Saturday, August 28, 2010

When Doctors Find Their Smartphones Most Useful

This is a guest post by Paul Hench. Contact me if you'd like to submit a guest post.

When Doctors Find Their Smartphones Most Useful

There’s a surfeit of them today; even so, newer ones keep coming out regularly. No sooner than you’re just admiring your latest smartphone and bragging to your friends about its looks and capabilities than one shinier and supposedly better is released by a competitor. If it’s not a new model, it’s a new operating system or an upgrade of an existing OS. In short, if you own and use a smartphone, you must have immense self control if you want to avoid shelling out hundreds of dollars on model after model.

However, I’ve found that most people with smartphones tend to have their own favorites, and unless they’re really looking for a change, they prefer to stick with one brand and update when that particular brand has a new phone or a new OS. For example, BlackBerry users swear by the convenience that push mail and instant messaging offers; iPhone users wouldn’t change loyalties even if they were offered a free smartphone from a rival brand – they love the fact that they own a status symbol and that there are thousands of apps that they can choose from; and Google has a few converts now with its Android OS – the brand is irrelevant for lovers of this versatile OS which is certainly miles above anything that Microsoft has come up with.

I’ve stuck with these three brands because most doctors tend to go with one of them – it’s a BlackBerry or an iPhone or a phone with the Android OS. So when do medical professionals find their smartphones most useful?

• When they know how to use them effectively – it’s no use carrying around a smartphone just for the sake of it; unless you know how to tap its usefulness, it’s as good as lugging around a brick.
• When they’re able to load medical apps on their phone and actually use them – it’s easy to buy or just download the apps; the importance of the phone goes up when you make full use of the apps.
• When they can connect to their EMR system using their phone and use this connection to access and update patient records when they’re away from their office/practice.
• When it does not come in the way of doing their job – you must avoid fiddling with your phone and replying to messages and browsing the net when you’re with a patient or doing anything in a professional capacity.

Some doctors, especially the older ones, are technologically challenged; it’s not that they don’t know how to use technology, it’s just that they’ve never tried to get used to a smartphone fearing that they will find it incomprehensible. The truth is, smartphones make a doctor’s life much easier and more convenient, so the sooner medicos take to them, the sooner they’re able to move into a new era, one that combines medicine and technology to provide the best for both patients and doctors.

This guest post is contributed by Paul Hench, he writes on the topic of master in public health programs. He welcomes your comments at his email id:

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