The Pros and Cons of Medical Mobile Apps

What do the words Wi-Fi, tablets, smartphones, 3G and 4G all have in common? They’re all buzzwords in today’s technology spectrum. They also have something else in common – they’re gateways to mobile applications, or apps.

Among the many great capabilities of mobile apps is this key feature: they allow access to information very quickly, for both patients and physicians. Here are pros and cons for some apps that are currently out there.

Administrative-related applications – An example is an app that allows you to book appointments from your phone or tablet.

Pros: Patients can conveniently make appointments. For physicians, practices and hospitals, they can save money and time by making all appointments automated.

Cons: Patients are comfortable talking to a real person. Taking away that comfort may turn off a patient. For physicians, if there’s a glitch, multiple appointments can be mistakenly made for the same time, which can lead to a scheduling nightmare.

Patient data and patient monitoring applications – Examples of these include apps that can tell you your blood pressure and heart rate.

Pros: This can be a time saver. With increased waiting times at doctors’ offices, some employees may have to take a sick or personal day to see the doctor. When patients have all their results already with them when they arrive at a hospital or doctor’s office, they save time. This will also help a third party – the employee, whose employees will spend less time away from the office.

Cons: Are the records and information they provide really secure? If there isn’t proper encryption on your phone, it may not be. Will that information get to the proper location? If you’re in a dead-cell zone, it may never make it to the recipient and you may not realize it. In healthcare, lack of communication can change an outcome.

What type of healthcare mobile apps have you tried out? Do you think apps are good for the healthcare industry? We would love to hear your experiences and opinions on this topic.