A pregnant woman came to the ER one night at 2 am, complaining of low back pain. After a quick history and examination, I didn’t see anything urgent about her condition. I reassured her and advised her to rest and take paracetamol.
Instead of leaving me alone jejely, she kept telling me one story after the other, just to convince me to do a bedside ultrasound scan. I had checked the fetal heart with a hand-held doppler device and allowed her to listen to the sounds. Then, I gave her an appointment for a scan and urged her to go home. Well, she later told me that she did a scan the previous day and she was told that the baby was a girl. Since she wanted a boy so badly, she came to me for a “second opinion”. Funkeee! At 2 am nítorí Ọlọhun?!
Before Covid-19 a lot of people used to flood the hospital for complaints that could have been settled over the phone. Covid-19 happened and a lot of consultations happened via telephone and video chats. Some hospitals moved their triage systems online. Several mobile apps were used by millions of people. These apps helped to differentiate cases that needed urgent attention to those who could be managed at home. Thousands of ebooks and blog posts were also released to educate the public on general health and safety issues. All these helped to reduce the risk of spreading the virus within health facilities.
As a physician, I am always intrigued by how much technology has helped and can still help us to serve our patients more efficiently.
We now have less invasive clinical tests and medical robots that get the job done twice as fast. However, physical interaction with patients can never go into extinction, no matter the level of sophistication these technologies throw at us. Text or video chats should not totally replace bedside examinations. We shouldn’t be spending more time staring at the computer and less time keeping a reassuring eye contact with our patients!
Which medical mobile app do you have on your phone right now and how has it been helping you? Tell us in the comment section.