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July 10, 2013

How Smartphones Are Changing the Face of the Medical Profession

Mobile device being used.Smartphones have dramatically altered the way in which we communicate with each other, access the internet, conduct business affairs, and now even deal with medical conditions. Technology has always been a driving force behind improvements in the medical profession and the creation of Smartphones and tablet computers has enabled app and gadget developers to create some amazing inventions to push us forward once more.

Doctors Utilizing Apps in Practices
Doctors are becoming increasingly busy and overburdened with work as demands are increased year on year. Smartphones are being introduced to the clinical profession in order to streamline their workload and enable multiple tasks to be performed from one single device. Whereas previously a physician may have been using a work PC, laptop, mobile, diary, calendar, and even a personal assistant in some cases, they can now complete most of their tasks on one device. New generation Smartphones have the power and functionality to allow doctors to ditch their laptops and PCs in favor of their mobile device for work related tasks, and this really streamlines their activities.

Medical Apps Becoming Increasingly Popular
Apart from the basic functionality of the Smartphone for conducting routine administrative tasks, doctors are now using a host of specifically designed medical apps which help to make diagnosis, prescription detailing, drug dosage administration, and other functions much easier and quicker.

Epocrates is one of the most commonly used medical apps, having been developed in order to help doctors to prescribe the best drugs based on the symptoms given by patients. Instead of searching through endless books to find the answer, doctors can access a huge drug database with the touch of a button, or screen. There are also apps for keeping up to date on the latest medical news and legislation, working out common medical maths problems, patient billing, and a huge number of other tasks.

Patients and Doctors Can Monitor Treatments More Effectively
Doctors are not the only ones to benefit from the advances in Smartphone technology as app developers have also created monitoring systems which enable patients and doctors to keep a close eye on progress being made with long term treatments.

There are apps for reminding patients when to take their meds, recording when they have done so and tracking all of the vital information that is required during ongoing treatment such as blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, insulin levels and so on. This information can be automatically sent to the physician so that they can keep an eye on things without having to book more face to face appointments.

There are even apps for those who are looking for help to give up cigarettes. These are becoming increasingly popular in conjunction with more traditional forms of treatment for quitting smoking as they offer additional guidance and incentive. All of this type of long distance doctor patient supervision has proved to be extremely effective not only in ordinary surgery scenarios but also in remote locations and foreign countries such as Thailand and Kenya where Smartphone doctor trials have taken place. They offer a great technology solution for cash strapped regions who are looking to improve on healthcare facilities.

Smartphone Gadgets to Take Over From Standard Medical Tools?
Although the aforementioned administrative and tracking functions of the Smartphone and its relevant medical apps are helping to shape the way in which practices are conducted, the really exciting news for the medical industry is in the invention of new medical tools which operate though the Smartphone.

Special Microphones can be used to measure heart rate and irregularities. The phone’s light emitting diode and camera are also able to measure heart rate effectively. ECG and echocardiology recording equipment is being developed to work through a Smartphone. These developments, plus many more, are enabling doctors and patients to use their Smartphone for a whole host of functions which previously required expensive individual tools - and the possibilities seem almost endless.

In the wider scheme of healthcare, people are also utilizing apps on their Smartphones to help them get fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle, and this is great news for overall health statistics. From "get fit" and "lose weight" apps to yoga and aerobics training apps, keeping in shape has never been so easy.

This is a guest post by Lisa Baker.