eTalk: Messaging Your Doctor

May 11, 2020 9:01:00 AM / by Joy Youell

Most of us can picture this: it’s the middle of the night, you’re burning up, you have stomach pain and the room is spinning. Your symptoms get worse, not better. And you have to make the call: go to the ER? 

Most of us understand basic medical symptoms and can handily self-diagnose a dehydration headache or 24-hour stomach bug. But when things are out of hand and you’re truly sick, this is a big decision.

Now imagine that you could grab your phone, open an app, and etalk by messaging your doctor. Well, that could be your future. Etalk—or digital messaging and even telehealth treatment—is getting a lot of attention as medical entrepreneurs investigate new ways to treat patients.

Digital Healthcare

mHealth, or mobile health, is a way to use a mobile device to receive some form of healthcare. This could be something like an addiction recovery app, a wait time app or an app used by your doctor’s office to confirm appointments. While these iterations have long been implemented by doctors and hospitals to handle logistics, the idea that remote treatment is an option has only been truly actualized in the form of telehealth.

A doctor app or medical app will only get you so far. Telehealth is a way that doctors remote in by beaming themselves through mobile devices. Picture something as simple as an iPad on wheels. But receiving a remote diagnosis from a remote doctor, who can then call in a prescription or follow up, could be the forecast of everyday healthcare. Tele doctors have real applications in a world where we trust our smartphones for everything from banking to romance. But is etalk or mhealth a viable alternative to many traditional forms of care?

Mhealth and Telehealth for Messaging a Doctor

“The doctor will Facetime you now.” From digital lines to diagnoses, here are some of the latest innovations that could develop your ability to talk online with a doctor.

Partners Healthcare Five-Year Plan

Partners Healthcare in Boston launched a five-year plan late last year that will transform patient engagement with a variety of tools. These include scheduling online, digital clinical records, transparent cost projections for imagining and procedures, telehealth and virtual care. The goal is to also create a customized communication experience for each patient. This will allow patients to etalk with doctors and their offices through emails, calls, direct mails and texts. The move is reflective of the same direction being taken by large-scale medical conglomerates around the country. Physician networks, specialists, hospitals and ERs are all recognizing the imperative to digitize patient experiences.

MIT Technology AI Review

A large-scale survey of over 900 medical care providers, conducted by MIT Technology, put a finger on the pulse of how artificial intelligence (AI) is impacting healthcare. This is relevant for individuals as the prevalence of AI makes it increasingly accessible for more than extreme or individual cases. AI will drive a patient’s ability to receive care remotely. 

According to this survey, AI and machine-based work is alleviating some of the burden of administrative tasks and changing healthcare delivery. It is also changing the body of knowledge and tech abilities the average medical care provider needs to have, as the machines are only as competent as the people running them. 

Virtual Maternity Care

From fertility monitoring to fetal-stages tracking, women are avid users of app-based experiences before, during and after pregnancy. Just ask any mom who googles, “is this normal?” in the first six week of her baby’s life. Babyscripts is partnering with Amerigroup to create an even deeper dive into prenatal and postnatal care. This new, app-based program will give an obstetric, virtual care option for women. The app will allow for remote monitoring and risk detection. The goal is to optimize the experience both for OBs and the women they care for.

Germany Sponsors Digital Health Supplies

On November 8, 2019, Germany approved a Digital Supply Act. This allowed therapeutic digital devices and software medical devices to be financially covered starting in the 2nd quarter of 2020. This is a landmark endorsement of the usefulness and even necessity of many digital medical devices. Health-related apps are becoming an essential part of patients’ lives. Doctors, even governments, are realizing they have to be on board.

Rock Health and Stanford: Digital Healthcare

It’s clear that there are many new technologies out there that can manage healthcare. The billion dollar question is: will doctors and patients use them? That is the question that Rock Health, in collaboration with Stanford Medicine, set out to answer over the course of a four-year study. Here is a comparison of digital healthcare services offered and the change in consumer use between 2015 and 2019.

Digital Healthcare Service

2015

2019

Received medical care or advice from a doctor, nurse or therapist through a live video call

7%

32%

Own a wearable medical device or smart watch

13%

33%

Record basic health information (heart rate, blood pressure, steps, etc.) with a wearable or app-based device

18%

42%

Used a mobile app to find a doctor, pharmacy or medical facility

50%

64%

Searched for medical or drug advice online or on a mobile app

71%

76%

 

What do these survey results mean? They mean that people are increasingly open to participating in app-based or online healthcare experiences. We look for information in this way and trust what it tells us.

Healthcare App Innovations

DocClocker is one tool many physicians and doctor’s offices use to improve patient communication. With its simple user interface and streamlined processes, patients can now receive wait time alerts and etalk to their doctor’s office. This kind of online communication can be centralized along with doctor reviews, OR communication and a variety of other helpful features. Click here to see if your doctor is using DocClocker and follow the links to download it for yourself!

Tags: Waiting room, Patient app, Digital healthcare, Telehealth, Healthcare news, Medical health, Healthcare app, Doctor app, Medical app, Apps for doctor visits, IT healthcare news, Digital medical, Telemedicine, Healthcare trends

Joy Youell

Written by Joy Youell

Joy Youell writes about IT healthcare, digital medical innovations and improving patient experiences for DocClocker.