I have been thinking a lot about eHealth and mHealth recently and was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled upon an article in my favorite section of the NYTimes, The Well, that demonstrated an example of e or mHealth here in the U.S.
I don’t know about you, but often times I will avoid going to the doctor’s office (at least here, at Tulane) due to the long wait that is usually involved. Since being able to go to appointments on my own from age 18, I have tried to schedule doctor visits in the morning, with hopes that the doctor will be less behind schedule. Imagine an app or website that kept track of the information so that you knew how long it would be before the doctor could see you? Now, I’m generally a patient person, but it would be nice if I could do that one errand or enjoy the outdoors and make a phone call or read a book outside before venturing in to the doctor’s office. Another tool, ZocDoc, is being used to address the issue of finding open appointments and filling out paperwork. This could certainly make sense, as neither the patient nor the office workers want to sit on the phone and tediously search for a mutually-open date and time. I would be more apt to schedule appointments if I could visualize when there was availability.
When I first read this article in the NYT I thought these tools seemed luxurious. Now, I am appreciative of these steps in the direction of using our wonderful new technologies to make healthcare more accessible and simplified for both the patient and the doctor’s office.
I began thinking, how could these tools, or similar ones be used in less developed counties or regions? I have been fascinated by stories of skype doctors and outsourcing such pieces of healthcare, and of health websites in general. What do you think? What other innovative technologies could be used to make doctor visits more accessible in countries poorer countries with less medical infrastructure?