With the growing popularity of smartphones, medical applications are becoming a bigger area of interest with each day. Apps such as Push Doctor allow patients to video chat with doctors to discuss symptoms, receive prescriptions, and medical advice. These services let patients avoid waiting for an appointment with a doctor or lines at an emergency room.
Push Doctor treated over 1,000 different conditions last year, with most patients receiving adequate care on the first use. The company’s CEO, Wais Shaifta, said that “Patients have come to expect the same level of responsiveness from their health care services that they receive from online shops, TV providers and social network.”
The app is available for a fee of $38 and allows users to enter symptoms and related material into the system to receive treatment. Push Doctor is one of many digital health apps available worldwide, providing smartphone users with an alternative to fitting a trip to the doctor’s office into their busy schedules. Programs are even looking to integrate AI into these systems to further facilitate processes, offering quick symptom analysis and proper pairing to the correct specialist.
A study recently conducted by Babylon Health, another healthcare app, found that AI technology actually outperformed physicians in diagnosing patients, using a symptom questionnaire. The researchers found that the AI diagnosed patients with a success rate of 81%, compared to the average of 72% from physicians over the past 5 years. Further testing conducted by the Royal College of Physicians diagnosed 100 symptom sets, yielding 80% accuracy by the AI and a range of 64% to 94% accuracy from seven physicians.
Babylon Health offers digital healthcare consultations for a small fee, as well as a free online service general practitioner offered through London’s National Health Service. “We have to find ways of helping our NHS service to be more efficient,” said Dr. Mobasher Butt, director at Babylon Health. He goes on to add that implementing AI allows patients to get proper service, improve medication compliance, assist with management of chronic conditions and provide reminders for follow-ups.
These services also allow patients to build a better relationship with their physician. Recent research conducted by Pereira Gray found that those seeing the same doctor over time decreases their mortality rate. In this review of 22 studies conducted across nine countries, 82% of the studies found continuous contact with the same physician was correlated to decreased mortality.
“Patients have long known that it matters which doctor they see and how well they can communicate with them,” said Gray. “Until now, arranging for patients to see the doctor of their choice has been considered a matter of convenience or courtesy; now, it is clear it is about the quality of medical practice and is literally ‘a matter of life and death.’ ”
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