Over the past decade, there’s been a rapid explosion of innovative technology that has allowed the industry to reimagine our healthcare system and touched nearly every aspect of the ecosystem. This includes continuing medical education (CME)—an often-overlooked side of healthcare that’s always top-of-mind for clinicians as they seek to complete a certain number of credits to maintain their licensure.
Clinicians increasingly turn to third-party digital channels for medical information, and in parallel there is an increasing demand for digital CME as clinicians seek alternatives to in-person medical conferences. This shift is largely being driven by three trends that suggest the digital CME experience will continue to gain popularity and be an area ripe for innovation well into the future.
Providers have never been busier than they are today
Clinicians are facing more time pressures than they ever have before due to a growing number of administrative burdens, overwhelming staffing shortages, the prevalence of chronic diseases, and now, an unpredictable wave of patients as COVID-19 transmissions surge. As a result, there’s even less time than there ever has been before available for clinicians to stay updated on the latest medical developments.
By turning to digital learning options to complete CME requirements, clinicians can operate around their demanding schedules without having to carve out several days to attend in-person events (where only several of the sessions might be relevant). Instead, digital CME provides clinicians with the ability to select a specific course that’s most relevant to their individual practices or specialties, online or through the mobile app that’s always in their pocket.
User experience has become a key focus for digital CME offerings, which has largely been inspired by the convenience we have come to expect as consumers. Digital CME offers the ability to tailor activities to the individual user, and can offer recommendations and relevant activities in a similar way to Netflix or Amazon. Doing so is helping make these vast education materials easily available and at the fingertips of busy clinicians.
Technology is the new creed that has literally touched almost every aspect of our life. Be it communication, traveling, or exercising, we are always interacting with technology. However, healthcare has always been considered a very conservative area in terms of technology deployment. This is because, in its very nature, healthcare mainly deals with human life which calls for utmost precaution. But the emergence of machine learning and artificial intelligence has sparked innovation and a myriad of solutions that are already working in the healthcare industry.
At the forefront of this growth are Android-powered smartphone devices. It’s estimated that 88 percent of all the devices sold in the last quarter of 2018 were all powered by Android. It shouldn’t then come as a surprise that companies are looking to hire Android developers to build health-care related apps.
But what does the future hold for tech solutions in the health industry? In this article, we are going to look at the trends in healthcare to look out for in 2019 and a few examples of apps for healthcare.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are getting increasingly sophisticated to the extent of surpassing human capability and the potential for these two technologies in the healthcare ecosystem are huge.
One of the biggest potential benefits of AI in 2019 is helping people to stay healthy without consulting a doctor, or at least do it less often. Coupled with the Internet of Medical Things (IoT), AI is already being used to develop consumer health apps that proactively show patients how to stay healthy.
Moreover, AI is increasingly being used by healthcare professionals to gain deep insights and better understand of routine patterns occurring in patients. With these deeper insights, the caregivers are able to give better diagnosis, guidance, and support to the patients. For instance, the American Cancer Society is already using AI to detect cancer at the initial stages with 99 percent accuracy.
Product development is another area that AI and machine learning are being used. R&D in the medical field can be painstakingly slow and costly given that hundreds of variables need to interact with each other. Today, medical researchers are using AI to safely explore biological and chemical interactions of drugs using the discovery process and clinical data.
Another area you can get artificial intelligence in healthcare is through workflow optimization. It helps automate repetitive tasks such as routine paperwork, patient scheduling, and time-folio entry.
Wearables and Augmented Reality
I do think that a significant portion of the population of developed countries, and eventually all countries, will have AR experiences every day, almost like eating three meals a day. It will become that much a part of you.” — Tim Cook at the 2016 Utah Tech Tour – source.
Virtual wearables and augmented reality devices are other emerging healthcare trends proposing to make significant advances in the healthcare space in terms of diagnosis and medical education.
On one side of the scale, virtual reality superimposes a patient in an artificially created surrounding, whereas, augmented reality helps generate layered images to real like objects. As a result, these technologies are and will continue being used by emergency response services providers to relay critical first aid information before the first responders arrive at the hospital.
In the prevention and diagnostics front, VR/AR has allowed medical care providers to create and manipulate different camera colors to reflect or replicate pre-existing effects in their databases.
But perhaps, the biggest impact of VR can be seen in 3D reconstructions of human organs. This has proven important especially when surgeons need to re-create the exact size and positioning of human organs before conducting complicated surgeries. Having the same exact replica of human organs give surgeons the know-how on how to deal with particular organs no matter how small they are.
In terms of medical education, both VW and AR have been great tools in transforming the way students learn. Surgeons are able to rehearse surgery procedures using dummies quicker and without having to use actual human bodies.
The internet age has brought along profound changes in the telemedicine landscape. In the earlier years, telemedicine was strictly limited to doctor and nurse consultation. However, the proliferation of smart mobile devices that are capable of transmitting high-quality videos has opened up avenues for virtual healthcare services from specialists to patients straight in their homes. This is especially paramount in remote areas where doctors can’t easily reach.
Apart from apps there are also such unexpected aid tools as writing services — beneficial for both doctors and patients. Doctors can ask such writing assistants to adjust the medical documentation they prepare for the patients who know little about medical terms and need more detailed explanation in simpler words.
Apps for doctors can be a library with a vast amount of sources for physicians with the ability to learn the material and officially upgrade the qualification at the same time. Moreover, the apps give doctors advice on the necessary information about drug compatibility and doses, the latest updates, and reduce practice risk of medical malpractice claims and medical board issues. Also, they can provide healthcare workers with actual updates and news of the medical industry in free and paid formats. Here is the list of medical reference and educational apps for physicians.
(Image Source: EPOCRATES.COM)
Doctors’ work is always complicated. It requires diagnosing, prescribing the right medicines in the precise doses. They often have to make decisions on the go. What does a doctor do if a patient is allergic to a particular drug? What are the doses of the new pills? Millions of doctors worldwide who downloaded Epocrates can use the app to look up the compatibility of medicines, calculate doses, and search for alternatives for free. Other functions of the app include access to guidelines or patient-specific recommendations, safety recommendations on thousands of drugs, verification and identification of drugs by pill ID, and updates on the latest news in the medical industry. For the most curious physicians, there is Epocrates Plus paid subscription, which extends the content.
Mobile technology is amazing. With the available technologies, anyone can see a doctor using smartphones. The impact of app developers and mobile app developers is increasing in healthcare. They make this possible by developing and releasing telemedicine and telehealth apps.
These apps make the provision and accessing of health more convenient. They make healthcare more preventive, inexpensive and better. These mobile apps for healthcare are unique. They are creating a viable marketplace for healthcare services. These apps reduce time to access medical consultation and treatment.
These mobile apps are revolutionizing healthcare on a daily basis. They allow patients to seek health on virtual platforms. They assist doctors and patients in solving health issues. These apps help healthcare providers to gather and manage information. They serve reference materials for care providers. They assist in monitoring and managing of patients. These apps are available across the U.S. and overseas to travelling U.S. residents. It is a must for mobile apps offering diagnosis and treatment become HIPAA-compliant. Telehealth information is available in the National Conference of State Legislatures. It contains information for each State within the U.S.
There are thousands of these apps available. Top app development companies work on daily basis to meet demands. This is an area where virtual reality app development is increasing without bounds. Highlight of some of the telemedicine and telehealth apps is available on this post.
PingMD is a mobile app that provides a platform for doctors and patients to chat. It is available for Apple and Android smartphone users. This app enables doctors to discuss medical issues with their patients and colleagues. It eliminates the issue of leaking private messages to the public. The discussion between patients and doctors is transferrable to the patients’ medical record. Doctors can bill their patients for e-visitations and e-consultations. With this app, consulting a doctor becomes easy and fast.
HelloMD is an app where doctors set their consultation fees. This app helps to find specialists for appointment booking. It is not an app that provides access to immediate healthcare. This app will help find specialists like neurologists and radiologists. This app is for patients with very special health conditions. Appointments are set up within 24 hours once a specialist in located. Thereafter, consultation between the specialist and patient takes place through video call. The app aims to connect patients with the right doctor. It helps patients seek second opinion on health conditions. Face to face consultation can happen where necessary. Doctors fix their fee and patients pay through credit card. This is before fixing an appointment. This app is web-based and accessible via mobile devices.
Epocrates is an app available for download to users of Android and Apple mobile devices. This app is a powerful app that allows doctors to access the health evidence of patients. It allows doctors access specific guidelines from national specialty societies about patients. It is an app with loads of source information on medications and prescriptions. It is an app for finding doctors to consult. This app provides information on harmful interactions between drugs. It can help identify pills using imprint code and some physical properties. It helps in calculating BMI and GFR. This app provides a platform for accessing medical news and information on researches. This app has two versions, the free and the fee for subscription version. The free version is Epocrates RX and the other is Epocrates Essentials. The Epocrates Essentials costs about $159.99 at the time of writing.
LiveHealth Online is an available to Android and Apple mobile device users. This app allows patients to consult doctors through video calls. These doctors write prescriptions for their patient at the end of consultation. Note that this is possible in only few states. Patients make payment using their insurance plan. Consultation fee is $49/consultation for patients with no insurance coverage. Patients pay the consultation fee if their policy does not cover online visits.
Medscape is an app accessible by Android and Apple mobile device users. It offers healthcare professionals the access to millions of medical information. It is a platform where medical profession can access educational tools. For clinicians in the U.S., it is the number one medial platform. It has more than 4 million users. It helps caregivers to look up medications and their dosages. It has a drug interaction check for preventing adverse combination of drugs. Its evidence-based disease and condition reference assists in finding important information on patients. There are medical calculators and image collection platforms on this app. This is a free app but requires that users to set up an account. It is available to users of Kindle Fire.
Microsoft HealthVault is a free health mobile app. It is available to Apple and Window mobile device users. This app is a platform where individuals can keep their medical records. It is safe and up-to-date in storing medical record. It eases sharing of personal medical records to health professionals and family. People with chronic condition use this app to trail their health metrics. It is possible to input manual data. For automatic data input, patients connect the app to health trackers. Accessing this app through the web is possible.
Whether you’re a student in school to become a medical assistant or already working in the field, we can bet that you’ve had a question or two that wasn’t easily answered by an instructor or coworker. The beauty of education and training today is that when that happens you needn’t spend hours flipping through books and manuals to find the information.
While it’s always best to have your questions answered “from the horse’s mouth,” these free medical apps can help put your mind at ease and get you an answer in a pinch.
Epocrates is the #1 medical reference app and go to mobile tool for U.S. physicians and medical providers. It’s hard to believe that it’s free with all of the features it offers. Through the app you can:
Look up OTC and name/brand drug information
Identify potential drug interactions
Access news and up to date research
Perform drug calculations
athena text messaging
athenatext messaging might be the most interesting feature of this app. You can set up a texting service within your care group to share images and communicate with people in your office about patients while still adhering to HIPAA laws.
Medscape is a similar alternative to Epocrates that has many of the same features in an easy to use design. One thing that sets it apart from Epocrates is that it is not just one app but a family of three that each serves a slightly different purpose.
Look up OTC and name/brand drug information
Perform Drug Calculations
Medscape Medplus News App
Get up to date news related to your field of specialty
Follow medical trends and share information with your followers
Search topics and personalize what’s shown to you
Medscape CME and Education App
Earn CME/CE credit directly from the app
Train with a variety of formats including video and audio
All change faces resistance, and the adoption of technology in healthcare is no different. Advocates speak of the advantages to quicker information access, paperless offices and speed of care. On the other side of the spectrum, technology laggards point to the physical and theoretical technology barriers during a patient exam, a perceived loss of nuance in capturing data and data security issues.
Today’s medical students are debunking the debating by adopting a modern medical approach that merges technology and a focus on patients. Coined as “patient-centric care,” future physicians are encouraging patients to be engaged in their care and live a healthy lifestyle with the aid of technology.
This fresh and engaging method of healthcare delivery, known as patient-centered care, revolves around three key approaches: shared decision-making, a care-team approach and adherence support.
Shared decision-making involves creating a more active discussion between clinicians and patients. This not only develops a mutual sense of trust and information sharing, but also leads to better outcomes. If a patient feels that the physician is speaking with him versus at him then they will be more willing to share information and widen the gateway of communication. Furthermore, the impression of physicians being the sole and final authority has been challenged by the pervasive availability of health information (accurate or not) on the Internet.
According to Epocrates’ annual mobile trends survey physicians and other providers have an urgent need for tools and resources that can assist them in meeting more stringent and complex requirements around administrative tracking, economic trajectories of different therapies, and ultimately, patient outcomes. Clinicians clearly endorse the viability of mobile technology to enable rapid access to clinical information and communication among a growing roster of caregivers.
Industry stakeholders, such as EHR providers, pharmaceutical companies, technology firms and content owners, must now determine how best to leverage this groundswell of behavioral input to inform product development and marketing programs that support providers in successfully embracing these rapidly evolving models of healthcare.