Most people consider Apple to be one of the companies in the forefront of innovating personal consumer tech products. Computers, smartphones, tablets, media players– all of these industries have jumped forward overnight thanks to Apple’s signature blend of style, uniformity, and functionality.
But what many people, and maybe Apple themselves, don’t realize is that Apple’s push for portable power has made great progress in the unlikely field of health care. Multiple surveys conducted within this decade show that around 75% of all physicians own at least one Apple branded product. So what kind of impact does that figure have on how the everyday patient receives treatment?
A New Part of the Uniform
When we think of doctors now, we think of the white coat, the stethoscope– maybe some handheld diagnostic tools in the breast pocket. This universal image of a doctor is changing with the small addition of wearable technology.
From medical sensors to smart watches, the look of doctors and patients alike are changing subtly due to planned technology from Apple and other companies that will display and maintain a log of medical activities that doctors can use to get a better sense of a patient’s heart rate, blood sugar levels, or blood pressure throughout the hours of the day and the days of the week.
This information will allow doctors to make smarter, more-informed diagnoses and provide more specialized treatment options for patients, giving them exactly what they need to treat their medical problems.
WebMD’s Medscape application is becoming the sort of all-in-one newsfeed for medical professionals, an indispensable way of keeping up to date with current medical news as well as on-the-fly checks to see how medications react to one another and other safety measures. As of this writing, Medscape is ranked the most downloaded app among medical professionals.
By having this kind of information always at the ready on a mobile device, doctors can do their jobs more safely and correctly without slowing down the outpatient process even the slightest bit. In fact, for many, this kind of instant access to information could very well speed up the average wait time and the amount of time a person spends visiting a doctor.
Additionally, new apps are getting FDA approval regularly that allow technicians access to scans and images on a patient’s file through their mobile device, making it easier to share information throughout a medical facility or from technician to outside specialist.
Self-Diagnostics on the Rise
For those that would rather put off seeking professional advice until it’s certainly something serious, there are thousands of apps in Apple’s marketplace that allow consumers to run diagnostics on their own bodies and make smarter decisions about seeking treatment.
From the popular options that monitor sleep cycles and help users wake up feeling rested to more specialized apps that take photos of skin anomalies or conduct vision tests, more and more consumers are pulling back the veil on medical treatment. Obviously, anything serious should always be left up to a doctor to decide how to treat, but some of these apps allow for transmission to a patient’s doctor if results are outside the norm.
This way, a doctor knows about a patient’s progress even without them having to come in for a visit, and if things are serious, the doctor can get in touch and let them know how to proceed.
Mobile computing seems to transform everything it touches, and health care is no exception. As the marketplace shifts to allow for more wearable devices, doctors will be able to pull charts, write prescriptions, and make an educated diagnosis without leaving the exam room, while patients will be able to know with more clarity what their body is doing without constantly having to make trips to the doctor.
Whether or not this kind of advancement is intentional from Apple, it’s clear that they are responsible for contributing to an increase in smarter public health in the long run.
Mark Kirkpatrick is an online writer and tech enthusiast in Los Angeles, California. In addition to researching how technology affects every industry, he also contributes to 1800-Number.com’s blog with his knowledge of business communications and innovations in virtual office tech.