People use their phones and tablets for everything these days, from communication to organization to entertainment. It is only natural that these devices that we have come to rely on for so much of our daily routine have made their way into the medical exam room. With constant innovations in the app market, more and more diagnostic apps are coming available for physicians and other health care professionals to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. From apps patients can use to report progress and track blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and other important numbers, to apps that can serve as a mobile replacement for medical devices, the technology available grows on a daily basis.
There has been much talk about the danger of undiagnosed and untreated concussions in the sports world. PAR, Inc has developed the CARE Sport app for use by team physicians, trainers, and other medical professionals to help diagnose concussions in athletes and assist in determining the best course of action for treatment. With this app on the sidelines, it’s easier for medical professionals to make a quick assessment and decide to bench an injured player or send them off to the emergency room for further analysis and treatment.
Eye and Retina Imaging
The D-Eye, a smartphone lens attachment and app combination, allows clinicians to perform examinations of the eye and retina without the need to use dilating drops. Though for more intense examinations, a traditional ophthalmoscope may be necessary, for a general practitioner or a low-key examination, this technology will allow a quick and less invasive assessment of the retina, macula, and more, including video capture and other useful tools.
EKG via smartphone
AliveCor can be used to monitor heart conditions for patients at home and transmit EKG results to a doctor. This simple phone-based app that uses fingertip sensors to detect heart rate and strength can help patients do away with the bulky equipment and invasive leads of a standard Holter monitor. The app records the data, sends it for review and analysis, then shares it to the physician so that they can review the data on a regular basis and make more immediate decisions about the care and treatment of their patients.
Clinical Symptom Checkers
It seems that symptom checkers are a dime a dozen and usually make medical professionals want to roll their eyes. However, there are some symptom checkers that are designed with the medical professional in mind, giving them insight to various diagnoses for their patients that may not have crossed their minds. Apps like this are less a glorified “Dr. Google” and more a library of information that can be accessed in the palm of your hand and used to sort out a set of unusual symptoms or confirm your suspicions on a diagnosis that you aren’t typically familiar with.
It’s exciting to watch all of the developments that help to improve patient care and outcomes and simplify the lives of medical professionals. We can’t wait to see what the future brings to us next!