Many are too young to remember, but there was a point in time where your doctor made house calls. Over time, it’s become less so, just as the customer service at the gas station and grocery store has dwindled (remember milk delivered to your doorstep?). Time is money. Going to and from your front door means less customers for healthcare professionals.
Technology is at least helping to bridge that gap. It’s now commonplace for your healthcare provider to have a system by which you can communicate with your doctor via email, and check on the status of things like the progress of that blood test you took.
And, it’s not just there that things have changed. Sports and athletics have become stretched thin with tightened budgets. Getting one-on-one coaching at the high school or at lower college levels has become more difficult as staffing has been cut.
But, a funny thing happened on the way to the mobile technology world we’re now in: businesses are beginning to see that services tailored specifically to those that want access from their smartphone or tablet can be big business.
While we reported about how Apple’s iOS8 and the release of the iPhone 6 could revolutionize sports with apps that could provide direct biofeedback, several companies have released health apps that go further by actually putting you in touch with a human voice. It isn’t Siri with an MD, but a network of real healthcare physicians that can take your calls, do FaceTime, and give advice. Somewhere, George Jetson is saying, “Jane, stop this crazy thing… I’m doing FaceTime with the doctor as Astro has given me chest pains.”
Think of it as house calls without the doctor coming to your house.
A good example of this is HealthTap on the App Store that works for both Apple iPhone and iPad. The company touts that it has 62,000 top US doctors in their network that provides “help by talking to a live doctor anytime, from anywhere. Learn more by getting personalized answers, tips, news, and app recommendations direct from doctors.”
Clearly, the largest market for this is going to be healthcare. But on a smaller scale, nutritionists and trainers could be used to live healthier lifestyles. Maybe that coach can’t come out to the field for you to work one-on-one as you do sports drills, but what’s to say a service couldn’t be setup where FaceTime conversations with a coach could be done through a service?
Apple is on the cusp of this with iOS8 and the release of the iPhone 6, but if the trend continues with tech sector seeing billions of dollars via health and fitness apps, surely the rest of the mobile device market will rapidly get onboard.
It’s been said that the advent of smartphones, especially through social media, have made us less personal. That we’ve become some Orwellian society with our brains attached to our devices. But while you weren’t looking, mobile devices have made us more health conscious. It might be that in the future, studies show that the advent of the smartphone actually led to longer life expectancy. Here’s to the house call returning, albeit via FaceTime.