The health care industry has seen major technological developments in recent years, with one of the major trends being the rise of health care technology for mobile devices and platforms. Mobile device health care is more than just pedometers and calorie counters — now, diagnosis and treatment of common conditions is possible on a digital platform.
More Power for Patients
More people than ever use their smartphones and other mobile devices for their health care needs. Patients can shop for doctors, read reviews, look up symptoms and research treatment options. This gives them the power to make better, more informed choices about the kind of care they receive. The downloading and use of health-related smartphone apps has seen a major jump, going from 16 percent of smartphone users in 2013 to 32 percent in 2015, according to the 2015 PricewaterhouseCoopers annual report. The primary care physician is no longer the only trusted information source at the disposal of the average patient.
Greater Success for Doctors
The upswing of mobile device health care isn't all bad news for doctors. In fact, mobile technology can make it easier than ever for doctors to monitor their patients' treatment programs. With the help of mobile apps and electronic record systems, doctors offices and hospitals can keep track of patient records, doctor visits and prescriptions. Doctors can also use electronic systems to remind patients of upcoming appointments or prescription refills.
Virtual doctor visits are the way of the future. When it comes to health care, many people find it inconvenient to schedule regular visits and checkups. According to the PwC report, 60 percent of people are willing to conduct a visit with their physician through their mobile device, while 58 percent of doctors are on board. Insurance companies like Humana and United Healthcare are listening and have partnered with telemedicine companies to cover remote visits the same way they cover in-person appointments. People with minor issues such as strep throat or pink eye can conveniently consult with their doctor through their mobile device, receive a diagnosis and have their prescription sent to a pharmacy for pickup.
Soon, doctors may begin prescribing mobile app downloads in addition to medications or therapies. Some hospitals are developing apps for mobile devices that help their patients manage chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. These kinds of apps may include features such as pill reminders, symptom trackers or pain assessments, with much of the information being submitted in real time in case of emergency. Developers say these mobile health apps are effective at getting patients to integrate good health habits into their daily routines.
As technology trends move forward, the health care industry has to keep up. Millions of Americans use smartphones and other mobile devices constantly — for work, play and all things in between. Using mobile devices as a diagnostic tool for medical conditions is a logical and natural next step and has made accessing health care more convenient than ever before.
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