Some of us will remember the old urinalysis report of Too Numerous To Count.
Certainly, the same report could be given for smart phone medical apps. We and our patients can track our blood sugar, exercise, blood pressure, weight, well being, stress and sleep. We have diet apps and women’s apps. We have medical references, and even physiologic monitoring.
Useful and concise reviews can be found at Medical iPhone. They reviewed ClickCare on Wednesday, April 20, 2011. A search in the Apple App store reveals nearly 6000 apps.
The buzz in the media, and the great majority of apps, center on those that are for the patient and consumer (B2C). There are many exciting (and some say futuristic) apps which help the owner of the smart phone to diagnose and care for herself. We do not demean these efforts, but have to ask the question: “What next?”
What does the provider do when the patient comes into the office hunched over, concerned, and holding a beautiful graphic display, delineating a consistently elevated blood sugar. She switches apps and the display shows blood pressure, high, as well. She has documented her intermittent headaches on her headache app. She brings in a Google search.
She has not shown you an app for observation, but you observe acne and increased facial hair and think it unusual for a 43 year old.
So what next? Have you made the diagnosis? With which specialist should you confer? Do you call the renal person for her hypertension, a diabetologist, a neurologist? What studies would each like before seeing the patient? Since you know each of these as individuals in your community, and they are part of your natural network, who, indeed, could diagnose and comfort the patient best?
You have two choices:
1. You could pick up the phone or walk down the hall, wait until the CNA gets done with her break and ask her to dial. Or, you could wait on hold, ask the receptionist to ask the nurse to ask the doctor to “get him out of the room.” Or, you could tell the patient that she might have a brain tumor, a lung tumor, an obesity problem, a new onset of diabetes, a normal expectation of hypertension, and to go see one of the specialists and tell him what you think. Maybe you want to dictate a letter, and wait for one to be returned. Expect the patient to wait for appointments for a long time because these folks are really busy.
2. You could take a picture with your iPhone, distill the history, and with three clicks of the mouse, ask each specialist for his thoughts, preferred tests, and concurrence with your presumed diagnosis. Did you make yours yet? Each specialist gets back to you with a simple reply button, you call the patient, you share the diagnosis and the coordinated, collaborative treatment plan.
Someday, ClickCare will help each patient with her own care, but right now, today, it can help you, her trusted advisor, advocate, and experienced provider to care for her and yourself – quickly, securely, and with great satisfaction.
You just experienced (B2B). As the consumer wave rushes towards the medical professional’s office, help is available for those providers who care for them. Patients and consumers alike, still need help, and their providers need to help each other.
That’s what’s next.
Here is the Answer.
Or if you are really cool, take out your smartphone and read this bar code.