6 Online Digital Health Tools You Can Use Right Now


Medidex , Inc.
@theMedidex
6 Online Digital Health Tools You Can Use...

1. Check Your Hospital And Doctor Records

Who hasn’t experienced some hassle obtaining a medical record? Whether it is to show old records to a new physician, to get immunization records for school, or to have the x-ray handy to show off to your friends, having access to your medical records just flat out makes sense.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always as easy as it sounds but the growing acceptance of patient portals it is becoming easier to literally look up your records on your phone. Since your records are protected under HIPAA and are private, you will need a login and password from your doctor or hospital to see them; but once you have login credentials many portals have their own apps that let you keep your medical records at your fingertips. You can check out a more comprehensive guide on connecting to your medical records here.

2. Get Real Time Price Information About Medical Procedures And Prescriptions

A major topic in modern society is the debate over healthcare. One of the major flaws we see in our healthcare system is the lack of transparent and consistent pricing schemes for procedures. There are many culprits as well as rather reasonable reasons these occur in healthcare but kickbacks for insurance companies are a major focus of this. Mostly, this is because the private insurance framework of our country greatly disenfranchises the uninsured and underinsured through favoritism for insurance companies by healthcare networks.

Several tools are being developed though which allow patients with and without insurance get accurate location based estimates on what medical procedures and medications should cost. My two favorites are Healthcare Bluebook and GoodRx. Healthcare Bluebook focuses on medical procedures, while GoodRx focuses on prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Both allow patients to enter their location and medical needs and get real time price comparisons. This creates transparent pricing of healthcare services for public consumption, which hopefully leads to informed consumers and lower prices.

3. Receive Your Lab Results Without A Doctor’s Appointment

While it might be difficult for patients to understand the results of most lab tests done in medical settings, there is definitely a profound need for many to check their lab results by themselves. This can be an extremely good thing when a patient is awaiting a life changing lab result to reduce stress, or simple positive/negative tests which won’t always require a follow-up visit. This method can save time for unneeded doctor’s appointment and provide patients more mobility to visit new doctors and get second opinions.

There are two major lab test providers in the US (Quest and Labcorp), which are estimated to cover over 90% of lab tests done. Both companies have recently begun allowing the public to view their lab results online simply by verifying their identity. These can usually allow patients to view results as soon as they’re available as well reference them securely online at anytime. For a step by step guide on how to connect to Quest and Labcorp I would check out a tutorial here.

4. Video Chat With A Doctor On Your Phone Or Computer

Not feeling well? Think you should see a doctor but putting it off? Well why not give a doctor a call, or even better yet have a video chat with one online. Is talking with a doctor online crazy, or a good idea? Well, with telehealth tools such as Amwell and Healthtap this has become reality and is making talking to a doctor more convenient and affordable. Both these platforms allow you to schedule video chats with doctors on your computer as well as having android and iOS apps available to do it from your phone. From here you can talkr to a doctor about how you’re feeling and they can give their advice and opinion, prescribe you a medication, or refer you to a service such as a lab test you may need.

In addition to video and call chat, they also have a variety of other features, one of my favorites being Healthtap’s ask a doctor. With this feature you can propose a question to be answered by a credentialed and qualified doctor for free through the Healthtap app.  Insurance policies haven’t yet caught up to telehealth and it’s difficult to get reimbursement for an independent video chat using these companies but they are still very affordable for their convenience at around $50 a consultation.

5. Have A Pharmacy Deliver Your Medication

Need to refill your prescription but don’t feel like getting out of bed? Tired of making the trip to CVS every month and waiting online? Well great news, now it is easier than ever to have your medications setup for home delivery. For instance CVS home delivery is available from many locations around the US now. There are even specialty pharmacies dedicated to home delivery you can have your prescriptions sent to which will take care of everything, all you need to do is be there and sign when they show up.

Express Scripts is also an example which has a national home delivery program for their pharmacy and is available almost anywhere. There is also Capsule which has made it very easy for New York City residents to do this in the city from even local mom and pop pharmacies. Also, many local specialty pharmacies offer this along with other services such as packaging each dose separately to help people with many prescriptions manage proper usage such as Maple Pharmacy. So next time you need to go to the pharmacy, consider these services instead.

6. Keep Continuous Track Of Your Body

We’ve all heard of Fitbit, Apple Watch, and maybe some lesser known health and wellness trackers like Jawbone, Misfit, or Withings. This explosion of monitoring devices is part of a larger push towards integrated and holistic approaches to staying healthy and informed about our bodies.

In 2017 there is starting to be hundreds and maybe even thousands of health monitoring devices on the market and with default Apps on iPhone and Android, Apple Health and Google Fit. They are becoming more useful, easier to use, and are starting to be connected to our doctors and caregivers.

Whatever your lifestyle or health needs there are continuous or home monitoring systems available that connect and store data in one place on your Smartphone.

Measurements that can be monitored include blood pressure, heart rate, ECG and heart activity, blood flow, weight, temperature, activity, respiration rate, stress levels, calories consumed, and many more. The great thing about many of these monitoring systems is their ability to work continuously and transfer the data to your phone wirelessly using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology.

For example there is a new device out called the HealBe GoBe which using advanced technology to automatically track calories consumption by continuously, and painlessly monitoring your blood using light waves. Another example is the Kardia heart monitoring system which can monitor heart rate, ECG and has built in algorithms to detect potential heart problems such as arrhythmias automatically and alert your doctor. These are just a few examples of the current applications of health monitoring being used right now, but the possibilities are limitless and will become more advanced every passing year.

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