It seems in 2013 technology and health has become as common a pair as, say, e-commerce and social networking or mobile devices and online programming. As this partnership continues to grow, both health professionals and patients aren’t only excited about the life-saving possibilities, but many are also looking to see what other forms of medical technology will reach consumers in the years to come.
Certainly the marriage between technology and medicine isn’t a new one, since the two are the oldest of acquaintances, but what happens to be different compared to previous years is that a lot of the medical advancements have been marketed to the everyday consumer, as opposed to only being marketed to physicians, and a perfect example of this is the growing use of health apps that are used by millions of people every day.
Like the Free Heart Rate Calculator for example, that’s compatible with iPhones, the iPad and Androids, and allows users to measure their heart rate while exercising, which can help determine one’s level of cardiac fitness.
The creators of the app say that while a person is jogging, exercising or doing any other physical activity, they can simply touch the screen of their device each time their heart beats, and they’ll be able to get an instant reading of their heart right there and then.
The screen of the app also has a colored meter that tells you how good or bad your heart rate is while exercising and whether your heart rate is that of an athlete, whether it’s considered excellent, good, average or whether your heart is being worked too hard.
Of course the Free Heart Rate Calculator isn’t supposed to take the place of you seeing your primary physician or a cardiologist, but it’s supposed to keep you in-the-know about your heart health and also get you in the habit of checking your heart rate to see if your numbers are where they're supposed to be.
Then there’s the EyeXam app that has multiple features, all imed at keeping your peepers functioning properly.
On the app, users can conduct self-tests to determine if they have a condition like astigmatism or if they have a problem with color perception.
Users can also do a visual acuity tests to see if they have 20/20 vision or not.
People can also search for eye doctors in their area, read patient reviews of those eye doctors and even schedule appointments in real time. You can also check to see if your personal insurance will be accepted by an eye doctor and get electronic reminders to get eye tests, re-check your prescription or order contact lenses.
All in all, the EyeXam app is supposed to be your one-stop shop for everything related to eye care and also help remind you to see your eye doctor in the first place.
Another cool health app is iTriage, which was created by two ER doctors so people can quickly determine what a pain or a sudden ailment may be.
So if you’re feeling sharp stomach pains and your body is developing a cold sweat, you can plug those symptoms into a search field and not only find out what may be causing the symptoms, but the app will also point you to the nearest place for treatment.
And depending on what the app diagnoses, it will let you know whether you need to go to the emergency room, an urgent care facility, a retail clinic, pharmacy, mental health clinic, imaging center, substance abuse clinic, or a community health center, and the app will even tell you what the average wait times in these places are.
And for workout enthusiasts there’s Skimble, an app that almost serves as a personal exercise assistant where users can keep track of all of their workout routines -- whether it’s counting reps, documenting the amount of miles jogged or keeping track of the amount of weight you bench-pressed.
The app also has a social media component where users can join other folks who use the app to share stories, discuss progress and encourage each other.
Basically, Skimble serves as an electronic reference guide so users can gauge how much or how little there workouts have changed over a course of time and people can also compare their results.
Users can also compete with other Skimble users to see who’s dropping the most weight, running the most miles or getting in the most physical activity overall, which can easily serve as a positive motivator.
See, sometimes technology can get in the way of good health by creating apps and gadgets that cause one to have a sedentary lifestyle, but more times than not, technology is truly the consumer's ally and will allow health professionals to know more about a particular condition and how to treat it.
Furthermore, today’s technology is being marketed and sold to the everyday consumer, which is different from earlier years, when the news of medical advancements stayed confined to doctors, inventors and scientists.
Fortunately, we’re now living in a time when a person can simply download a piece of technology that can be potentially lifesaving, while also allowing consumers to have a little more control and knowledge about their personal health, which is always a wonderful thing.