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In recent years, the future of health care services has been thrown into the spotlight repeatedly, with questions of accessibility, affordability, and other changes and reforms. One of the most substantial changes in the healthcare industry is the increasing demand for instant medical services through the development of healthcare apps. These interpreting platforms allow users to access medical information and advice from their phones. Depending on the specific app you choose, you can have on-demand access to a range of services including, but not limited to, direct messaging with your doctor, arranging prescriptions with your pharmacist, ordering standard medical tests to your home, and talking to psychiatrists about your mental health concerns.
These applications are providing invaluable medical services to individuals who otherwise may face challenges and/or reservations regarding seeking out healthcare services. They can save users the time and costs of making and attending appointments in person, as well as increase accessibility for those who may struggle to get medical help due to existing physical or mental conditions. It also eliminates proximity issues for anyone who cannot reach a doctor under extenuating circumstances, such as being out of town or being in a foreign country. The partnership between the companies offering these applications and the medical professionals providing their services through them allows a broader—and possibly international—clientele to be reached.
Day Interpreting is an on-demand phone interpreting platform supporting the main languages these healthcare app users speak. This further eliminates the bridges between countries and access to healthcare, that technology started to break down.
Companies across the board are now trying to keep up with the demand for such services, leading to the rapid development of medical software applications for use on smartphones. According to research conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2019, 81% of Americans own smartphones, so taking advantage of this increasingly popular channel of communication and information makes sense. Being able to reach doctors and other medical services on demand serves not only patients, but also health care professionals (HCPs), and both private and government-run healthcare institutions.
These apps can save HCPs at the same time and money for unnecessary appointments as they can patients. HCPs are now able to streamline their clinical practice by adopting healthcare apps that provide access to point-of-care tools, time management services, medical information, health record maintenance, on-demand consultations, easy patient monitoring, medical education, and employee training. In just a few minutes, a doctor can consult with their patients, find a diagnosis, and send prescriptions, without ever having to leave the same app. Besides, through conducting virtual clinical visits with their patients, doctors and their healthcare organizations can avoid the potential issues with patients not attending their appointments.
On the other hand, there are some potential drawbacks to using healthcare apps to seek medical advice and treatment. It is often the case that face-to-face interactions are pivotal to HCPs providing accurate assessments and guidance, as it can be easy for miscommunications to hinder the process via online communication. What’s more, HCPs may not feel as though they are required to put their full knowledge and attention into interactions with patients, as they are now relying primarily on digitized informational databases and services. It is important that these applications are designed with these drawbacks in mind and that the companies developing them focus on creating useful and accessible services for their clients, whether they offer for HCPs or patients.
Another issue users may face when interfacing with healthcare apps is the lack of regulation, the speed with which this trend in medical apps rose means that the quality of services can vary. Some applications are FDA approved and supported by healthcare professionals, while others have been quickly developed to cash in on this technological trend and consequently lack proper approval and regulation. Users need to be aware of the possible conflict of interest between themselves and the app developers, as it may lead to unreliable services if the data is not evidence-based or kept up-to-date.
Improved Quality of Care
However, the surge in application-based medical services brings with it an industry-changing attitude towards patient/HCP interactions. These digital media platforms aim to not only facilitate the effective delivery of patient care but also to work to improve it actively. By adopting the customer-centric approach that many other industries thrive on, healthcare organizations can better tailor their services to individual patients. Patterning patient experiences after consumer experiences in other industries will allow patients to receive care that is specific and customized to them, as organizations will be striving for the highest level of customer service.
The following are just some of the many healthcare service apps now available:
- Medici: this application offers a platform for both health care professionals and patients to access information and medical services. It allows patients to primarily text with their doctors to discuss concerns and symptoms, while doctors can assess to decide whether the patient needs to receive further testing or treatment.
- Digital Pharmacist: this service offers users full information and advice about their medications, as well as communication channels between patients and pharmacies to ensure users have all the resources they need regarding their conditions and medications.
- Talkspace: this platform supplies users with a straightforward channel to connect with therapists and other mental health professionals. Therapeutic services are often expensive, and it can take time to find a therapist with whom you feel comfortable. This app makes it easy to find the right licensed therapist for each user and means you can talk to them whenever it suits your schedule.
- Babylon Health: this ground-breaking AI software is designed to mimic the interpersonal interaction of a doctor with their patient. It is capable of recognizing the way patients express their symptoms and uses cutting-edge machine learning technology to cross-reference with its vast database of medical information and user information to provide advice and treatment options.