There’s a good chance one of your doctors' offices has recently encouraged you to download their mobile app or visit their website to manage things like scheduling appointments, paying bills or even communicating directly with your physician. Here’s how new forms of technology like “patient portal” apps are enhancing your care:

  • Increased communication between office visits deepens your relationship with your doctor and allows you to send important metrics, like heart rate and glucose levels, to the physician. Plus, some health concerns can be addressed through messages and eliminate the need for an in-person visit.
  • Built-in reminders in some apps can help you with better medication management. 
  • Increased knowledge of disease conditions improves your understanding of your health and treatment.
  • Taking an active role in your care by using an app can give you a feeling of increased responsibility for care outcomes.
  • Reminders and increased organization of your health can lead to improved management of chronic diseases. 
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  • Calendar appointments and notifications help avoid missed appointments. Don’t pay another fee for forgetting a doctor’s appointment or writing down the incorrect time in your calendar.
  • Recorded conversations ensure all physician advice is captured. Some doctors use apps to download their conversations with you so they can send the conversations to you after the appointment. This can be a helpful reminder of information or instructions after you hear negative news from your doctors and experience what some call "bad news deafness," which is when you tune out things that are not pleasant to hear. 

If your doctor’s office hasn’t instituted a mobile application, it may be coming. A 2015 report showed that 46 percent of practices planned to introduce apps over the next five years.

By Margaret Schmidt