Your smartphone may very well be the most underutilized resource you have right in your pocket. Even if you’re older and not particularly comfortable with technology, there are apps available that allow you to greatly increase the quality of healthcare you get simply by having a better record of your treatments, their efficacy and other information that is always useful when you’re going to visit your physician. Here are some ways you can use your smartphone to help with keeping an eye on your health.
Even when you walk out of a physician’s office with a clean bill of health, you likely walk out with a lot of other bills, as well. Sometimes, the difference between having a long-term argument with your insurance company and ending it quickly comes down to you having this paperwork on hand when you’re on the phone. Smartphones can be used to scan documents and to store documents that are emailed to you. The right apps for medical purposes will have a feature on them that allows you to store documents related to your health. When you have your smartphone with you and you take the time to put those documents in it, you always have them handy and you’re always ready for an obscure question from a receptionist or an insurance company representative.
One of the things that physicians really need from their patients is good information on how treatments are working out for them. Even though medical science is extremely advanced and people tend to react very similarly to the same treatments, there are slight differences that make some treatments more appropriate for some individuals than for others. By entering notes into your medical app and keeping track of when something doesn’t seem to be right, when you have a side effect that concerns you and other information, you can be sure you won’t forget to ask when you go to see your physician.
Physicians, to a large extent, are scientists. What scientists need to do their jobs is information. A cell phone is a great device for storing data and, by using a medical app, you can make certain that you can always find the data that your physician may very well want to make sure your treatments are everything they should be.
Even without some of the memory problems that go along with getting older, it gets harder and harder to keep track of medications that you’ve taken and to which you may even have had bad reactions as you age. Quite simply, the older you get the more you’ve been sick and the more medications you’ve been given. Keeping all of your medications and reactions to them stored in a medical app can help avert disaster. One handy trick is to make sure your physician gives you the generic name of any drug that you’re put on. This way, if a different physician tries to give you a drug that you already know didn’t work for you under a different brand name, you can just show them the list of medications you’ve taken and they’ll recognize the generic if it’s in there.
As people age, technology can see more intimidating and it can be harder to remember important information, including what’s going on with our health. Fortunately, as technology has been further developed over the years, it has been made easier to use, more specialized to certain purposes and can help to fill in some of those holes in the information you may have due to simply having forgotten some vital information that your physician very well might need to know.
Ben Blanchard is the Programming Services Manager for Acadian, the creator of the Family Medical Manager app. The Family Medical Manager app is the definitive medical record app for families and individuals.