How a Smartphone Could Send You to the Doctor

Countless people trust smartphones to meet needs ranging anywhere from calorie counting to checking the weather, always knowing, “There’s an app for that”.

However, while “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” certain apps may not.

Apple image via NCNM; iPhone image via The Telegraph

The NY Times health blog recently called the value of health apps into question.

The post’s author Joshua A. Krisch writes:

“Apple’s television commercials for the iPhone 5 portrayed the device as not just a smartphone, but a health and fitness tool. And indeed, iPhones, Androids and now even the Apple Watch provide countless applications to help with motivation and organization. But a subset of these apps go further, purporting to function as medical devices — to track blood pressure, treat acne, even test urine samples. Amid a proliferation of such apps, physicians and federal regulators are sounding an alarm, saying that programs claiming to diagnose or treat medical conditions may be unreliable and even dangerous.”

Krisch went on to write about instances when certain apps were relied upon when medical professionals should have been consulted.

Have you ever called on the Internet when you have been injured?

It’s common to do a Google search of your symptoms after getting hurt to identify what is wrong with your body. However, identifying the problem and solving it are two completely different things.

For example, you may know you “likely have a broken arm”, but you shouldn’t trust a Google search to go about healing it properly.

Krisch acknowledged that not all medical apps are bad and many are quite useful. However, don’t let a smartphone replace what a phone call to a doctor should do. If you ever encounter an injury of any sort, please schedule an appointment to be evaluated by one of the doctors at Arkansas Specialty Orthopaedics.