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Are Medical Apps Safe?

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Nearly everyone has heard the tagline, “There’s an app for that.” Well do you think there is an app for checking your vision? How about an app for diagnosing an illness? If you answered yes, you’d be right. But should you use them? Probably not.

Remember: Just because it’s a smartphone, that doesn’t mean it can’t make mistakes.

Doctors and nurses at Hampton Roads, Virginia (VA), hospitals were asked if they recommended the medical apps and all said no. Although it would be neat to scan your knee with your phone and take your own X-ray, the technology is just not there. What is there is a hodge-podge of apps that could be in some cases utilized by doctors such as the eye vision test but in most cases just not reliable. Without the correct medical knowledge and experience the average American could misdiagnosis a condition and do more harm than good. Also, apps are made by separate companies and in some cases individuals. An app can be downloaded onto your phone and actually steal sensitive medical information if it is malicious.

These are all many reasons to stay away from medical apps. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend hours waiting on hold to speak to your doctor’s office. Several area hospitals, including the nationally recognized Sentara Healthcare, based in Norfolk, VA, have online programs that allow you to use your home computer or smartphone to check test results, order refills of prescription medications, schedule appointments and leave notes for your doctor.

Other useful health apps help you track your calorie intake and exercise programs. So, although we are not ready for the futuristic Star Trek sick bay, we can do more than ever with the help of medical technology.

CT

About the Editors: The Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.