Today’s post on Health Technology is written by WEGO Health intern Tayla Holman (Welcome, Tayla!). Tayla’s post zeros-in on the tablet phenomenon (particularly, the iPad) and how the shiny magazine-sized pieces of technology are sliding their way into our healthcare. Whether you have your own iPad or, like me, still covet one – the use of tablets are changing healthcare in a way that will begin to influence all of us. Check out Tayla’s thoughts on how the iPad is changing the health sphere. As you read, keep in mind your own health community – have conversations about tablets or apps come up? (Don’t miss our Apps & Activism Webinar next Monday 6/27- to learn a lot more!) Have you begun to manage your health with apps or are you waiting for the tablet market to diversify a bit more? And, perhaps most importantly, how can we, as Health Activists, bring the iPad-for-health conversation back to our communities with all the excitement, healthy skepticism, and curiosity we bring to our leadership? –Amanda
The iPad and Your Health
Once again, Apple has changed the game.
It’s clichéd, but true. With the release of the original iPad, and now the iPad 2, came an onslaught of new apps, many of which were in the medical category. Some are even free, or at least relatively cheap. There are dozens, if not more, websites dedicated to the best medical apps for the iPad, and many doctors are incorporating the tablet into their interactions with patients.
Let’s take a look at three ways the iPad is revolutionizing health care.
iPads are playing an increasingly large role in exam and surgery rooms:
Doctors are using iPads to show patients what they may look like after reconstructive surgery, and to show them radiographs of their injuries. The iPad also allows doctors to have all of their patients’ information in one place, instead of having to get a different chart every time they enter an exam room. Apparently it can even take X-rays through clothes! Cool, but kind of creepy.
Doctors have been quick to embrace the iPad and what it can do for them and their patients. Dr. Richard Watson, an emergency room physician at MetroSouth said that the use of the iPad for electronic health records (EHR) spread “like wildfire.” The Loyola University Medical Center has even given iPads to its orthopedic residents. There’s no doubt that other hospitals will adopt this practice if they haven’t already.
Take control of your own health:
With the availability of medical record, drug interaction, and symptom checker apps, it is much easier to take control of your own health. While an app can’t – and shouldn’t – replace getting professional medical attention, it can be helpful for keeping track of medications, records, and lab reports. Having that information close at hand is just one step to being an informed and empowered health activist or patient.
There are so many different apps that you let you keep entire medical histories, not just for yourself, but for your family members as well. With one of these apps, you never have to worry about if different medications have a negative interaction or what dosages to take. This is especially helpful for people who are caregivers or who take several medications and need to keep track of that information on a daily basis.
Keep in touch with your health community on the go:
Imagine sitting in a waiting room at your doctor’s office, and flipping through a magazine with an interesting article. The article gets you thinking, and you can’t wait to get home and write about it. But you remember – “I brought my iPad today!” – and get your blog post (on your WEGO Health page, of course) done before you’ve even had your temperature taken. You share the post on Twitter and Facebook and in the time it takes to get your weight and height checked, you’ve already received several comments.
Or perhaps you want to share news with one of your health communities once you’ve left an appointment. Some smart phones just aren’t convenient for heavy-duty writing, but the iPad is. Or you might be like Alicia Stanley and make it a “mission to find the best apps for patients and health activists.”
How else do you use an iPad for healthcare? Do you see it is a negative or positive that this technology is radically changing the medical field?
The health technology world seems to grow leaps and bounds by the day but – our ever-evolving imaginations grow along with it. “That’s nice,” we tell our smart phones, laptops, and other devices, “but I want my technology to do even more.” Or, at least for this prompt we will say that.
If a new technological advance could give you anything – what would it be?
Invent a new piece of health technology that manages, treats, alters, or just improves an aspect of your health (or lifestyle) and be as creative as you can. How will this technology influence your community or the greater world overall? If you have some mechanical know-how – attempt to construct the technology using ideas you already have and implement your wishes for improvement. What do you call this piece of technology?
Bring this prompt over to Twitter and tell us:
What do you wish technology could give you?
What piece of technology would you invent (use the #FTTJune Hashtag), pop over to Facebook and leave a little status there, or write up a quick blog post or discussion in your community to get everyone to put on their inventor’s hats.
Need inspiration? Check out this amazing TED talk all about the newest medical technology that’s on the horizon (it’s seriously incredible) and you may realize that your dream app, device, or technology is already on its way to becoming real…
In honor of our June theme of Health Technology – we’re putting on a webinar event all about health apps. We’ll be discussing how apps are influencing the healthcare world and how they will improve your Health Activism and help your community!
Join us live on Monday, June 27th, at 9pm EST for a conversation with Halle Tecco, founder of seed-accelerator and idea incubator for health apps – Rock Health (@rock_health) – and Ankylosing Spondylitis Health Activist and app enthusiast Kelly Johnston (@Hope4AS)! We’ll discuss the apps that are already out there influencing Health Activism, hear how Kelly is getting into the app world, and Halle will tell us how you can turn your idea for an app into a reality! Let’s get the inside scoop on this new mobile trend together – it’s going to be an exciting event and hopefully we will all learn a lot!
What questions do you have for either of these two app-tastic individuals? Share any questions when you sign up to attend here:
We hope to see you and your community members there and on Twitter (as always – tweet with us using #wegowebinar!)
This month we will be learning all about Health Technology together. Health tech that you already use, love, and recommend – as well as some new health tech that you’ve heard of, invented in your dreams, or want to try. The important part of our focus is how these technologies will influence your health community in a positive (and futuristic) way.
Whether you’re a smart phone user, proud owner of a shiny tablet, utilize a device for managing your condition, or are just interested in the way healthcare is going to evolve through technology – there will be a lot to see and share this month. Everything from the fitness, nutrition, and wellness aspects of health tech to adherence, device usage, and condition management. What technology excites you the most right now? What health apps or games are your favorites? Have healthcare professionals started using technology in your care?
We’ll be discussing everything from mobile to video and lots of technology in between. Because the term “health technology” is wide-reaching and rather undefined – we have the opportunity to go in lots of different directions and bring in a range of topics to our conversation.
Stay tuned for editorial features this month and, if you haven’t yet, check out our Health Technology Group over in the WEGO Health Community to join in a conversation or start your own. I can’t wait to learn more about “the future” with you and help you talk about health tech in your communities!