Judging by the sheer popularity of smartphones in modern times, it’s safe to say that this multi-faceted and dynamic invention may just be the best thing since sliced bread. Maybe even better, if sales figures from smartphone manufacturers are anything to go by. The Smartphone’s utility isn’t restricted to the quintessential teenager texting all day or for showing the world what you had for lunch earlier that day. The advent of smartphones and their ability to connect to the veritable hoard of information that is the Internet has revolutionized life in general and pretty much every profession on the face of this world too.
The substantial healthcare industry here in the United States is most definitely one such example. The truth of the matter, though, is that the total impact of smartphones and mobile apps hasn’t even hit the industry yet, but that’s all about to change. Traditionally, the whole dynamic between healthcare professionals and the general population was that of blind faith. The knowledge and expertise of healthcare professionals wasn’t ever questioned, for better or for worse.
Things all began to change with the advent of the Internet in households across the USA. People started to conduct research on medical maladies that they were suffering from. They started to question the choice of medication, course of treatment taken, and potential side effects. These and many other things that would have been left to the professional’s judgment but a few years earlier were being challenged now that the patient was armed with information.
Where apps fit in
Whether this situation was and is good or bad is still up for debate, but this is where this revolution originated from. When smartphones came to the fore, this situation was taken up a few notches. A study conducted by IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics in 2013 pointed at over 40,000 healthcare-related apps available for download then in the iTunes App Store. Imagine how many more there are when taking platforms like Windows and Android into account. The sheer diversity of topics, too, covered under the healthcare ambit is staggering.
The options are amazing
Take Alivecor for example. A bundle that includes a wireless mobile-connectivity capable heart monitor, the Alivecor app + hardware costs close to $80. With this app, anyone can conduct an electrocardiogram anywhere at any time! It is very user-friendly and can be used by people with a history of heart disease to monitor their health at any given time.
IsabelHealthcare is another app that’s pretty popular. This app helps doctors and patients to enter their symptoms into the database, and possible diagnoses are then received based on the information provided and how much of it finds a match in the database. Misdiagnoses are still one of the banes of the medical industry, and apps such as this can help to avert such situations. These are pretty much mainstream, hardcore medical apps. There are others, too, that aren’t so direct.
For instance, take the more offbeat healthcare profession of medical transcription. For those who are unaware of what a medical transcriptionist is, here’s a video and an infographic by Career Step to help shed some light on the subject. There are quite a few apps out there, such as OvernightScribe that have been specifically designed to do something as niche in the healthcare industry as aid the job of a medical transcriptionist.
To give you an even better idea of said diversity, there are completely patient focused apps available out there that are purpose-built to help a patient with the treatment of one particular ailment. Asthma Sense, for example, has been designed as a one-stop shop for all asthma patients to help monitor, manage and control this illness. Then there’s Glooko, an app that helps diabetes patients by recording blood sugar level data through a sync feature that is compatible with 30+ recording meters. It also provides them with stats and figures in a graph form or as numbers, and gives them access to a food database that tells them how healthy the food they’re eating is.
Adaptation is the only course of action
Apps like these, and the thousands upon thousands of others that are available out there today, mean that the landscape of the healthcare industry is shifting to a more proactive, patient-driven scenario. Medical and healthcare professionals of every kind will have to adapt to these changes for the industry to continue flourishing going forward.
Adaptation, as you will find, will be the only course of action.
Frida has been working as a career guidance counselor for about 12 years. She’s stayed on top of growing industry trends through market research and interaction with young students and working professionals alike. Her hobbies include swimming, meditation and music. She believes that everyone can enjoy a lucrative career by paying close attention to their passions and aptitudes. Of late, Frida has been focused on researching work-from-home opportunities for stay-at-home moms or professionals who would like to supplement their income.