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‘Medical Selfies’ – Replacing Doctor Visits with Apps

Posted on September 13th, 2017 by in New Materials & Applications

Kardia Mobile

Image (crop from original) by AliveCor, Inc. [Content on YouTube] via YouTube

Since first achieving mass adoption in 1999 in Japan, the smartphone has rapidly evolved, leaving many forms of technology by the wayside such as desktop computers, telephones, and televisions. Could its next immolation be physical doctor’s visits?

Research recently published from a survey performed by the Advisory Board and reported on by Fahad Tahir in LinkedIn seems to suggest consumers may be ready. According to the survey findings, up to 77% of respondents would consider seeing a provider virtually, and 19% have already done so. As healthcare costs continue to rise along with health insurance deductibles, consumers may be willing to trade personal time with their physician for the convenience of real time 24/7 access.

Based on personal experience and discussions with my aging parents, scheduling and wait times are of increasing concern. It can take months to get an appointment even for simple tests and visits are rushed as overbooking appointments is commonplace. The National Institute of Health finds a median visit length of 15.7 minutes between patients and their primary care physicians covering a median of 6 topics. While topics covered in each visit vary widely, about 5 minutes was spent on the longest topic with the remaining topics each receiving 1.1 minutes. Utilizing asynchronous communications technology on a smartphone through text, email, or an app would enable patients to contribute data as it came to mind and doctors/nurses/clinicians to respond in kind providing a record of malities and their treatment.

One overt sign of a technology reaching maturation is mass advertising. The developing company is satisfied that it has reached a functionality and price point such that consumers will beat a path to their door and begin marketing their wares. Kardia Mobile by AliveCor is a recent example targeting patients with conditions involving heart arrhythmia. A combination of a hardware touchpad with finger contacts and a software app for your smartphone, this innovative approach creates a mobile EKG any patient can use on demand. Have a look at the following YouTube video from AliveCor to see it in action as well as the results it’s delivering:

There are ample opportunities for innovation in the healthcare industry. Leveraging the pervasiveness of the smartphone platform – not to mention the compute power now available in the palm of your hand – is a great strategy for developers to accelerate mass adoption. We now pump our own gas, purchase groceries and retail items using self checkout lanes, and get cash through an ATM, HAL 9000 could make a fine virtual doctor.

What are your thoughts about medical selfies? Could the smartphone be your next EMT? Tell us about your quest for unconventional knowledge and what it could mean for the future of your products or companies. Share your thoughts in the comments section below and don’t forget to follow us on your favorite social media channel.


All opinions shared in this post are the author’s own.

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