Mobile technology is changing everything we know about business and industry. Not just relegated to social interaction, mobile apps are influencing the way we apply for jobs, how we communicate with one another, and even affecting our medical care.
Consider these statistics:
- In May of 2013, the Pew Institute noted that 63% of all adults in the United States access the internet through their mobile devices, such as smart phones or tablets
- Over 50% of those users use their smart phones almost exclusively for this task
- As of January 2014, 58% of adults in the U.S. own a smart phone and 42% have a tablet
Businesses know that this is the best way to attract their customer base and the medical industry is no different. Rather than making users jump through hoops to get the information they need, mobile optimization is a better way to disseminate information in our digital age.
Mobile medical apps can help patients:
- Manage their conditions and symptoms
- Log their daily symptoms and pain triggers
- Find answers to their pressing questions
- Access valuable and even, in some small cases, lifesaving medical information directly at their fingertips
Recently, a Canadian woman harnessed the power of the selfie to help doctors diagnose a stroke. Just a few days before she filmed the video, her symptoms had been dismissed as stress-related. When the symptoms happened again, she had the presence of mind to film the occurrence with her cell phone which helped save her life. With the benefits and advancements in mobile technology it is no wonder that the medical industry is tapping into the phenomenon.
Medical apps can cover a wide range of support for both acute and chronic conditions. Patients can reach out to networks of medical professionals, support groups, and gather other information immediately through their cell phones or mobile devices. Specialists can provide their services to a broader patient base.
Several medical apps have become available for patients dealing with a wide variety of conditions. Here is just a small sample of medical apps that are currently available, still in development, or available for beta testing.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a mobile medical app that doctors can use to aid in diagnosing a number of conditions, including urinary tract infections and HIV. This app uses the camera on phones and an algorithm that determines the results by color. This advanced app may even assist doctors in developing nations to control the spread of disease.
This medical app allows patients with questions about concerning skin conditions get a quick diagnosis before making an appointment with their doctor. After uploading a photo, a board-certified dermatologist will review it and provide an opinion. The doctor will also be able to provide a treatment plan.
Designed for young adults dealing with the effects of ADHD in their lives, this medical app provides management techniques for the condition. The app is currently being beta tested so individuals with ADHD are encouraged to sign up and participate in the development of the final product.
Another medical app still under development is Smart Cat, which is designed for children with anxiety disorders. Social phobia and general anxiety treatment in children can be supplemented with the app in between visits to a specialist. The app provides games that help children cope with their anxiety.
Patients Like Me
This medical app creates a peer-to-peer network connecting patients dealing with the long-term effects of chronic kidney disease. Conditions like this can make patients feel isolated, but by sharing stories and data, they can feel more connected and even help researchers developing treatment plans. If successful, this app could have a broader reach for patients dealing with other chronic conditions, including chronic pain.
Also still in beta is an app that can help patients with bipolar disorder monitor their daily rhythms and keep their mood balanced throughout the day. Tracking daily routine has been a proven method for bipolar patients, but adding a mobile component allows this to be at their fingertips at all times.
For patients with growth hormone deficiency, a medical app that helps remind them to take their daily dose of their hormones can make all the difference. Beyond that, the app could have implications across the board for a number of patients who rely on regularly scheduled medication and treatments.
Good Days Health
Migraine headache and other chronic condition patients can also look forward to a mobile medical app that can help track environmental conditions that affect their health. Using weather tracking information, the developers intend to make this app personalized for specific conditions.
Chronic Pain Trackers
Currently available on iTunes, this pain management tracker can help patients with a variety of chronic conditions. The app uses the idea of a pain diary and allows individuals to share their data directly with their doctors who can then help better manage their condition.
If you’re more interested in preventing and relieving chronic pain, there are multiple sites available for fitness tracking and healthy living. This top rated app of 2014 provides easy to follow 5 minute exercise videos that you can do anywhere. Hot5 is also completely free. Exercise and healthy living is 1 of the best ways to prevent future chronic pain conditions.
These are only a small sample of the potential medical apps that can help you with your medical conditions, whether you’re dealing with anxiety or migraine headaches.
With the prevalence of mobile technology it is useful to have medical information available 24/7 depending on your needs. Mobile phones and tablet devices can provide users new experiences and doctors can tap into these technologies to share their expertise in a different method than the traditional office visit model. Imagine a future where everyone has access to inexpensive healthcare with the touch of a button!
Like the Canadian woman, simply having access to mobile technology can help both patients and doctors work together to achieve the right diagnosis and begin the correct treatment for a variety of conditions.
We would love to hear from you: what kinds of features do you think would be most helpful for medically oriented mobile apps to help with your chronic conditions?
Image by Osman Kalkavan via Flickr