How doctors and patients can best use healthcare apps during COVID-19
Wednesday, July 22, 2020
As we continue to deal with life during the pandemic, physicians and healthcare organizations want to make essential medical information easier to access and more accurate. With the healthcare landscape literally changing on a second-to-second basis, however, you may think that the go-to solution of apps might not be as up-to-date or reliable as is necessary.
The good news is there are great apps that are being developed and refined on a constant basis right now so healthcare organizations, physicians and patients can get the very latest data they need.
What are some of the most interesting and effective new app technologies being used for coronavirus-related healthcare concerns? Read on to learn more.
Contact tracing apps.
According to research published in The Lancet, South Korea, which has consistently recorded some of the lowest per-capita COVID-19 death rates in the world, has focused on app tools that use GPS and recognition technology to be able to monitor people's travel and alert them to danger of exposure.
This way, citizens can receive emergency text alerts about new COVID-19 cases where they are, be alerted that they may have been in contact with someone who is infected and get instructions on testing and self-isolation.
Of course, patient privacy and HIPAA concerns must be paramount when taking this kind of technology into consideration but considering the powerful potential this kind of app has for mitigation, it's worth educating yourself about, and then potentially discussing with your teams and patients.
Patient self-monitoring apps.
The Lancet study also found that in Germany, apps on smartwatches can easily collect a patient's pulse, temperature, and sleep patterns to screen for possible signs of COVID-19 symptoms. Patients can then be told they need to contact a healthcare professional for further screening if the info collected indicates they may have contracted the virus.
This kind of technology has clear benefits when trying to stem hotspot transmission rates.
Apps that allow your patients to maintain treatment of chronic conditions.
Doctors are understandably concerned that their patients may be avoiding regular care visits to avoid COVID-19 at this time. An easy solution? Using new apps for patients to self-track their progress, keep up with meds, and make telehealth appointments easier.
And it works: Express Scripts finds that there has been a 10% increase in overall utilization of diabetes monitoring programs during the pandemic. Using these apps can be a literal lifesaver for many of your patients.
Of course, in using any app, it's key that you remind your patients to look for data from reliable organizations and agencies rather than following rumor or hearsay.
The bottom line: the right apps can give patients a sense of control. During these uncertain times, doctors can do a lot to help a patient understand the specifics of the pandemic.
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