What does the future look like? Healthcare technology accessed through smartphones and tablets does have the ability to revolutionise healthcare and the way we interact with our GP’s and doctors. There are applications out there already whereby diagnosis are made from either smartphone photos, subjective questioning and remote/wireless data collection.
Doctors in the US are embracing technology and adopting virtual assessments - today virtual video consultations can be made with doctors day or night.
Other healthcare services are also being revolutionised. Virtual assessments and web based treatment regimes are becoming more popular with professions such as Physiotherapy and Psychology, especially for the treatment of whiplash.
What Could the future hold?
In the UK, the increasing popularity of smartphones and wearable technology, such wrist bands, has focussed on lifestyle health management and wellbeing. The next step we might see is this information being utilised by medical professionals in research and in treatment intervention.
Although there are clear benefits to virtual healthcare assessment and monitoring it will have limits as to what it can safely deliver and it will never replace the need for some physical face to face treatment.
If virtual triage can diagnose minor illness and infections remotely then we may see the next step being emailed prescriptions.
The technology could also signal a move to a more proactive rather than reactive approach in healthcare. If smartphones or other wearable technology are monitoring heart rates and blood pressure with live feeds they could in time (for example) identify early warning signs of cardiac arrest or stroke and then automatically call an ambulance to your location thereby improving survival rates.
QBE Rehabilitation has been an early adopter of these technological advances and has the capability through its service providers to deliver remote based physiotherapy and psychological treatment where clinically appropriate.