Smartphones have been around long enough now that some people probably don’t remember life without them. Smartphones have changed the way we live and work and do so many things. Our lives are more connected and convenient because of them. In 2020, these pocket-sized supercomputers are continuing to change our lives in so many ways. One of these ways is by helping to keep us healthy. There is an incredible number of health and healthcare applications that our smartphones can now support ad are changing all our lives for the better. Here are 4 ways smartphones can benefit your health.
1. Wellness Apps
They say that knowledge is power and the ability that smartphones have to provide users with an increasing amount of knowledge about their own health and wellness is a huge tool. There are currently hundreds of thousands of health, fitness, and wellness apps available for smartphones. These apps, both individually and as a group, are among the most downloaded apps on many smartphone platforms.
These apps allow you to catalog, track, create reminders, and set health and wellness goals to improve your overall health and wellbeing. There are apps that are specifically designed for almost any aspect of your physical or mental health. There are smartphone apps that help you work out and get fitter, that help you eat better and meet your nutritional goals, that help with mental health through meditation, stress reduction, or relaxation, and even apps that help you get better quality sleep.
By being able to gather and store all the raw data about your health and wellness in one place, these apps are putting the power to control your own health and healthy habit in your hands. In addition to collecting the data, many apps are able to go a step further and actually give feedback or recommendations based on the data provided. This level of engagement with your health is something that would have taken years of education to understand before smartphones but now, all the knowledge is in the palm of your hand.
2. Software as a Medical Device (SaMD)
Smartphones are not just putting more and better medical data in your hands, it is putting it in the hands of medical professionals as well. Much of this comes from a technological category called software as a medical device or SaMD. This category refers to software that can be used as a standalone medical device, as opposed to software that is used in medical devices (this category is known as SiMD).
SaMD is an increasingly important tool for patient treatment, according to Orthogonal. It has been revolutionary for two main reasons. One is that it helps the healthcare industry improve patient outcomes by gathering, processing, and analyzing critical patient data. With the artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning involved in much of the SaMD, it can even make a precise recommendation for things like drug dosage and treatment plans. The other reason is that SaMD drives faster innovation. They are cheaper, more portable, and faster and easier to update than traditional medical devices. Since SaMD is connected to the internet as well, it can be improved faster as well as developers get feedback in real-time.
There are many examples of this type of software already being utilized by the healthcare industry today and there is sure to be new and improved SaMD in the future. Some of the more common types of SaMD being used include things like software that uses algorithms to analyze symptoms and provide diagnoses or SaMD that monitors patients for triggers or symptoms of chronic health issues and alerts the patient or medical professionals when they arise.
3. Mobile Health Coaching
One of the biggest issues in the medical profession is that medical professionals do not have the luxury of spending as much time with each patient as they would like to help ensure the best outcomes for their patients. The average doctor visit lasts less than 20 minutes. This is not a lot of time for a doctor to convey all the information they need to and for patients to think of and ask all the questions they want to. When some of the time is spent asking and asking questions for a diagnosis, the window for proper interaction is even smaller.
Mobile health coaching is one of the big things that the healthcare industry is pushing to help remedy this problem and improve treatment and outcomes for patients. This form of medical professional/ patient interaction comes in the form of doctors being able to access real-time info when their patients are at home as well as being able to advise them and answer questions when they are needed. According to Healthcare Weekly, the industry had also been using AI to provide diagnoses of more minor health problems to help healthcare providers save time and be more efficient.
4. Staying Mentally Sharp
Brain health and dementia are major problems that so many people deal with as they get older. Studies have shown that, while there is no cure for dementia or brain-related regression, there are things you can do to stay mentally sharp and delay the onset of these types of brain issues.
Your smartphone is one tool that you can use to help keep your mind functioning well and slow down the rate of deterioration. There are a few different ways a smartphone helps you to do this. One thing that smartphones offer is specially designed games and tests that allow users to work out their brains and keep the parts that tend to deteriorate the fastest working well.
Games alone though will not do everything you need to keep dementia away. Recent studies suggest a more holistic approach to brain health is needed. Learning new things, staying active, reading, engaging in complex activities, and even being more social can all help slow down the aging of the brain. A smartphone can help older people do all these things. Social media apps can help seniors avoid isolation, fitness apps can motivate people to move more, and the simple act of learning how to use a smartphone and operate all the features can have a positive impact on people’s brains as they age.
You may come across any number of articles and features about how smartphones are bad for you or are ruining society. While there may be a certain truth to that in some regards, there are a lot of positives that come from smartphones as well and one of the biggest of these are the health benefits. As the technology and uses continue to develop, the smartphone will grow in importance within the healthcare world and you never know, maybe someday even save your life.