Smartphones have changed almost every aspect of our lives, but some of the most exciting ways they’re helping society are rarely noticed by the general public. For example, few people might know all of the ways smartphones are making patient care easier and more accurate. From concerned parents calling in about sick kids to elderly patients who need their vitals monitored, smartphones are essential tools for medical care. Here’s how this technology has changed how healthcare professionals treat patients.
More Insurers Are Covering Doctors Video Calls
Image via Flickr by NEC Corporation of America
Visiting the doctor isn’t easy, especially if you have kids. Oftentimes, you have to pull the kids out of school or find a babysitter, and then show up at an appointment that’s typically not a good fit for your schedule. This is particularly frustrating when the doctor spends less than five minutes looking at your child just to tell you that there’s nothing to worry about.
Fortunately, more insurers are approving video call consultations with doctors. Patients can talk to a doctor almost immediately, while doctors can see more patients right from the comfort of their office. As long as your smartphone has a quality camera with good screen resolution, your doctor should be able to perform a visual physical and determine if there are any serious problems that merit coming into the office.
Doctors Can Track Vitals in Real-Time
Smartphones and wearable tech are also helping doctors monitor their patients outside of the hospital. Without the use of smartphones, doctors would only be able to catch a small picture of a patient’s heartbeat, blood pressure, and other metrics. This can often be an inaccurate picture of the patient’s health depending on how relaxed or stressed they feel in the office.
However, if the patient is wearing a device like a Fitbit or carrying a smartphone around with them, the doctor can see how a patient’s vitals change throughout the day. These devices can even send alerts when there’s a spike or outlier. This means that doctors can monitor trends and get a complete picture of their patient’s health.
Smartphone Technology Makes Senior Care Easier
Many senior citizens don’t want live-in care and they don’t want to admit that they can’t live by themselves anymore. Smartphone technology is making it easier for elderly patients to maintain their independence while also maintaining their safety. In fact, many doctors recommend that their patients get a smartphone and download specific apps to make the treatment process easier.
Certain apps can monitor elderly patients and send alerts if they’re able to detect falls or other medical problems. Instead of the patient hoping someone will hear them calling for help, they’re able to push a button and summon help quickly. This is more advanced than the traditional Life Alert buttons and provides more information to both the patient and the doctor about what happened.
Patients Can Manage Their Care Easier
Smartphones also make it easier for patients to manage their own care. More doctors than ever have patient portals where users can log in and complete paperwork on their own time instead of in the waiting room. This means they can see the doctor faster and then adjust their medical records whenever something changes. They will also be able to see complete reports of their visit and send the records to other doctors when they change.
Apps also make it easier to manage prescriptions and shop around for the best prices. By downloading pharmacy apps, patients are able to monitor when their prescriptions will need a refill and even order them right from their smartphones. Suddenly, managing medications is significantly easier than it has ever been in previous generations.
Right now we’re really just seeing the tip of the iceberg as far as smartphone use and patient care. As HIPAA regulations change and the FDA approves new treatments and rules for smartphone use, we should be seeing a lot more of this technology in hospitals and offices in the coming decade. Through smartphones, we’re entering a whole new era of patient care.