We’re all busy. Our schedules are loaded with work, fitness regimes, kids’ soccer practices - it’s enough to make your head spin. So when your son or daughter gets sick, how do you squeeze their care into your day? The iPhone’s latest health apps and accessories may be the solution you’ve been searching for, giving you the ability to book a virtual doctor appointment from home and even keep track of your own medical history to speed up those in-person doctor visits. For three ways the iPhone is revolutionizing health care, read on.
At-home ear infection diagnosisIf you have a young child, you'll already know that ear infections are a common nuisance. By the age of 3, roughly 80% of all children have suffered from this affliction. And this problem alone costs the medical industry roughly 3.5 billion dollars annually.
In today’s world, full of long work hours and overloaded schedules, it can be difficult to find the time to visit a doctor. And if you live in a remote area, the challenge is even greater. But when little Johnny’s ear infection means you're waking up at night to deal with a screaming toddler, you know that something needs to be done. The iPhone’s new Oto Home device could be your solution.
For $79 you can bring the technology of an otoscope (the device your doctor uses to look into your ear at a checkup) directly into your home. Not the whole thing of course. Instead, the Oto Home is just the small black cone-like part at the tip of the otoscope that the doctor inserts into your ear. Now you can attach this tool to your iPhone’s camera, and use it to take a video of the inside of your child’s ear, which can then be sent to your doctor via email. For a $49 fee, your doctor can diagnose and provide a prescription almost instantly.
At this time, the device is only available in California, but will likely be approved for use in more states soon.
Medical history for quicker doctor appointmentsWhether you need to keep a close eye on a sick relative’s temperature or want to have a record of your own medical history, iPhone’s new Swaive app can help. Like the Oto Home device, the Swaive also involves your ear. But instead of diagnosing ear infections, the Swaive acts as an in-ear thermometer.
In combination with Apple’s Health app, the Swaive can keep track of your temperature over weeks, months or years. With this app, you can also record any kind of recurring physical symptom or medication you’re taking. This information can then be sent to your physician.
Even better, the next time you pop in for an in-person doctor visit, this info can speed up the process as it acts as a recent medical history.
Virtual doctor appointments from anywhereBut if you’d rather not visit the doctor at all, now you can make a virtual appointment through an app called Amwell. This allows you to Facetime with your physician at anytime, with no appointment necessary.
The way Amwell works is simple. A patient can open the app and scroll through the physicians who are part of the Amwell network. Just like other online health databases, you’ll be able to see the doctor’s years in practice, education and patient rating. Once you’ve made your choice, you can sign up for a $49 virtual visit where a doctor can provide instant feedback, diagnosis and treatment. Best of all, Amwell visits are covered by some insurance providers. So once you get your printable receipt, you can still get reimbursed.
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