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People Using Smartphones Instead of Doctors; It Is Cheaper, But Dangerous?


If you read Dr. Eric Topol's book "The Creative Destruction of Medicine," you begin to wonder whether people are actually thinking or just using their minds for something else.

In Dr. Topol's work, he shows how people are using smartphones and apps to: monitor heart beats; monitor blood pressure; monitor pulse rate; monitor blood Sugar.

And, then, rather than reporting their findings to their doctors, some users are discussing their findings with their friends or relatives, anyone but a medical professional who might actually make use the data.

Dr. Topol pointed to one app, advertised for the iPhone and "for entertainment purposes only" which monitors your heart rate. Several reviewers have looked at it and have pronounced it a solid flop, which it is.

Indeed, Dr. Topol also outlines the stages he has seen people go through to avoid going to their physician. He noted that: people use the apps for tests; people will then skip their visits with their doctors; people will share their information with anyone who they think can help them.

In the long run, this may be a recipe for disaster because people will tend to believe the results their smartphone give them over the results their physicians give them. Then they take their new-found expertise and go onto the Internet to nail-down their diagnosis.

Meantime, none of the users have medical degrees. They just have Smartphones and apps.

Dr. Topol is a cardiologist and director of the Scripps Translationsal Science Institute in La Jolla CA, and he believes there is a place for the Smartphone in a medical diagnosis, but as one of the tools that the doctor uses to help patients before they become really ill.

Also, Dr. Topol, who supports using technology to help treat his patients, acknowledges that some doctors are naturally skeptical when it comes to do-it-yourself medical treatment. These doctors, who tend to be old-school, believe that the usual batteries of tests and bloodwork are what is needed to determine a patient's health.

And, to a great degree they are right, but Smartphones also offer doctors the ability to track certain items and watch their patients and for these Smartphones and the ways they are tied to their apps are important.

Dr. Topol is a strong supporter of using Smartphone technology to ensure the health of his patients.

He must be onto something because Apple also had the same idea in 2009 with it developed a medical platform of apps for its iPhone Smartphones.

Smartphones are also important to the new wellness movement that has developed over the last few years. But sometimes, these adherents may tend to go a little overboard in their self-diagnoses and use of Smartphone technology.

Enthusiasm must be balanced with the need for proper medical treatment.

 


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