Patient Power: How Technology is Empowering Patients to Take Consultations on their Own Terms

Over the last ten years, smartphone technologies have continually evolved to shape our perceptions of everyday life. From shopping to leisure, travel, fitness, and education; the trends are now pointing toward the digitalization of our world. The unstoppable march of mobile apps has now made its way into the medical and healthcare industries too. Clinics, hospitals, and surgeons all over the world are adopting mobile consultation and diagnostic tools. This is driving forward some really interesting changes.

With the use of patient-centric apps like Doctor Me, more control is given to the users. Traditionally, all of the power of digi health has been in the hands of medical professionals and this can leave patients feeling helpless. When waiting times are lengthy, appointments are rushed, and time scarce, it is no surprise to find that they are championing more instant forms of communication.

The Rise of the Mobile Doctor

Alushta, Russia - October 29, 2014: Woman holding in the hand a new iPhone 6 Space Gray. iPhone 6 was created and developed by the Apple inc.

In fact, the patient is set to take centre stage, particularly when it comes to the doctor consultation. With a mobile doctor, they don’t have to rely on a communal system that doesn’t have the resources needed to prioritize their case. The conventional healthcare setup places individuals at risk above the rest, because GPs only have a finite amount of time. The biggest advantage of medical apps is that they strike a new and more efficient balance between the responsibilities of the doctor and the contribution of patients.

So, for example, if a person develops an unexplained rash on their leg, he could take a photograph of it on a smartphone and send it directly to a doctor via the use of a medical app. This eliminates the need for a consultation, because it shifts part of the ‘work,’ per say, onto the patient. In exchange for faster forms of communication, users must become their own examiners. The compulsion to document and record, that is already such a constant feature of modern life, now represents a way to make healthcare instant.

Creating Custom Treatment Plans

It is certainly true that our public services are becoming more personalized all the time. The healthcare sector is no exception. Apps like Dr. Me not only give patients the opportunity to contact medical professionals at the touch of a button, they can digitalize prescriptions, formulate reminders, and deliver important test results. There are no lengthy waiting times, as ‘content’ (in this case healthcare) is, essentially, accessed piecemeal.

Rather than requiring users to present themselves in person, they can take control of when and how they access important information. Prescriptions are the best example of this because things like birth control and regular medications don’t usually need verification at every repetition. Demanding that a patient turns up at a clinic several times per month may be an unnecessary waste of time for both doctor and user.

Putting Power in the Hands of Patients

Visit to virtual doctor

Ever since Hippocrates, we have believed that the doctor knows best’ – that he is the only place to turn for reliable information and advice. We have also long been accustomed to the notion that this information is privileged and should, therefore, never be shared outside of specially designed environments. Mobile medical apps are set to change all of this and take healthcare directives right into the hands of patients.

This will, inevitably, free up the movement of information which has, in the past, been directed in a top-down motion. The problem with this old system is that it puts a huge amount of pressure on doctors to deliver quickly and ‘content clogs’ are the result. Mobile apps increase the number of access points so that patients can see prescriptions, test results, consultation notes, and more. Healthcare is no longer a static, fixed entity that we visit when we think we need to. It is an organic, responsive presence that is ever-present and always available.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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