When you have a question about your health, take out your mobile phone. Don’t just look it up the answer with a search engine, use an app that puts you remotely face-to face in real-time with your own medical professional. You can show that professional the area that you about which you are concerned with your mobile phone or laptop, if it has a camera.

Telemedicine– now called “Telehealth –is not new. As far back as 1991, the FDA predicted technological developments will make remote doctor visits possible. Telehealth now includes such technologies such as land line phones, FAX machines, computer, e-mail with which you can send your question and pictures to remote patient monitoring devices. In more and more instances, you can have a teleconference with your medical provider for diagnosis and monitoring.  Our health records are now being store in computers that hopefully only medical personnel can quickly tap into. Did you know, by the way, mammograms and other X-rays often outsourced by to Indian doctor overnight for reading to diagnose?

Doctors and medics on battlefields are consulting with specialists overseas to help them help wounded or sick soldiers.

You will now find out–,if you haven’t already– government health agencies and insurance companies are very much in favor of telehealth because it permits two-way, real-time between the patient, and the physician or medical practioner at a distant site. This electronic means the use of interactive telecommunications equipment is “cost effective alternative to the more traditional of providing medical care” according to government agencies.

The idea of your mobile phone in your pocket also empowers you. From anywhere at any time you can contact some medical professional who has the remote facilities to give you expert information. You may have to make a virtual appointment. A demonstration of the iTunes app for skin diagnosis is an example. You purchase the app and you can show a dermatologist or another medical provider the skin area about which you are worried through your camera. It is just as you may scan a  barcode. The cost of the consultation will probably be covered by insurance but you have to check your policy.


Photographer: KJRH University of Pittsburgh


Beware, however, of relying on your phone alone for a diagnosis. University of Pittsburgh scientists studied four smartphone apps that evaluate melanoma by analyzing images submitted by the users. One app worked by having a board-certified dermatologist look at the photos, while the other three apps analyzed the images by computer algorithm. The best-performing of the computer-driven apps missed 30 percent of the melanoma cases, while the worst-performing missed 93 percent. The app that used actual physicians to diagnose the melanomas worked well, correctly identifying more than 98 percent of the submitted images. The study’s lead researcher, Laura Ferris,PhD. of Pittsburgh’s medical school, worries that misdiagnosis by smartphone could harm patients in the long run.


So go for the virtual visit via you mobile device. Then it will be as smart as your “smart phone”.

For further information you can check:


U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page

American Telemedicine Association
About 1,300 members. Has a home-care policy committee.

National Association for Home Care
Represents about 18,000 home-care agencies.
1-800-274-4ANA (1-800-274-4262)
Represents 2.6 million registered nurses. Has developed guidelines on use of telehealth.


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