The Mobile Medical App Revolution
Less than a decade ago, the very thought of a doctor using a cell phone instead of a stethoscope was the stuff of fantasy. Now the BYOD program and mobile device market has seen something of a revolution in hospitals across the world.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of apps out there that enable medical professionals to do anything from checking databases for information to suggesting alternative treatments when the current program is not working. The apps are virtually updated too, enabling doctors to access the very latest information and breakthroughs.
However, some doctors have expressed grave concerns that misdiagnosis or misunderstanding could occur if an app is wrongly updated or misinterpreted and there are also concerns around data protection and patient confidentiality. That said; more and more health care professionals are turning to apps rather than text books for help. Here are a small selection of the most popular apps in current use.
5 Popular Medical Apps For Apple
This app allows clinicians to illustrate medical images and is designed for use as a tool to improve clinician/patient understanding during diagnosis and treatment. Users can save their drawings into work files and the app also serves as a database containing a library of treatments and backgrounds to pathologies and anatomy.
This is a bit like the old-style Physician’s Desk Reference. It has drug information and dosage guidelines as well as warnings about harmful interactions, side effects etc. It’s a useful resource for doctors seeking alternatives for patients who have not responded to their existing drug therapy regimes.
This app allows a doctor to view x-rays; anywhere, from any place and at any time, saving on time spent in clinics evaluating films that can now be viewed from a doctor’s home office.
This app effectively turns a cell phone into an otoscope allowing doctors to look inside a child’s ears before showing the parents the images. It facilitates much easier explanation of a diagnosis to patients and also cuts back on unnecessary medication.
This simple idea allows patients to take a picture of a rash or irritation and forward it to a health professional for preliminary diagnosis. The app is exceptionally helpful for doctors as it’s often much easier to actually ‘show’ a problem with pictures than to describe it using words.
Proceed With Caution
There’s no doubt that these apps are proving popular with medical professionals, but the mobile device revolution does not come without risks. How easy would it be to inadvertently send Mrs Jones’ x-ray images to every contact in her doctor’s phone, or post it on Facebook? Until now, health care data breaches have commonly occurred due to the theft of unencrypted devices like laptops, but BYOD is expected to make this a thousand times worse.
It’s true to say that these apps can go a long way towards addressing the challenges presented by expensive health care, chronic diseases and inequality of care, but users’ mobile devices also need careful management by a third party service provider to ensure that security threats do not become security issues.