Apps and their impact on medical practice
Technology is becoming increasingly important in all aspects of health care, from diagnosis to the handling of patient information. Mobile devices and the applications used by all echelons of medical professionals are revolutionizing clinical practice. Apps have greatly influenced how doctors gather information about a patient, store their records, communication, and even complex decision-making tasks. Additionally, the technology provided by mobile apps has drastically changed the education of future medical personnel.
Mobile apps also consistently demonstrate their importance by enhancing patient outcomes. Despite reluctance from some HCPs in integrating apps into their procedures, this technology boasts several features that give greater convenience and expedience to medical professionals, such as GPS systems, audio recorders, cameras, and the ability to conduct web searches.
What is an app?
Put simply, an app is software that can be run on different platforms such as mobile devices or computers. Because of improvements in technology, namely faster processing capabilities, increased memory, and more elegant operating systems, development for mobile apps has grown substantially.
The purposes for medical apps really do run the gamut, from prescribing to diagnosis, to billing and e-learning.
It’s also worth noting that mobile apps simply bolster the effectiveness of desktop apps, and aren’t meant to replace them. Medical apps have become pervasive among physicians and students, with 50% using their preferred up at least once a day. In January of 2014, the apple store boasted 1 million apps to select from. Obviously, the amount of apps available has only increased since then.
While those that download apps typically choose free alternatives, they will upgrade to the fully functional paid version if needed. However, some apps that cost nothing don’t pull any punches and allow for full functionality right off the bat. Some are worth the purchase, such as medical journals and textbooks that can be downloaded in app form. While the initial costs can be substantial, upgrades included with a subscription can actually save money since it will eliminate the need for purchasing the latest editions.
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