Patient empowerment with the use of apps

 
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Health care costs are constantly rising and there is no foreseeable end for that in the future. Besides that the community is getting older and a shortage in health professionals becomes apparent. Nowadays one doctor has to treat a high number of patients per day which leaves him little time to invest on a single patient. It seems that this will not change in the near future. A solution to this problem should be to empower patients and let them to some extent diagnose themselves.

As almost all patients have online access, the retrieval of information about a certain problem should not be a problem. The use of tablets and smartphones enables patients having all information inside their pockets. Therefore a system should be provided which is easy to use and applicable to tablets. Patients should be able to administer their vital data such as blood pressure, heart rate, weight etc. Measurements should be performed on a daily basis. The device should have several interfaces connected to medical devices such as a scale or a blood pressure meter. Furthermore the patient could also give additional information on their health status. For example a patient could give information about recent injuries or diseases suffered from their ancestors. After all data was gathered by the system a statistical analysis should be performed which would result in a set of links to the internet where people would get information about a disease or medical condition they are suffering from. Furthermore all captured data would be sent to a database which is connected to a health professional who always has access to the patients data. If some vital parameters might be critical a health professional would be alarmed.

In conclusion, this tablet app could empower patients to inform themselves about their health status and have a good overview about their current health condition. Moreover it would take pressure away from health professionals who could invest more time on a patient who visits him in his or her practice.

 

4 Responses to “Patient empowerment with the use of apps”

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  2. “An interesting good idea with hidden stings in the tail. Of course the issues are compelling – more pressure on doctors and health systems, better connectivity, and new devices.

    BUT by no means *all* citizens have good connectivity – by no means all populations can access good broadband; not all households are on line; and not all citizens are e-literate. In fact the correlation is negative – proportionally it is older, poorer, less educated, and more remote citizens who are more likely to have chronic illnesses. So there is a great risk of an increasing digital divide.

    Secondly, the vision of self-diagnosis is flawed. Fine for many, but not for those who are not health literate – or who worry or who are potentially hypochondriacal.

    So, the development of innovative technology is fine. But it is the *systems* of deployment, and the ensuring of equity in effect and not just name, that really matters. The smart e-health tool is a valuable addition to the range of options, but it must not be seen as the only, and universal, solution. And there is the tendency of designing for ‘Patients Like Us’, as demonstrated by Showell and Turner, that is the greatest risk.

    See Showell C, Turner P. The PLU problem: are we designing personal ehealth for people like us?, Stud Health Technol Inform. 2013;183:276-80.

    Also European Science Foundation: Developing a New Understanding of Enabling Health and Wellbeing in Europe – Harmonising Health and Social Care Delivery and Informatics Support to Ensure Holistic Care; 2013.”

    Michael Rigby at LinkedIn Group: eHealth Intelligence Report

     
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