As the practice of medicine continues to go digital, both practitioners and patients are finding ways to utilize technology to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare. In 2015, one up and coming trend in healthcare technology will be the use of digital applications to diagnose medical conditions in patients. This type of technology allows patients to be examined by a doctor via virtual means and allows doctors to check in on their patients on a more frequent basis. There are three main ways in which this new digital trend for the practicing of medicine will enhance healthcare for patients and physicians.
Health Tracking Apps
According to an article on NBCnews.com, one of the most consumer-friendly ways that healthcare technology is going digital for patients is the development of health tracking apps for mobile devices. Patients with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma can track their home test results and symptoms. Their physicians can also log in to monitor results. Any results that suggest the condition is not under good control will trigger a message to the physician so that the patient can come in for in-person monitoring or the type or dosage of medication can be changed. This use of technology in healthcare can also act as a preventive measure by detecting potential health problems before they become severe or life-threatening.
Digital Disease Tracking
Patients with chronic medical conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder or diabetes tend to use more healthcare services than consumers who do not have chronic medical conditions. Frequent trips to the doctor’s office just to review recent lab tests can be draining on the healthcare system as well as the doctor’s time. By tracking chronic diseases with a digital system, physicians can free up some of their office time for more urgent medical conditions. In 2015, health consumers can expect to see an increase in the variety of digital applications that allow them to review their lab tests and input their home test results and symptoms.
Many visits to physicians are for routine matters that do not have anything to do with an acute illness or injury. Instead of having to make an appointment for an office visit to discuss a change from one statin medication to another or to request a prescription refill, healthcare technology is trending to allow communication between patients and physicians online. Patients will be able to request prescription refills, ask doctors questions about side effects, report new symptoms or schedule routine checkups through a physician and patient interface. In addition to text messages, these new digital apps will allow doctors and patients to interact visually and in real-time. A patient who lives several hours away from his or her doctor’s office may be able to avoid coming in for an in-person checkup when they are feeling well and their lab tests are within the normal range. This can reduce healthcare related costs for patients.