Published on February 3rd, 2015 | by Thompson0
Mobile Healthcare Apps Help Americans Find Doctors
New mobile applications are connecting Americans with doctors based on conditions, procedures, or specialties, saving patients time and money. Traditionally, Americans would have to set an appointment to see their family physician who can refer them to a specialist. HealthGrades is taking that initial appointment out of the equation by allowing patients to seek doctors who specialize in their conditions.
As a sufferer of degenerative disc disease, a chronic condition that causes back pain because of a loss of fluid in the discs between the vertebrae, I was curious how this new mobile application worked. I went to the website and typed my condition and location into the search bar. The mobile app can also determine your location using GPS after authorizing the app to do so. I was shocked to find there were six orthopedic surgeons that treat degenerative disc disease within a 100-mile radius of my home. That’s closer than I expected given the lack of quality physicians in the eastern part of Montana. Better yet, I could even see what health insurance plans they accept, their location and phone number to set up an appointment. You can even use the advanced search options to find doctors who only accept your insurance or those who have been recommended by other patients, because the application also provides reviews from patients that help rank the doctors based on patient satisfaction and even provide the average time spent in the waiting room.
HealthGrades is the coolest thing to happen to American medicine since penicillin. Instead of relying on a family physician to recommend a specialist, who generally recommends a friend or associate in the industry, the patient can now make that decision on their own based on the reviews of other patients. It’s like window shopping for doctors.
HealthGrades isn’t the only mobile application that puts patients in touch with the best doctors in their area. According to Jonah Comstock, Medigo of Berlin raised $6.2 million for their application that not only provides a similar search engine that puts patients in touch with healthcare services in their area, but provides global price transparency. It tells you how much you can expect to pay for certain services all over the world to promote “medical tourism,” where patients travel to receive the best healthcare.
None of the 400 hospitals Medigo currently works with offers artificial disc replacement surgery, but I was surprised by how low the prices for spinal surgery were in Poland. I could pay for a round-trip flight and get surgery for much less than the $6,500 deductible I would have to pay in order for my health insurance company to pay for the rest of my bill in the United States.
These mobile healthcare applications are allowing patients to not only find the best healthcare, but the best price, giving patients more options and breaking down the power health insurance companies have over their patients in the United States.