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Melissa Hubner
Professor Emilia Grant
UWRT 1103- Inquiry Rough Draft
11/06/2014
Smartphone Use in the Medical Field
Technology has evolved exponentially over the years. Hundreds of new technological
inventions are created every day, affecting society several ways. When cell phones first arrived
on the market, it seemed like the greatest invention of all because people were finally able talk to
each other within long distances. As cell phone manufacturers realized they could apply other
technologies on their devices, more features were added to them, which eventually summed up to
result in a most efficient, evolutionary cell phone, the smartphone. Smartphones gave mobile
phones a whole new purpose. Early cell phones were mainly used for communication purposes,
but smartphones are now multimedia tools, which enables people to take pictures, check emails,
interact with social media and many other uses. The practicality and ingeniousness of
smartphones have impressed people of all ages world-wide, and these characteristics induces
people to buy these brilliant mobile devices, which many times can even cause bias actions
towards who does not have them.
Smartphones have a variety of ordinary and extraordinary uses in different environments.
According to a survey in 2013, 81% of cell phone users send or receive text messages, which
seems to be the primary activity on a smartphone, 60% use it to access internet, and 49% use it to
get location-based information. Data also showed that half of the studied group of cell phone
owners download apps, which contrasts with the 2009 result of 22% (Duggan). Mobile apps,

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short term for application software, are basically computer programs created for mobile
devices, and they have become extremely popular in the past five years due to their innovative
tools that range from general productivity to mobile entertainment. Apps, such as Facebook,
Youtube and Instagram, are mainly used by ordinary people because of the quick access to social
media, however, apps, such as Boomerang and Dropbox, are considered very helpful by many
professionals in different career fields.
The advances in technology have affected many careers, and it drastically improved the
medical and healthcare field. Besides the development of new and more efficient technological
equipments for medical treatments, the evolution of technology has also improved medical
research, for example population science, which is the study of health and illness in a large scale,
therefore doctors are now able to treat and/or prevent an epidemic in an entire population, instead
of one individual at a time. Yet, one of the main revolutionary inventions is the electronic
medical record system. EMR systems reduce the amount of paper used in healthcare facilities,
which consequently saves money, they facilitate record-keeping, enable the communication
about patients medical history among healthcare departments, and make data more accurate due
to the easy access for corrections. Even though technology is amazingly helpful, there are
concerns about the privacy of patients, which is also a weakness from the use of smartphones in
the medical field (Kulma and Aldrich).
Without medical apps, smartphone would not be as useful in the medical and healthcare
field. Medical mobile apps allow smartphones to operate as medical devices due to the high
technology involved and the capability of attaching accessories to expand the apps uses. There
are approximate 97,000 healthcare apps, varying to all types of purposes, however they mostly

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aim to improve the processes in which medical professionals connect with patients, the flow of
information among the medical community and the way in which treatment is applied to
patients. Medical apps are extremely helpful and practical because, in addition to the fact that
they are operated on your smartphone, a device that one may carry everywhere, these apps can
be used for medical reference, EMR, patient monitoring and education, and nursing (Honigman).
Smartphone use has rapidly become popular in the medical field. In 2009,
approximately 64 percent of physicians in the U.S. owned smartphones. Just 1 year later, a
separate investigation put smartphone ownership among health care professionals in the U.S. at
81 percent, growing to 91 percent in 2012 (Batista and Gaglani). A survey has also proven that
healthcare professionals have recognized the advantages from using medical apps in their jobs,
including as decision tools. The majority of doctors and nurses believe that apps improve access
to information, decision making, and efficiency; however, they also confessed that sometimes
apps can be a distraction from work. Although all participants showed satisfaction with the
efficiency of smartphones, they affirmed that they felt more comfortable accessing medical apps
in the presence of other clinicians than around patients, which represents the yet not successful
approval of medical apps (Moore and Jayewardene).
An example of an app that serves as a medical resource is the Medscape. Medscape has
no cost for the download and it is available for everyone; it contains quick medication, evidencebased disease and condition research tools, latest medical related news, and medical educational
courses. QxMD Calculate is another useful app to clinicians in several different medical areas. It
is a medical calculator that helps experts to make decisions according to the collected data from
the patient, and due to its unique and clear design, it can aid the patient to interpret his/her own

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health condition, which is a topic that will be discussed later on this paper (Honigman).
Clinicians can also use their smartphones as medical devices if they have the right accessories. A
plug-and-play blood pressure cuffs can be easily integrated directly into a smartphone, therefore
the clinician does not need to operate a stethoscope and a sphygmomanometer simultaneously
while interacting with the patient (Batista and Gaglani).
Smartphones also promote patients medical education and self-awareness. Due to the
variety of resources offered through medical apps, patients are now able to engage better with
their own health. Today, smartphones have enabled patients to access medical devices that were
only found in medical facilities, such as ophthalmoscopes, otoscopes and spirometers, therefore
they can collect their own and send it electronically direct to the specialist to interpret it.
Eventually most of the medical procedures will be operated at the patients home, which saves
money and time from not having to attend a doctors appointment, but although this new
technology is beneficial to many, the older generation is being affected negatively. As one ages,
more health problems appear, therefore they require more healthcare on a daily basis. While
having a smartphone would be perfect for a senior citizen for daily checkups, many lack the
ability to use their smartphones, and many more do not even own as technological devices.
Teaching the older generation to use their smartphone as a health resource would be helpful in
diagnosing diseases that could become more serious later on (Batista and Gaglani).
Diabeo is an app that came out that is super helpful with people that have diabetes.
Diabetic people have to test blood regularly, so an app and an attachment makes it easier on
people that have been diagnosed. Diabeo is brilliant because it collects information such as selfmeasured plasma glucose, carbohydrate counts, and planned physical activity prior to making

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insulin dosing recommendations. This apps technology encourages a healthy lifestyle, because
it aids the patient with the collection of important data as well as it provides helpful ways to treat
the disease (Ozdalga). Moreover, there are many other apps that promote wellness and personal
care as well, but not only to patients but also to the general public. Daily Burn, for example, is a
fitness app that offers a variety of workouts according to each individuals fitness goal and it
measures heart-rate while exercising, which allows the person to receive feedback on his/her
performance. Apps like Daily Burn work mainly as motivation to individuals to stay healthy,
they provide quick and easy-access to exercises routines, diet programs, and personal goals and
accomplishments.

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Works Cited
Batista, Michael, and Shiv M. Gaglani. The Future of Smartphones in Health Care. Virtual
Mentor: American Medical Association. Volume 15: 947-950. Nov. 2013. Web. 21 Oct.
2014.
Duggan, Maeve. Cell Phone Activities 2013." PewResearch. np., 19 Sept. 2013. Web. 04 Nov.
2014.
Honigman, Brian. 7 Need to Know Apps for Healthcare Professionals in 2014." ReferralMD.
np. nd. Web. 03 Nov. 2014.
Kumar, Sameer and Krista Aldrich. Overcoming Barriers to Electronic Medical Record (EMR)
Implementation in the US Healthcare System: A comparative study. SAGE Journals 16.4
(2010): 306-318. Web. 04 Nov. 2014.
Moore, Sally, and Dharshana Jayewardene. "The Use Of Smartphones In Clinical Practice."
Nursing Management - UK 21.4 (2014): 18-22. CINAHL with Full Text. Web. 21 Oct.
2014.
Ozdalga, Errol, Ark Ozdalga and Neera Ahuja. "The Smartphone in Medicine: A Review of
Current and Potential Use Among Physicians and Students." J Med Internet Res. 27 Sep.
2012. Web. 03 Nov. 2014.