When it comes to healthcare, knowledge is indeed power. When patients are given access to information about their care, they become empowered to make informed decisions about their healthcare providers, their treatment and about their health generally. Although physicians are trained experts in the field of medicine, a high rate of medical negligence continues to plague the American healthcare system. While it is important to have some amount of trust in one’s physicians, it is also important to play an active role in one’s care.
An increasing number of electronic tools are helping to ensure that American patients remain informed about their health and healthcare. For some time now, the availability of medical information online has both been a blessing and a curse for patients. Many Americans find valuable, reliable information about health and healthcare online. However, a great deal of misinformation also exists on the web.
Thankfully, patient-accessible medical tools have branched out beyond the unreliable Internet over the past several years. For example, a number of apps that can greatly enhance a patient’s active role in his or her healthcare are now available on smartphones.
These apps include AliveCor, which utilizes an attachment that allows patients to turn their personal smartphones into heart monitors that can transmit electrocardiograms to their physicians. Another app called CellScope Oto uses an attachment to turn iPhones in otoscopes so that patients may examine their ears.
Patients interested in taking a more active roll in their healthcare may benefit from researching some of these apps and sharing any concerns that arise with their physicians.
Source: New York Times, “Health Care Apps Offer Patients an Active Role,” Ann Carrns, April 25, 2014