis. It’s not uncommon for doctors to have illegible handwriting so having everything digitized will make the process much smoother and accurate. Moreover, various apps can automatically check on prescriptions which lowers the number of prescription errors while other apps are able to keep track of infections and pathogens of patients.
It makes coordination easier
While in traditional hospitals there is no way to know whether the patient understood and followed the instructions after being discharged, mobile devices are very useful here as well. For example, they make it much easier for doctors and nurses to coordinate with their patients, whether it’s about the diagnosis, the meds or the follow-up appointment. They also help physicians monitor the patient’s recovery which results in a decreased number of re-admissions. Plus, there are now many apps available that allow patients to monitor their own health by tracking their sleep and their physical activity and reminding them to take their pills, in addition to checking their blood pressure and vital signs. Furthermore, apps such as iWander use a GPS tracking device to keep tabs on where patients with Alzheimer’s are located. Finally, there are wearable monitors being developed which include necklaces for ECG monitoring and contact lenses for eye pressure and glucose level checks.
Education is made more accessible
There are many ways how telemedicine is improving the relationship between physicians and patients but mobile phones are making education more accessible as well. For example, more and more schools are adopting e-learning and cloud-based technologies that allow faster sharing of knowledge and communication, as we mentioned before. Plus, the ability to stream certain events or even surgeries allows people from all over the world to stay in touch with the latest developments in the field.
Seeing as how there are so many benefits of using mobile devices in healthcare, we will hopefully start using them even more and allow smartphones to further improve the way we heal.