Smartphones have had a radical impact on our lives in many ways today. Be it the convenience of banking while on the go or shopping from the comfort of our homes, the Smartphone has become a part of our daily life. With innovations in digital technology, the ubiquitous Smartphone is set to make its impact felt in the field of medicine as well, especially medical practice.
All aspects of healthcare, especially the all-important patient is set to take the center-stage in days to come. The Smartphone is no longer used for making or receiving calls, it is set to have various attachments that can detect murmurs in the heart or just keep track of its rhythms. There are several apps on the cards that can detect and diagnose ailments in the ear or even monitor mental ailments like the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s. While it may not become an effective do-it-yourself tool, and thus dispense with the need for a physician, it will certainly reduce the need to turn to a doctor at the drop of a hat.
Most Smartphones already sport features like compatibility to various medical devices like the common weighing scale or the essential blood pressure monitoring cuffs. These phones have already been upgraded to be compatible with pulse oximeters, and are already being used by several tech-savvy patients in their homes. Coming to the need for being tech-savvy, it is not space science we are talking about. Even the basic knowledge about the use of Smartphones should suffice.
These new Smartphone linked medical devices are going to change the way patients think about their own health. Gone are the days when medical equipment installed at homes needed manual supervision for maintaining records. Today’s sophisticated apps enable the patient related data to be recorded automatically and stored safely through innovative technologies like cloud computing. All such records are stored in digitalized personal profiles, and can be pulled up for reference by any doctor monitoring the particular patient’s health.
Yet on the cards is the next gen of Smartphone technology that will be capable of interfacing and synchronizing with its own apps. One can envisage Smartphones that are compatible with multiple devices, integrating them with tech-savvy patients, who are a creed by themselves in today’s fast paced world. Also expected are devices that feature all-in-one tools that are capable of gauging the temperature, measuring the blood pressure and blood oxygenation levels – all at the push of a button.
Patients can now look forward to centralizing at-home healthcare activities, thanks to the versatility of the Smartphones and the medical devices that can be made compatible with such advanced phones. One can’t rule out the possibility of a Smartphone being used as an ophthalmoscope for disc visualization or an otoscope that can help examine the inner ear. A pregnant woman may be able to lie down in her bed at home while her husband uses a Smartphone as a sonograph and check if everything is fine with the baby.
In short, the ubiquitous Smartphone has metamorphosed into a sophisticated instrument, and is no longer a mere tool for making or receiving calls. The usage spans broadly and can now be used to monitor one’s health sitting right at home, and by merely pushing buttons.