Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke, according to the CDC. Since February is American Heart Month, I wanted to give you a few tips on how wireless devices can improve lives by reducing in-person trips to the doctor’s office, save money, and keep vital health and wellness data at your fingertips.

Whether you are self-tracking your health activities or need to have valuable health information available in an emergency, today’s mobile devices along with health and wellness apps can help monitor your health and be used in emergencies.

health app

Smartphones and health tracking

  • According to a recent U.S. Cellular survey 34 percent of smartphone users have used a phone to help lose weight or improve their health, of those, 66 percent have used an app to keep track of exercise or other fitness activities.
  • Smartphones can play a vital role in getting medical attention within one hour of the onset of cardiac symptoms, as recommended by the Cleveland Clinic.
  • You can store personal medical information on your smartphone that family or medical personnel can access during an emergency.

Telemedicine and its benefits

  • Telemedicine makes health care more efficient by enabling practitioners to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients remotely using technology made available through a reliable wireless network like the high speed/4G LTE network available at U.S. Cellular.
  • It’s easy to contact trained medical professionals from home or work.
  • It’s convenient for people who might have difficulties coming into a physician’s office because of their remote location, busy schedules, mobility problems or other challenges.
  • It offers people instant, real-time medical consultations.
  • It saves time and money.
  • Telemedicine is meant to enhance – not replace – in-person physician visits, which are still recommended for regular care, such as physical exams. Telemedicine is used to treat minor ailments like cold symptoms, which account for nearly a quarter of office visits to primary care doctors and should not be used in emergency situations.

A Pew Research Center survey found that one in three American adults have gone online to research a medical condition. Now, people can use their mobile devices to “virtually” connect to a doctor to discuss their health symptoms, ask questions and learn more about treatment options. These virtual MDs can also prescribe medicine.

I’ve actually used the Doctor on Demand app myself and found it to be quite useful for those times you don’t want to run all the way to a clinic, yet still need professional answers.

Before using telemedicine:

Ask your Primary Care Physician. Discuss your options with your primary care physician to get their recommendations and see if they already have a relationship with a telemedicine provider.

Check your insurance.  Determine whether your insurance provider covers telemedicine and if there are any specifications surrounding this coverage.

Do your research.  Third-party medical rating service websites like vitals.com and NCQA.org provide valuable research on various telemedicine practitioners and services.


So tell us…

Have you ever used telemedicine? Would you consider using an app to reach a real, live doctor?




Image credit: Jason Howie, Flickr

Thanks to U.S. Cellular for sponsoring this post.