Point-of-care apps: How docs can make the most of eight minutes

Recently a MedCity News article http://medcitynews.com * noted: “Eight minutes. That’s approximately how long new doctors spend face-to-face with patients today. In those precious eight minutes, doctors have a laundry list of tasks to accomplish: convey patient’s condition, prognosis and treatment options–all while charting protected health information securely.”
“‘The abbreviated visit is even more problematic for the 88 percent of adults who have less-than-proficient health literacy. Low health literacy leads to more adverse health outcomes, including higher hospital admissions, and costs, according to recent studies.Is this the new normal? Should we just make the most of our brief visit? Or, can we proactively, and creatively, find ways to maximize the quality of this vital interaction?”
“ To bridge the time and knowledge gap with patients, more clinicians are turning to a variety of point-of-care applications. Physicians have responded favorably, with some 86 percent adopting various mHealth applications to support their patient interactions. With new point-of-care apps debuting regularly, what distinguishes the best from the rest?
Features of a great app.
1.A clear, specific function. When it comes to medical apps, if it’s too broad or difficult to use, it may get downloaded but it won’t be actively used. What physicians need most is a way to simplify complicated medical information, using tools and templates that are customized for each patient across a broad population. Doctors need the ability to use visual tools to explain a patient’s condition, and share it securely with the patient and other healthcare team members.
2. Usable and fast.A good app should help doctors maximize the few precious moments they have with patients. The popular iPad app drawMD is a vivid example. Developed by Visible Health, the app is as easy to use as picking up a pencil. drawMD communicates anatomy, conditions and procedures with patients through simple drawings and sketch tools, while supporting conversations around specific conditions and procedures This helps doctors engage patients and improve clinical outcomes. Compared to traditional software that tries to keep users in their apps as long as possible, drawMD strives to keep users in their apps for a minimum amount of time, while effectively achieving its goals.
* to read the full MedCity News article “Point-of-care apps: How docs can make the most of eight minutes” by John Cox, highlight and click on open hyperlink http://medcitynews.com/2014/07/pick-mobile-health-app-will-really-help-patients/#ixzz38PGJjWJE
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Jonathan M. Metsch, Dr.P.H., is Clinical Professor, Preventive Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; and Adjunct Professor, Baruch College ( C.U.N.Y.), Rutgers School of Public Health, and Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration
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