Is there a doctor in the house…or a smart phone?
By Harry Kapp
My friend who lives alone recently had some surgery and spent the weekend with my family after her surgery so as not to be alone. Over the weekend, she experienced some discomfort and, without going into details, decided to call her doctor. It was the weekend and she called the on-call physician who was covering for her surgeon. I started to get ready to take her to the doctor’s office or the hospital but wait! After a bit of discussion about the symptoms, rather than being told to go to the hospital emergency room to be examined, the doctor asked if a picture could be taken and sent to him. My wife took the picture on her smart phone and sent it to the doctor who only minutes later said not to worry about it but, just to be cautious, he prescribed an antibiotic. Although he was off for the weekend, her own surgeon called as well (to his enormous credit). The photos were also sent to him. He saw the pictures and confirmed the diagnosis.
When I think of the not so “old” days, the only choice would have been to drive 25 miles to the hospital emergency room and wait to be seen. It would have taken hours of time not to mention an uncomfortable drive for my friend and the stress of not knowing what the doctors would find. And there is the additional stress of a hefty hospital and emergency physician’s bill as well.
There are so many uses for smart phones which have become indispensable but I would not have thought of this one. Of course, I jokingly wonder if medical schools will incorporate the use of smart phones into their curriculum. And I’m afraid the health care industry may soon catch on to this and try to charge thousands of dollars for a smart phone diagnosis or “scan” which, after contractual adjustments and insurance, will be $99.
The bottom line is that smart phones have been and will continue to be used in new and different ways that may be hard to predict. In this instance, the smart doctor’s smart phone came to the rescue!