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Technology and health care

The benefits of technology to health care are many and varied, but the obvious uses of scans and x-rays isn’t the focus of this post. On the BBC News website a story was recently posted about the use of a mobile phone app to raise awareness of the damage alcohol can have on the body. The original article can be found here.

The concept of being able to place medical information and educational content directly into the hands [and therefore potentially into the minds] of the public, is something which can only grow. With the mobile phone market expanding rapidly and the increasing proportion of smart phones, the medical community must embrace this avenue of promoting information and good practice, but also take advantage of this method of allowing the community to access services and to some degree educate itself. For many people their mobile phone is one of the first things they check when leaving their house, some feel almost naked when without their phone, making the mobile phone an obvious target on which to “lodge’ medical information or provide ready access to it.

Some good examples of access to information and advice are the Oxford Handbook range of apps, [such as Tropical Medicine- recommended on our MACE programme]. Aimed at medical care professionals, the information is easily accessible for anyone with medical/first aid responsibilities. With a wide range of titles it is easy to find a relevant app.

Another favourite of our first aid training team is the UKParaPack, this app features UK paramedic guidelines. Or for the more day to day questions that many of us have about our health there is the NHS Direct app [follow the links within the page for the different platforms] which we recommend on our courses, particularly our paediatric first aid courses.

All online sources of advice [such as the apps mentioned above] cannot replace professional medical advice, but may provide guidance and reassurance and in many cases work alongside existing healthcare provision. Where will the technology take us next?