Yes it’s true, patients Google their symptoms
The increase interactivity and strengthened relationship between doctors and patients is one of the most obvious outcomes of digital health. Other than exclusive medical data source, we’ve;
Online journals, glossaries, search engines, live patient support on social networks, smart applications, online medical services and chatbots to answer patients’ queries in health issues are now widely available.
Statistics further revealed more inclination of the people towards these digital tools for self-education and taking care of themselves and their loved ones.
For example, around 80% internet users in the U.S. which sums up to more than 90 million American individuals conducted online health research as per a study released in July 2018. Most of the online research is against a particular disease or some medical/health anomaly (around 63%)as well as treatment or solution to the problem (approximately 47%). Other statistics show interest in food science, nutrition, diet, vitamins and workout/exercise information which makes nearly 44% and 36% respectively.
Another survey conducted back in 2014 revealed that every 6-out-of-10 Europeans look for health related information over the web and above 90% users are satisfied by the results in terms of improved health and detailed topics. An Australian study in 2014showed that around two-third patients having internet access look for online health information (around 30%) and one-in-six of the users gather information against health anomaly diagnosed by the physician during personal visit.
Smart applications for doctors & patients
Medical applications that also include typical ‘find a doctor app’ educate patients on different diseases, preventive measures, drugs, first aid, clinical trials/testing services and helps in finding just the relevant medical professional.
The app market is expanding every day with applications multiplying exponentially. In such a saturated market, it’s challenging to find reliable applications that actually serve the purpose they’re developed for initially as well as in terms of accuracy and user-friendliness.
Take another study from February 2018 which revealed availability of almost 44 patient education apps related to dermatology. The study revealed that of these 44, only nine have the precise information with clear intentions and user-friendly interface. If a patient queries about whether they should or shouldn’t use a particular patient education app, the guidelines would help in evaluating the programme.
But then, there’re also many different apps designed specifically for healthcare and medical personnel to interact with patients, discuss their condition, diagnose the disease and offer a treatment.
Have you ever thought what a tumour actually looks like? How it effect the body and internal organism functions? For a healthcare professional, the answer is surely on the fingertips but then patients might’ve lack of understanding between tumours and their types.
Visualisation/conception via 3D printing helps in better understanding the conditions after which they can take an informed decision whether or not to pursue a specific path to treatment.
Medical staff like nurses who need to explain on a certain medical procedure and critical support to the patient would find 3D printing technology incredibly helpful, giving them access to the tools that can augment the entire process.
Augmented/Virtual Reality (AR/VR)
Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality; all have great potential in improving healthcare.
AR projects digital data based on an existing setting/environment which can explain even the most complex phenomenon presented originally in 2D format.
It thus facilitates patient-doctor communication and educating the patients on particular subclasses from pharmacology. Using different applications, doctors can conveniently explain about particular diseases, health impact and solution to a patient thereby redefining healthcare for the better.
The only difference between AR and VR is that the latter is more immersive and use of technology is broader in healthcare, online doctor consultation and patient education.
“An information-savvy patient isn’t something exceptional. Its access to digital technologies and web communication tools that feasts us beyond just consulting a physician. But then, how medical professionals can help patients learn possibilities of emerging diseases, treatments, drugs and alternative care by means of innovation?”