Medical apps are all the rage these days, but can you really trust a phone for medical advice? Lately, it seems like anything you may want to do – from diagnosing skin cancer to tracking your blood pressure – can be achieved by simply downloading an app to your smartphone.
Apps are fun, easy and cheap, but will they eventually replace a trip to the doctor? I enjoy using a variety of apps that can tell me how long my commute will take or help me find the cheapest gas around, but sometimes those apps are wrong! Discovering that a gas station is no longer open is much less of a problem than having an app provide an incorrect diagnosis.
These apps probably encourage you to visit your doctor as well, but it’s often easier to just follow what your phone tells you do without ever leaving the house. This is especially true if taking the advice from your smartphone can save you time and money.
One doctor notes that a blood pressure smartphone app has actually helped patients to spot problems before they get a chance to go in and see him. However, I would assume these patients have been diligently tracking their information on a regular basis.
So while these apps are fun and can be useful, we’re far from a world where doctors are obsolete; and I think this is a good thing! Even if your phone could provide information or a diagnosis you can trust, there is something to be said about being able to visit with a human, ask questions and receive understanding and compassion. As long as the magazines in the waiting room are fresh, then I don’t even mind the long waiting times.