Ever since the advent of the Internet, patients have been turning to it for health information. This has been a mixed blessing for medical professionals. On one hand, an educated patient is an engaged patient and that leads to better health outcomes. On the other hand, the information available online can be unreliable, and sometimes a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. With the ongoing mobile revolution, apps are the next big thing, and the market for health-related apps is growing each year. Now patients have access to a wide range of medical tools right on their tablet or smartphone. But what does this mean for you and your practice? How can you harness the power of mobile medical apps to make sure that both your patients and your business benefit?
Healthcare apps for patients
The danger, of course, is that the apps patients are using may not be reliable or may lead to an overconfidence than means patients don’t feel the need to call a doctor in certain situations. The best way to address this is to take a proactive stance. Do a bit of research and “prescribe” apps that you trust. You’ll benefit by having your patients take on a more active role in their own health care while steering them away from harmful or suspect apps. When patients feel that they are in partnership with their doctor, their respect and trust will grow. The right apps can actually help patients identify problems early, bringing them into the office before an injury or illness becomes an emergency. Medication apps can help keep patients on track with treatment plans, while general wellness apps can aid in weight loss, chronic disease management and symptom tracking. How can you find out which apps are the best? As of 2013, the FDA has cleared 103 medical apps, and that list may be a good place to start.
Medical apps for clinicians
A lot of the buzz around health care apps has to do with patient empowerment, but there are also a wealth of new apps that are designed specifically to help doctors and other medical staff run their practices more efficiently. Reader apps can keep you up to date on your favorite medical journals, remote-access apps can put files at your fingertips on the go, while mobile compendiums can make looking up drug and pharmaceutical information a snap. Wading through the thousands of available programs can be dizzying, so check out your favorite medical newsletters and blogs for the latest recommendations. The right app at the right time could transform the way you do business.
Keeping up with the latest trends in technology can feel like just another task in an already overloaded schedule, but online healthcare and apps are here to stay. Stay informed and stay engaged: your patients will thank you, and your practice will flourish.