Healthcare is becoming increasingly democratized. We live in a world where more power and information are being put into your hands, especially when it comes to healthcare. There approximately 48,000 healthcare apps available on iTunes. To illustrate this, all you have to do is look at the news. Healthcare has dominated the airwaves since 2017, with issues like access, affordability, and quality being addressed and improved over time.
The influence of technology in healthcare is significant. The popularity and importance of the iWatch to monitor health are the latest in the healthcare tech trends. With the spread of the smartphone and the digitization of just about everything, many people get the opportunity to monitor their own vitals and sometimes even diagnose some simple conditions with healthcare apps.
Imagine a situation where you will diagnose illnesses simply because you have some app tracking all of your vitals. In an emergency, the app will automatically alert the nearest medical facility, and help will avail itself quickly. How many lives will be improved because of this? Regardless of their means or confidence in technology, patients will become more empowered and less anxious knowing that their healthcare provider is up to date with their information.
The advancements being made in healthcare are a lot more than that, and, to be honest, the future is quite uncertain. However, it is also quite exciting. There are lots of advances being made at the moment that is not only moving the health industry forward but also disrupting.
The most notable of these advancements is the proliferation of mobile healthcare apps. Many of them are covered on major write-ups about the industry, such as those on EssaysOnTime. The data is staggering.
We know that nearly three-quarters of adults in the United States own smartphones. As for the time they spend on those phones, 89% is spent on various apps.
Therefore, the healthcare industry would benefit from taking advantage of this if it can have a presence on mobile phones. There are many such apps, but we’re going to look at 7 forward-thinking and influential ones today. Hopefully, they will give you some insight into what we can expect as far as the future of the healthcare industry is concerned.
Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash
One of the greatest epidemics slowly finding its way around the country and much of the world is poor eyesight. Many people are losing their vision every day and resort to more powerful seeing aids to get around it. The worst part of it all is that it is all preventable.
A few brains got together and decided to study the case of failing eyesight. They found out that only about half of the more than 70 million patients who were at risk of losing their vision, even while preventing it, went for a checkup by an eye specialist.
If these people went to the ophthalmologist, they would be able to get a good diagnosis on their eyes and get help early. Most of the vision problems faced by such people are such that they can be sorted out completely as long as they are treated early. However, if left to continue and worsen, they become harder and harder to cure until nothing can be done later on.
The funny thing is that every adult in America has a primary care physician, also known as a PCP. This is something many Americans take fairly seriously. So what can we do to make sure that they also see their ophthalmologist and get their eye health taken care of alongside the rest of their body?
The minds behind Insight Optics figured it out. All that needs to happen is that the primary care physician somehow takes a picture of your eyes and sends them over to an ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologist will then look at the pictures and determine if everything is okay with your eyes.
All the physician has to do is use an ophthalmoscope to take high-resolution images of your retina. To do this, they need to hook up the ophthalmoscope to a high-quality smartphone camera. The camera will take the pictures through the ophthalmoscope and store the images. The physician can then send the pictures to an ophthalmologist, who will review the images further.
All of this can be done inside an app, as envisioned by the brains behind Insight Optics. The result is better insight being given to patients about their eyesight and their optical health. With such empowering information, patients will know whether or not they need to get help for their eyes.
While the system isn’t perfect, mainly due to the engagement of physicians and ophthalmologists, it certainly has promise and could well revolutionize the eye care industry.
What do you hate most about visits to your physician? Well, for me, it’s the whole thing. I have to pick a day and schedule a visit to the doctor. If I have the means and have my own private physician, then I’m all set; they can just come to visit me at home or ask me when I’m free, and I can visit them in the knowledge that I’m their only patient on that day. That is very nice.
Unfortunately, not all of us are in a situation where we have personal healthcare, so we have to get to a doctor’s office to share the physician with their other patients. That means we have to wait in line for what seems like a really long time. We then walk in and have limited time with them and perform a thorough checkup, just to be told we’re perfectly fine. In the meantime, whether we’re okay or not, we will spend a hefty amount of money because it is a full checkup we went for.
What if all of this could change? What if you could get your doctor on your phone and send them pictures and descriptions of how you’re feeling? They would tell you what you need to do, and you would save up on the commute. However, according to the brains behind Medici, you would save up on a lot more than that.
The Medici app makes it possible for you to text your doctor. You can start a text conversation with any healthcare provider on the network for just a fraction of the fee you would pay for seeing them in the office. You would also only spend a fraction of the time you would spend on an actual visit to the doctor’s office.
Once you connect with a doctor on the network, you can describe the illness you have in detail and send them any pictures you may have. The doctor will then decide whether you can get a prescription order which you can take to a pharmacy or whether you need to go into their office for an exam.
The whole point of Medici is to cut out all those expensive and time-consuming trips that patients have to take to the doctor. As it turns out, the app goes farther than that; it also ensures greater access for patients.
Have you ever noticed how you can get most of the information you need about your prescriptions or certain kinds of medication from the pharmacist? You need to ask them about it, and they know what you need, and they tell it to you.
The problem with this arrangement is that you have to go to a pharmacist to get that information. That’s a bit like the situation with going to the doctor’s office to get a checkup. The process works, but what if you could somehow save the trip and not have to wait in line to see your pharmacist? Is there a more efficient way to find the answers, especially if it either time or personally sensitive information?
Imagine if you could find that information in what can only be likened to a secure social media platform, only for pharmacists and their customers. You go on the platform and find out everything you need to know from your favorite pharmacist. Better yet, if you don’t have a favorite pharmacist, there are many pharmacists on the network who you could talk to.
That’s the idea behind the Digital Pharmacist app. It basically helps pharmacists to go digital and virtual. While it’s there to help patients, it really is an app that focuses more on pharmacists and convincing them to take their advice to the web.
To start with, the app provides cloud storage solutions for pharmacists, as well as other digital solutions. It also builds highly tailored apps for pharmacists to help them with their business. But the app goes well beyond that.
The customized applications allow pharmacists to connect with their customers and tell them about medication. They also tell them where they can read the relevant medical articles to their situations. All of this can be done through the Rx Wiki subsidiary of Digital Pharmacist. It’s so comprehensive that customers can even process prescriptions and make refills through the apps.
This healthcare app seeks to be a one-stop-shop for pharmacies and allows them to stay in touch with their customers and serve them no matter where they are.
Okay, so we just talked about the Medici app that allows you to have a little text chat with your doctor and tell them what is ailing you. The point is to reduce the need for you to visit your doctor in their office. It’s a wonderful solution. The question is if it’s the only solution.
As it turns out, it isn’t the only solution. There are a bunch of other ways you could cut out the visit to the doctor altogether. One of these methods is growing more popular by the day and is promising to completely shake up the medical industry.
When you go for a checkup, you need to do some tests. They will test your food sensitivity, fertility, cholesterol, and many other things. Most of these tests, unsurprisingly, have associated kits that can be used to carry them out.
Traditionally, these kits needed some training to use. They were fairly complicated, and so they needed trained personnel to handle them. The patients couldn’t do it by themselves.
However, over time, with digital technology being introduced, these kits have become easier and easier to use. They have also been made so that they are less complicated and more intuitive. We are getting to a point where a patient should carry out the tests by themselves at home.
It’s pretty much like the pregnancy test. We had come a long way from the time when we had to go to a doctor every time we wanted to find out if we were pregnant. Now all you have to do is buy a kit and do the test at home.
EverlyWell is going for the same concept with their app. The interesting thing is that the app hasn’t been launched yet, but the company has already got people talking.
It’s a brand new company, and all it has is an online patient portal. Customers create accounts on the app and then log in. Customers then order the test kit they would like to use. All the kits come with directions for performing the test and mail the results back to EverlyWell. The company has a well-trained team that will analyze the tests and returns comprehensive results to the customer via a secure online portal. The results are pretty informative and easy to read. The customer gets to know what they need to know without ever having to visit the doctor.
Photo by Daniel Cañibano on Unsplash
We have been looking at physical health so far but haven’t said much about mental health. What can be done in the region of mental health?
One of the major problems here is how expensive and difficult it is to get a therapist. Mental health is typically a taboo subject in much of America. It also happens to be one of those things that many people don’t consider doing. To make it worse, even when you do consider seeing a therapist, you will find one very hard to find. When you finally do find one, you will discover that therapy is not cheap.
What if you could use a social media platform to talk to a therapist? The process is logging in to the app, and choose one of the many therapists on the network and have a session with them via texts. All of this at a fraction of the cost you would incur if you saw them in person for a full session. Moreover, you can get the right therapist for you, and you can switch to another therapist if you feel like your current one just doesn’t cut it for you.
That’s the idea behind Talkspace. The app makes it easier to find a therapist from the comfort of your smartphone. You can use the application, which is a lot like a social network, to message a real therapist that has been licensed. In addition, when you want to talk to the therapist, you can schedule a meeting when it is convenient for you.
Talkspace offers even more than this. One of the things that people need when it comes to therapy is marriage counseling. Talkspace offers that. Customers will pay a weekly subscription fee, and then they can access the service. The fee is a lot less than what they would pay if they were to see the therapist in person.
An even better feature of the app than all the above is that it actually matches you to the right therapist by taking into account your needs and the therapist’s specialties.
One of the first things that medical apps sought to do was provide a complete solution for all your healthcare needs. Some of them failed, while others got some of it right and continue improving their solutions.
Imagine being able to access just about everything you need regarding your healthcare on an app. You can view your health records, details about different diseases, and their symptoms. In addition, an entire database of doctors you could contact, what the wait times are at different hospitals, and more. Wouldn’t it be great if all of that information was at your fingertips?
That’s what iTriage seeks to provide for its customers. The app has a platform that allows patients access to their data, including personal health records and other things. Aetna recently acquired iTriage and, while it’s not entirely perfect, it’s certainly trying. iTriage is on the right path to becoming an all-encompassing health tracking app.
To understand what this app is seeking to do, it’s important first to understand where the idea came from, The Blue Button Initiative. This is a movement that campaigns to get patients to have their own health records.
You will immediately understand why this is important if you have ever had to coordinate your own care or the care of a family member. Often, patients have to deal with various specialists, labs, doctors, and numerous pharmacies. Oftentimes, it’s just for one medical issue that requires all the attention. Under such circumstances, the patient is solely responsible for ensuring that every doctor knows what the others are doing. This is much easier when the patient has full, easy, and open access to their health records.
The iBlueButton app allows patients to download their health data from insurance providers, Medicare, or the patient portals of healthcare providers. They can then look at their treatment histories, view medication lists, and share all the data they need to with doctors and various other parties.
Your health is of the utmost importance since much of the rest of your wellbeing depends on it. One of the emerging concepts in the healthcare industry is interoperability. Healthcare trends for 2019 include patient experience and patient access. As apps enter the marketplace, you will have more control over your health and have more access to data. Thus improving daily life and longevity.
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