Medical apps are giving health care a modern facelift, opening up new avenues of accessing medical information, tools, and resources and improving the delivery of health-care services. Apps, which are software programs developed for a specific purpose and which run on a computer or mobile device, are available for download for both professional and individual use.
Some of the ways in which health-care professionals (HCPs) use mobile apps include: practice management; consulting and communication; health record access and maintenance; a database regarding drugs and diseases; prescribing and diagnosing; coding and billing; online learning; as a patient-monitoring tool capable of reading a patient’s blood pressure, glucose level, or heart rhythm. There are medical apps that conduct hearing and vision tests as well as point-of-care aids such as medical calculators, textbooks, drug guides, and literature search portals. Seventy percent of HCPs and medical students report regular use of at least one medical app daily.
Patients using their personal digital assistant (PDA), smartphone, cell phone, tablet, iPod, iPad, iPhone or other iOS device use the technology to track their symptoms, conditions, and treatment; to coordinate care; and to gather and send diagnostic information to their doctor. According to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, over 40,000 applications in the wellness category are available for download.
Innovative Medical Apps
Thanks to pioneering developments in technology, the latest mobile devices offer advanced features such as voice and voice recognition software, high-quality cameras, high-resolution screens, large memories, global positioning systems (GPS), and more powerful processors, allowing doctors access to a handheld computer that enables remote and long-distance health-care delivery as well as enhanced point-of-care treatment. Medical apps save time and travel, speed up diagnosis, improve patient monitoring, reduce emergency room and physician visits, and make health care more efficient.
Some of the most progressive medical apps available include:
* Wireless Pulse Oximeter, where a fingertip sensor linked wirelessly to a phone records blood oxygen levels during the night and can be used to help determine if someone suffers from sleep apnea
* CellScope Oto, where a smartphone acts as an “otoscope” or optical instrument that looks into and records video of the ear that doctors can use to determine a diagnosis
* ResolutionMD, an app that allows doctors to view X-rays and other images on their tablet or smartphone