Smartphone app brings the doctor to your phone

Smartphone app brings the doctor to your phone

Improving Internet capacity has brought the promise of telehealth ever closer to reality.  There's a real need for such a service in Australia, with much of the rural and remote population many hours away from a GP.  So such services have been obvious to investigate by Australia's new National Broadband Network corporation.  One telehealth company GP2U was founded 5 years ago and the Chief Executive of GP2U says “Our GPs will tell you that over 50 per cent of typical presentations in a day-to-day GP practice can be done online, everything from coughs, colds, UTIs (urinary tract infections),” he says. “Women who have recurrent UTIs typically know what they are. They’re looking for a script to alleviate their discomfort.”

Medical certificates, pathology orders and specialist referrals are other common requests.


But there are issues. There’s no Medicare rebate for online consultations, although Holt expects that will happen some day. But what about the age-old practice of a GP checking your blood pressure during a visit, or checking your throat and listening to your chest when you have a bad cold? You can’t perform that across the internet."

Complete article from The Australian IT section:

I can see real promise for this technology for interim visits with our specialists, when a full CLL physical examination may not be necessary, but for when we require our specialist's assistance for some other possibly CLL related health issue.  Unfortunately for Australians living in rural and remote locations, Internet connectivity still has some way to go to support this technology.

A final warning - Don't assume apps on your phone can provide accurate measurements of your health parameters without (for example) FDA approved add-on devices!  A popular (non FDA approved) blood pressure app was found to be wildly inaccurate - yet was in the top 50 most popular iTunes App Store before being pulled from the Apple store.  ,a study found that the app tended to underestimate high blood pressures, and overestimate low blood pressures - a doubly dangerous combination!



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