It’s hard to imagine life without mobile applications; they’ve revolutionised how consumers communicate with friends, access information, and track our life and fitness goals. Now health care may be the next field to be disrupted by the power and convenience of mobile computing.
In the near future you could use your mobile device to communicate with your GP, track the progress of symptom relief, and keep on top of treatments. The inconvenience of scheduling appointments, and the stress of waiting to receive a diagnosis and treatment recommendations, could soon be as distant as depending on a desktop computer to check your email.
ResearchKit and CareKit
Firstly, there’s Apple’s CareKit. CareKit is an extension of ResearchKit, an open source software platform that has revolutionised medical research. ResearchKit was released in June 2015 and has proved popular with researchers. There are currently clinical trials for autism, epilepsy, and cancer occurring on the platform. CareKit extends the disruptive potential of ResearchKit into personal healthcare. CareKit’s powerful software platform will allow physicians, hospitals, and medical insurance providers to develop custom apps that will introduce an unprecedented degree of immediacy and convenience into the doctor-patient relationship.
Apple COO Jeff Williams announced that the first CareKit app will be available for patients with Parkinson’s. This builds on the success of a ResearchKit app that helps researchers track Parkinson’s symptoms. The CareKit app “surfaces that information for patients and doctors”, allowing patients to keep their GPs and specialists updated, in real-time, about symptom progression.
Safe Pregnancy and Birth
This award winning app provides maternal health knowledge to expectant mothers and health care providers in developing countries. It provides information to pregnant women on ways to maintain their health during pregnancy and what to do if an emergency situation arises. It is also an information resource for community health workers, explaining certain procedures, such as how to stop bleeding post birth and how to treat shock.
This is an app that reminds users to take their medication. As well as getting reminders at the correct time of day to take their medicine, it allows users to monitor and keep track of the medications they take. Using GPS facilities on your phone, location based alerts can be created, reminding people to take their medication when they get the office or get home from work.
AXA PPP healthcare, a provider of private medical insurance in the UK, is changing the way patients connect with their doctors through the ‘[email protected]’ service that connects patients and GPs through video or phone appointments, reducing the need to take time off work for medical appointments.
With many more apps being developed with the aim of improving patient wellbeing, health care is being revolutionized in ways that was unthinkable a few years ago. Soon quality medical care may be as close as your mobile!