One Mobile Healthcare Summit participant who has embraced the transformation taking place in the world of health care is Dr. Kendall Ho, the director of the eHealth strategy office for the UBC faculty of medicine. Dr. Ho described his experience of using mobile applications to make healthcare more cooperative, and ultimately to make patients healthier. To these ends, Ho has taken to prescribing mobile health apps to his patients.
In fact, Dr. Ho was himself a convert to the use of such mobile technologies before he took to recommending them to others. Through his use of a heart monitor app and a calorie counter, he reduced his caffeine intake and lost weight. These applications “changed my life,” says Dr. Ho.
Smartphone technology has further changed the way Dr. Ho makes recommendations to patients he sees in the emergency department at the Vancouver General Hospital. Most people carry smartphones these days, he knows, and one in four of those deploys an app or two in pursuit of health and fitness. When Ho sees a patient come into the emergency room looking at a phone, he knows he might be meeting someone who has already learned something about the symptoms and conditions that caused him or her to seek medical attention.
Dr. Ho recommends the use of mobile health apps to both patients and other doctors. To win such a recommendation, an app must be useful, easy to use, safe, and low-cost. The inevitable privacy trade-off must be minimal. Dr. Ho urges other physicians to try one app per month and to ask their patients about the apps they use. He tells doctors and patients this is clearly a sign of a new, transformed way of thinking about medicine. It is a privilege, says Dr. Ho, to be taking part in the Mobile Healthcare Summit, and more generally to be practicing medicine at a time of collaboration and cooperation, where new and better solutions will make a healthier world.