How would you feel about digital doctors? Logging into an online account, conversing online with a human or virtual doctor at the other end of the ‘line’, and maybe even plugging in some gadgets to measure your pulse, take your temperature and whatnot? Do you think this sounds inhumane or inefficient, or do you think it’s a reality humankind can’t long outrun? If you’re anything like us, then digital healthcare should sound like a great idea, as long as it’s clearly regulated and its limits are defined accordingly. As long as it’s reserved only for supervision (like giving a patient a remote checkup via digital means), the idea sounds wonderful.
There sure have been a lot of debates lately focusing on the intersections between technology and healthcare. Partly because the medical system itself is going through some major reorganizing with Obamacare, partly because technological advancements now make it more possible, but it seems that digital healthcare is now in our grasp. With so many new consumer products which are able to monitor our health stats (like the new Apple watches, for example), technology for doctors to use remotely in order to check in with their patients should be the next logical step.
Why a Digital Doctor Visit Is a Good Idea
The only problem we see with this advancement of gadgets which are able to monitor their user’s health stats is that no matter how well-informed and technologically literate patients become, self-diagnosis is not and will never be a good idea. A doctor is still required for a proper assessment of one’s state of health, to outline a plan of improvement or to make recommendations. But since many people won’t have the time or availability to physically go into a doctor’s office, this could easily be solved by setting up a digital doctor visit.
After discussing the data they advanced gadgets rely to them with their physician via a Skype meeting, the digital checkup would be complete in most cases, unless there’s an actual serious condition which requires face to face contact for a proper diagnosis or treatment. This sounds like a win-win situation for everyone involved, and we have already started seeing some interesting medical technology start-ups popping up in the past few years, which could bring this closer from happening on a larger scale. All that remains now is seeing more on the matter in the medical technology news section from now on.
If you’d like to get a better look into the feats already accomplished in this digital healthcare field, you can browse the archives of the Digital Health Summit.
You can also read The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age, a reserved but in the end optimistic chronicle on this transition, authored by Robert Wachter and available on Amazon. The book has received a #1 New York Times Science Bestseller award and even though it’s more wary of the hiccups of digital healthcare than we are, it’s surely an interesting read.
If you’d like to research more into your current options for receiving a digital checkup, know that they exist, though they’re still rather limited. Read more here about how you can schedule a digital doctor visit and why.
Image source: here.