“So glad to see we’ve connected via FaceTime, can you turn on your flashlight app? Okay. Shine the light up your son’s nose…tilt it a little to the left…a little to the right. Now, plug your mobile thermometer into your headphone jack, place it under his tongue, and give me the reading. Can you insert your Oto HOME™ device into his ear and email the footage to me? Ah, yesss. I can see why he’s not feeling so hot. I’ll have a prescription for Amoxicillin at your local pharmacy in 30 minutes.”
With the evolution of personal health and fitness tracking apps like Apple’s Health and the rollout of mobile gadgets like Kinsa Smart Thermometer, telemedicine has the potential to go far beyond videoconferencing.
According to a 2014 survey conducted by the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine, 33% of U.S. healthcare practitioners currently provide telemedicine services, and 29% plan to in the next few years.
The Kinsa Smart Thermometer
What does this mean for consumers?
- A reduction in misdiagnoses among those who like to take the wheel and play the role of “Consumer MD.”
- The ability to connect with doctors more quickly AND more frequently (hopefully).
- Increased accessibility for those who are traveling, living in rural areas, or unable to drive.
What about for brands?
- Fewer opportunities to connect with patients in waiting and examination rooms. (Sorry, Purell.)
- A need for mobile integration, whether it be on the development front or through sponsorships (e.g., think thermometer app, brought to you by Tylenol Cold and Flu).
- A call to fill an emotional void associated with a lack of human contact.
Things appear to be moving along quite swimmingly in the world of healthcare technology. The next step? Making sure mobile healthcare is doctor (and mom) approved.