I once read an article about a couple that had the chance to deliver their baby guided by texts. Turns out the mommy had sudden contractions and her labor was so fast that she knew she would not have time to make it to the hospital, her husband being a savvy technical guy (that is my personal appreciation) used an app he had on his phone to text a doctor and got help from him/her much faster than waiting at the delivery room. Ha! the marvelous world of technology!
There is an app called First Opinion, this app offers a free 24 hour 7 days a week service where people can text doctors. People usually get a response in about 9 minutes, and it is said to be better than the hour long wait at the waiting room and the expensive copays. This is revolutionary specially difficult for me to fathom since being a physician there is so much that you can diagnose just by looking at the person, maybe this app should include a selfie and a video option… oh well back to the subject.. I believe it is not for every case out there and that I hope that people are still aware of what an emergency really is (time to go to the hospital!). Either way, it is innovative and a lot of “easy” simple questions can be answered with just a simple question.
For example, doctor can I take this medication with this other medication? Doctor I am 7 months pregnant, can I travel by plane? Doctor how do I relieve my sun burn? etc I am sure doctors are well trained to spot the questions that should be answered in the clinic. The future has a mobile capability that is beyond understanding right now, the marketing capacity, telemedicine, preventive education, check ins with doctors appointments, reminders of prescriptions, reminders of appointments, follow up of blood tests, tips and medical advice, smoking prevention and way more!
This is an outlet worth exploring, it can reach so many underserved communities! I will tell you a little story, when I was going to medical school in Colombia, I used to work in the poorest hospital part time and the wealthiest the other part time. One thing that I will always remember is how the poorest of the families, I mean just one parent working on a shoe factory living with his wife and 7 kids in one room made of wood and tin foil.. one thing they always had was a direct TV dish, a huge plasma tv and cellphones. Amazing how they rather have those types of commodities than education for their kids, but oh well! this is where I see the most potential for mobile outreach. I propose to promote the service and dig into new ideas to reach the unserverd and under served.