Health care technologies like electronic health records and mobile apps could actually draw a line between patients and physicians rather than bring them closer together. Forbes recently examined this phenomenon by highlighting the Stanford Medicine X conference via Twitter. The news provider learned about the drawbacks of these technologies and how they're affecting the medical community through this virtual discussion.
Encourages self diagnosis
For starters, mobile apps originally created in hopes of solidifying the doctor-patient relationship could cause a stir simply by their nature. Apps that were designed to offer patients and doctors an abundance of medical information can invoke unnecessary fear in people. For example, someone might worry without reason if they happen to come across a medical diagnosis via an app encyclopedia.
As Forbes pointed out, this migration towards open communication can be problematic for several reasons. Some doctors believe that allowing patients to read about their history, condition and treatment can cause people to worry because they may misinterpret the information as being more serious than it really is. In other cases, migrating away from paper charts and into technologies only truly works assuming that everyone knows how to use a computer and apps.
Doesn't cover all demographics
Pew stated that at least 13 percent of American adults don't use the internet, 10 percent don't own a cellphone and 42 percent don't own a smartphone. Those percentages are certainly not the majority of Americans but they are still a big chunk of the nation's health care patients.
People who don't have one or any of these technological amenities might find it challenging to grasp how to use mobile devices to stay in touch with a physician. They might not understand exactly what their doctors are telling them about their health, which can be a major problem because it might prevent them from getting the treatment and help that they need.
People aren't using apps
What's more, Pew found that of all smartphone users, just 19 percent have downloaded an app to keep track of health, which is not a lot of people. This means that the majority of folks who have kept up with technology and mobile trends still aren't utilizing them for health care, which could indicate a lack of understanding around medical apps.
In general, people still prefer face-to-face or over-the-phone direct communication with doctors and health care providers. Pew indicated that 91 percent of people agreed that professional sources, such as doctors and nurses, are the best resources for an accurate medical diagnosis.
Check-ups may continue
Between an underwhelming response for medical apps and people's desire to continue direct communication with physicians over computers, traditional methods may endure. Looking ahead, there will be a demographic of people who are unable to grasp technology, which will make it tricky for them to get the appropriate medical attention that they need.
Medical facilities don't necessarily have to throw in the towel on mobile apps and digital technology, however, to appease everyone, they should continue to leverage printed documents and use traditional methods of health care treatment.