When computer technology was first applied to medicine, many were concerned that it would negatively impact the quality of patient-physician communication. While some may feel that technology has led to more distant interaction, others feel that it has contributed to more informed, involved and empowered patients.
In a recent report released by the Joint Commission, it was determined that poor patient-clinician communication is responsible for approximately 70 percent of serious adverse health outcomes in hospitals. It may be fair to assume that this problem also occurs in outpatient and in home health services. Therefore, any opportunity to improve patient-clinician communications, including mobile apps, must be considered. The most effective apps should allow patients to securely list medical history and medications, as well as, quickly search for and access physicians, hospitals, clinics, first aid, and other health information. Other important features allow patients to be empowered through safe self management with texting, voice mail, and video communications. For those with chronic illnesses, some patient engagement apps will allow for direct communication between patients, health care navigators and other members of the health care team. Many physician groups and hospitals offer mobile apps for patient – physician communications with privacy protections.
Some tools improve engagement between physician and patient while others focus on research, tracking and logging to improve health and wellness. The suggestions below are considered to be some of the best for patients according to leaders in technological applications in medicine:
- My Medical App – is a comprehensive medical record-keeping which works as a digital file cabinet. It securely organizes and saves appointments, medical records, lab results, medications and other essential medical data.
- iTriage – Health, Doctor, Symptoms, and Healthcare Search: allows patients access to an endless amount of health information right in their pockets. This app allows them to check their symptoms and easily locate a physician or hospital in the event of an emergency.
- Diabetes App – Blood Sugar Control, Glucose Tracker, and Carb Counter: This app assists patients with diabetes who often struggle to monitor their condition at home. This app provides a food database for patients to track their consumption and allows physicians to monitor any fluctuations. A free app is available for trial.
- iCookbook Diabetic – Recipes, nutritional information and health articles for people with diabetes: a great app, created by dietary professionals, to provide healthy alternatives for cooking healthy. It provides various tools for meal planning and grocery shopping for the diabetic.
- Lose it - App for Weight-loss is an invaluable tool to promote weight control by helping to track meals, exercise, calories, and nutrition. It uses a built-in barcode scanner and menus from popular restaurants.
- Blood Pressure Monitor – Family Lite: A useful app for patients on the go to monitor their blood pressure and weight. It also provides lifetime data visualization and statistics with displays for medication correlations.
- HeartWise Blood Pressure Tracker – This app makes it easy to monitor blood pressure at home. This easy-to-use application is helpful for recording blood pressure, resting heart rate, and weight. It also allows patients to import their existing records.
- Pocket First Aid & CPR – In addition to general first aid instructions, this app also shares the American Heart Association’s guidelines on CPR. It offers high-quality videos and illustrations to assist those in need.
- Tummy Trends – Constipation and Irritable Bowel Tracker: This app allows patients to track their IBS symptoms, exercise habits, water and fiber intake and stress levels. Also, an interactive graph allows them to share the findings with their physician.
- iCalcRisk– Cardiac Risk Tracker: Calculates cardiac risk to promote healthier choices. Physicians can use the visualizations to assess the patient’s ability to manage their cholesterol, blood pressure, and lowering their risk of heart attack.
SOURCES: HealthCareNews; ModernMedicine Network;
This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at The Commonwealth Medical College.