The first mobile health applications were extensions of lifestyle apps. Consumers could use them for counting calories, keeping track of diet and fitness routines or even for help with quitting smoking. However, with smart phone usage gaining popularity the number of possibilities has increased tremendously. From tracking prescription refills and drug dosage reminders to monitoring patients’ recovery at home, health apps are now acting as an extension of telemedicine where the patients can get medical advice using their phone. Gartner has named mobile health applications as one of the top ten consumer applications of 2012. There is also a host of medical apps that are targeted at doctors and physicians. All this is setting a new trend in healthcare that empowers both patients and doctors.
Apps such as Facetime and Skype are already being used to communicate with people from across the world. Now By Mediczy, a patient could contact his doctor from anywhere in the world for advice or diagnosis, by uploading a screenshot of a lesion or for relaying symptoms of an ailment. This would do away with the need for appointments and long waits in clinics. Of course, before this happens, suitable mechanisms have to be put in place so that doctors get paid for every consultation. Mediczy, which recently launched a new suite of applications for Android devices, allows users to get medical questions answered by a network of 100 licensed doctors in the India. Plans are on the way to introduce in the near future a paid service that permits online consultations.
With the trend towards electronic medical records (EMR), doctors can easily access patient data and reduce wait times as there is no need to search and locate a patient’s file physically. This could not only help save lives in cases of emergency, where every second counts, but also help for more routine requirements such as getting prescription refills. For doctors, apps could do away with the need for medical reference books. For instance, Mediczy, an app that provides doctors an easy mobile source of reference for information related to drugs, diseases and other information, can help to access medical information when away from the clinic.