If you like this post, please share:

If you liked this post, please share:

I went to my physician recently to get my annual physical.  When he walked into the exam room carrying a Macbook laptop, he announced that his practice was finally switching to electronic medical records.

As I watched him struggle to find my electronic record on his Mac, I asked him if he was going to start prescribing apps to me soon and giving me smart phone physicals.

"No," I don't think so," he said. "I believe the personal contact between a doctor and patient is really important.  The smart phone can't replace that."

But he did acknowledge that technology will change how and where people get their healthcare. "I just got an iPhone," he said. My 50-something doctor is behind the times.  Should I be worried?

Probably not.  He's still a good doctor.  Dr. Eric Topol, the man who said that talking to your phone is the future of medicine, also said that it takes 17 years for innovations to be adopted into clinical practice.

The iPhone was introduced in 2007. The iPad in 2010. It's estimated that more than 100,000 health and wellness apps are currently on the market -- approximately 15,000 of which are intended for use by clinicians and healthcare professionals.

How long will we have to wait before most physicians are prescribing medical apps? Or embracing other technology, such as Google Glass in the ER? In a recent blog post for HH&N Daily, Dr. Topol called for doctors to embrace a new era patient-generated data through mobile apps and wearable sensors.

Some, like Dr. Topol, are already there, but it will take some time before most doctors are comfortable with this technology.

Smart phones won't curtail healthcare design.  They won't replace hospitals, clinics, or doctor's offices. We'll still need places to deliver certain kinds of care.

But mHealth may make our caregivers more productive and allow us to better manage chronic conditions. Which is a good thing.

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Leave a comment

Daniel Day

9 years ago

Maybe one day will all need to add "mHealth Mobile App Aesthetic Designer and Image Consultant" to our skill set!

Thought provoking and interesting as always. Thank you.

Sara Marberry

9 years ago

I see a credential in your future...

Margaret Fleming

9 years ago

I have to ask this: how long did he spend looking at you, noticing your expressions, letting you see his expressions, asking questions about your general life, and encouraging you to ask questions?

Your posts are always thought-provoking. Keep up the good work.
Margaret Fleming

Sara Marberry

9 years ago

Thanks, Margaret. He actually spent a lot of time with me and asked me lots of questions, both medical and about my life.

Bill C.

9 years ago

As we become better informed and know what to ask and look for - thanks to transparency we will appreciate the investment made in design as that affects the experience. The new paradigm will be how many ways and places will you interact with your health care "team". There is already a trend developing in compensaton where GP's are seeing an uptick in income. The momentum is building - great posts, thank you.

Sara Marberry

9 years ago

Thanks, Bill. This is all good stuff.

Ed Logsdon

9 years ago

How do the physicians plan to establish trust between the patient and themselves without meeting in person? It is similar to a mentor relationship.

Good post!

Sara Marberry

9 years ago

Thanks, Ed. I totally agree. I just sat through a 2-hour presentation at the hospital where my husband is getting his knee surgery done. An hour round-trip travel made it a 3-hour chunk of my day. Could have done it through Skype.

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Sara Marberry, EDAC, is a healthcare design knowledge expert, thought catalyst, and strategic marketing and business development consultant. The author/editor of three books, Sara writes and speaks frequently about industry trends and evidence-based design. She can be reached at sara@saramarberry.com.

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