As technology continues to inundate every aspect of our world, we have used the latest tech tools, services, and devices to improve our lives and make us more involved in our own healthcare. One of the greatest advancements has been the mobile movement and the “app-generation”. Hospitals, insurance agencies, and even self-diagnosis apps have all begun to take over the marketplace, quite successfully if I might add. If you’re away on vacation and roll your ankle, your insurance company’s app can tell you where to go that is in their coverage network. If you’re out hiking and encounter / rub against a poisonous plant, you can quickly pull up an app to see how to handle it – the possibilities and scenarios are endless.
While it is possible to call your doctor for medical concerns, most people will look at and read an app before making a phone call. And, depending on where you are in the world, companies even have apps that let you communicate directly with them and their doctors with a concern, getting you pointed in the right direction without even having to schedule an appointment. While we’re on the topic of scheduling appointments, many apps can do that for you now too!
The truth is that these apps, as well as web platforms that support them, are changing healthcare and how we access it as we know it. Some apps allow you to speak with a doctor over the phone or even video chat with them, receiving a virtual consultation and assessment. This is making healthcare more affordable than it has been in a long time and also gives access to healthcare to people who can’t access it easily (no transport, specialist doctor required, etc.). And as the apps are getting more competitive, the costs of a consultant are being driven down and are giving people better access to sound medical advice without a high price tag.
Some of the most innovative apps include:
- Shameless plug alert: I do consider VetX as one of the most innovate apps for providing affordable and accessible healthcare for your pets. VetX's mission is to bring veterinary healthcare to the 21st century by building the technological infrastructure to support the demands of our modern economy. The platforms (mobile and web) allows pet owners to connect to vets on-demand for a text, voice, or video call and allows patients to access their pets' healthcare records through the cloud when they need it.
- Doctors On Demand: This app lets you have a live video consult with a board-certified physician, psychologist, lactation consultant, and more from your phone or tablet. Doctor visits are only $40 and the app is even willing to bill most insurance companies for that cost. The app is available at all hours, so even middle of the night questions can be addressed by a healthcare professional.
- HealthTap: This app is even available on Apple Watches. It offers free answers from their pool of 85,000 physicians. Like Doctors On Demand, HealthTap offers consultations with their physicians anytime on any day. You can also have your own concierge doctor, allowing you to build a personal relationship with your virtual doctor.
- Microsoft Healthvault: Beyond the apps that give you quick medical advice and help, there is Microsoft Healthvault. This app allows to you to keep all of your medical records secure and with you at all times. You can keep track of any labs you have been to, doctors you see, and even sync your Fitbit if you have one.
- PillPack: PillPack is a great app for anyone dealing with multiple medications. It works directly with your healthcare provider, getting scripts renewed and refilled before you run out and sending them to you by mail.
There are more apps being added onto the marketplace by the day, further expanding our own healthcare options. As more apps are added and the use of smartphones and tablets expanded, healthcare will continue to improve and change with technology.
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