Apps and Their Applications: Novel Uses of Technology in the Clinical Setting

Apps and Their Applications: Novel Uses of Technology in the Clinical Setting

Imran Nizamuddin (University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine, USA), Raveena Basra (University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine, USA), Sai Vanam (University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine, USA) and Nurbanu Pirani (University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6289-4.ch009

Abstract

In a society dominated by the use of technology as a primary method of communication and education, it should come as no surprise that medical professionals rely heavily on its use as well. The new dominance of smartphones over cell phones and pagers in medicine is largely influenced by convenience and efficiency, and over 70% of healthcare professionals have reported using a mobile device in their workplaces. This chapter aims to highlight the transition to mobile devices in the medical realm and the benefits for both clinicians and patients. For clinicians, mobile devices and apps may serve as diagnostic aids, med calculators, and clinical references. They can also be used for medical education purposes and access of electronic medical records. For patients, mobile devices and apps are often utilized to find resources and information about diseases, to help with disease management, and to promote lifestyle modification and fitness. Nevertheless, despite the numerous benefits of mobile devices in practice, potential risks and drawbacks must also be considered.
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History Of Technology In Medicine

As healthcare facilities began to include a variety of unrelated locations, such as outpatient clinics, inpatient services, emergency departments, radiology departments, and laboratories, mobile devices were initially implemented due to the vital need to establish an efficient means of communication. Up until the 1990’s, medical professionals’ chief means of mobile communication was a pager (Mosa, Yoo, & Sheets, 2012). The first pager system was used in 1950 by New York City’s Jewish Hospital. About four decades later, personal digital assistants (PDAs) entered the medical scene. PDAs allowed physicians and other healthcare workers to organize some of their personal information, such as appointments, contacts, and schedules (Mosa et al., 2012). Nevertheless, these handheld PCs added yet another device that physicians needed to carry, along with a pager. As a result, with smartphones combining the features of a PDA, pager, and cell phone into one device, more and more people started adopting them instead. In fact, research conducted by Manhattan Research, LLC found that the use of smartphones by medical professionals doubled from 2001 to 2009, increasing from 31% to 64% (Mosa et al., 2012). With smartphones becoming an increasingly stable means of communication in the medical field, the next technological innovation to sweep the healthcare system was the development of mobile applications.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mobile Device: Handheld tablet or device that is designed for portability.

Mobile Application: A program that is designed to run on a mobile platform. Applications can have various uses, such as setting reminders, making calculations, etc.

mHealth Apps: Use of mobile phones and other wireless technology in medical care.

Healthcare Professional: An individual who is dedicated to diagnosing, treating and preventing disease. He or she is also a provider offering a variety of services in an effort to promote the health of an individual.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): Enacted in 1996 to establish national standards to protect individuals' medical records and other personal health information.

Personal Digital Assistant (PDA): A personal device capable of organizing personal information, such as contacts, tasks, and appointments.

Smartphone: A personal device that uses a mobile network to make phone calls, send text messages, and connect to the internet. It is also capable of running software applications.

Medical Calculator: An application that allows users to input values into pre-stored formulas.

Electronic Medical Record (EMR): Collection of patient health records protected under HIPAA that are electronically stored and can be shared among various healthcare facilities.

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