By Staff Writer
In this day in age, smartphones have become a staple. These sophisticated pieces of technology are becoming less of a “luxury“ item and more of a basic necessity.
Smartphones are not just fun toys for making social media posts and taking selfies. Believe it or not – they are becoming an integral part of medical care.
Mobile devices can become invaluable tools when put to the right use. Learning about some of the preexisting healthcare applications can help give an understanding of their capabilities.
Some platforms are useful for every level of the healthcare system:
For Pharmaceutical Companies
While they are traditional – physical pharmacy locations are not always convenient. There are many reasons why someone can‘t (or doesn‘t want to) drive up to their local pharmacy.
Some people are afraid that going on a trip to a building full of people who need medicine may compromise their health. Others don‘t want to be bothered by long waits. Many pharmacies have turned to smartphone software applications to design a modern solution.
There are several applications available that allow pharmaceutical companies to safely (and legally) deliver prescription drugs right to your door. One of the more widespread applications, NowRx, enables doctors to connect with the suppliers directly (NowRx, 2020).
This platform makes it much easier for companies to deliver prescriptions right to a patient‘s home. Having house doctors personally connect with the app itself means that this trusted app can remain secure. Registered doctors can officially upload patient‘s prescriptions so that they can obtain them through online shopping.
Not only does this save a trip to the local pharmacy – it helps you get great deals. Most pharmacies don‘t have the means for offering sales on prescription drugs. When ample supplies are working with such a broad audience, it is much easier to offer promotional discounts. They are also able to accept more extensive ranges of insurance plans.
Online sales are not the only purpose of these pharmaceutical apps. There are some other popular features which include cool things. Some apps are trying to set up connections with laboratories so they can deliver test results faster. Others are making apps directly for pharmacies to make it easier to explain drug interactions and risks.
For Medical Professionals
Smart devices are becoming a crucial organizer in hospitals. Many apps allow medical care providers to manage their patient rounds through the app. It‘s a great way to keep on top of your current patients – from the waiting room to the hospital bed.
These apps range in sophistication from a basic organizational platform to more complex software with enhanced features. Spok provides one such app that gained popularity for the app‘s compatibility and sophisticated features (Spok, 2020).
The app creates a platform where the entire medical staff can communicate in real–time – including “read“ features and alert systems. The app also allows users to send both text and images. This app is compatible with everything, from tablets to some pagers.
Of course, while these applications can prove incredibly useful, they do face their share of criticism. Many fear that digitizing sensitive personal information can do more harm than good.
Fear of data breaches is a reality that all technological advancements face. Luckily, there are some countermeasures in place that secure information and keep it safe from any hackers or data poachers out there.
Any good app, including the two mentioned above, encrypt their data. Encryption means that they disguise it in a way that allows only designated individuals access to read the files.
If someone were to manage to get a hold of encrypted data – they would not be able to decipher it very quickly at all. In a way, these security measures can be even better than the traditional “lock and key“ method.
Explaining this to patients who share concerns over the app use can help them become more comfortable. It would help if you opened a conversation so that patients are aware of what happens with their data. Transparency is essential as we trek into uncharted territories that may facilitate trust issues or worry down the line (Stone, Redsell, Ling, & Hay, 2005).
In any health care industry, the main focus of innovation, in the end, is the patient experience. These health care apps are no different. Some applications focus almost entirely on the patient.
Familiarizing yourself with what is available on the marketplace can help you find what is right for your patient. Many of these apps offer features that can make it easy to assess patient conditions and optimize treatments.
One of the more popular smartphone apps involves little trackers. These allow patients to schedule when they need to take their medications or enable them to monitor their symptoms easier.
These are very popular in terms of fertility tracking – but many people fail to realize there are apps available to assist with all sorts of medical conditions.
Mango Health is one such popular “condition management“ apps (Mango Health, 2017). It encourages patients to keep on top of their health routines for their chronic conditions. You can even early real-life rewards just for taking steps to stay on top of your wellbeing.
There are other “tracking apps,” which can make doctor‘s visits much more straightforward. Apps such as My Pain Diary encourage users to keep updated entries on their pain symptoms (My Pain Diary, 2020). This digital tracking can make it easy to report accurate symptoms to their doctors.
The app accommodates all sorts of chronic health conditions, including arthritis, back pain, migraines, and even mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Specific locations are even using apps to facilitate telemedicine – where patients can receive expert health advice right over the phone.
It‘s well worth the investment to take a look at what technology can offer the health care industry. As we enter an age where smart devices become more commonplace, the normalization of health care apps will continue to push the medical industry into the future.
Mango Health App – Pill Reminder, Drug Interactions, Health Manager. (n.d.). Retrieved June 20, 2020, from https://www.mangohealth.com/
‘Pain Tracking Made Painless’. (n.d.). Retrieved June 21, 2020, from http://mypaindiary.com/
Prescription Delivery in Hours for Free: NowRx ®. (n.d.). Retrieved June 19, 2020, from https://nowrx.com/
Spok Mobile. (n.d.). Retrieved June 21, 2020, from https://www.spok.com/spok-mobile/
Stone, M. A., Redsell, S. A., Ling, J. T., & Hay, A. D. (2005). Sharing patient data: competing demands of privacy, trust and research in primary care. British journal of general practice, 55(519), 783-789.