Mobile apps changing the doctor-patient relationship?

Mobile apps changing the doctor-patient relationship?

Health apps on smartphones are proliferating and can be helpful, but keep your doctor’s number.

In case you missed it this month, Apple’s “Special Event” devoted significant attention to health care innovation. It even brought onstage a doctor associated with a new app that lets clinicians view patients’ appointment schedules and see vital signs, such as heart rates, via the Apple Watch.

This new AirStrip app has plenty of company. A search of the term “mobile health” in the Apple App Store produces 22,755 programs that purport to do everything from consolidating personal health records to triaging symptoms. One app can even turn a smartphone into a medical device designed to diagnose patients with sleep apnea when a single-lead electrocardiograph (ECG) is connected to the phone.

Most apps are intended for use by consumers. But there are also those intended for clinical use by health care providers, assisting with assessment and decision making. Increasingly, they offer real-time care monitoring, allowing users to share health data with a doctor from a smartphone. Some apps even allow doctors to virtually assess, diagnose and treat patients without ever having them leave home.

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