Mobile phones, tablets, PCs, and gaming consoles have been used to access the doctor’s offices for years.
They can work as an alternative to walk-in clinics, and as a way to connect with doctors, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
The group says there’s an estimated 400,000 doctors in the U.S. who use a mobile device as their primary way to access care.
But some doctors are pushing back on the idea.
The AMA has a survey out this week that asks doctors to consider their medical technology needs, such as the amount of power that their device requires and the health risks of the devices themselves.
One physician asked if the device was too big for a doctor’s desk.
“If you’re not comfortable with a mobile phone for your primary care practice, then you need to think about how you can get more doctors to use it,” said Dr. Susan Pfeffer, who co-chairs the AMA’s Mobile Devices Committee.
A mobile phone isn’t a substitute for a walk-ins clinic, but it’s definitely a better option than a walk in, said Dr (ret.)
Dr. Scott Anderson, a pediatric ophthalmologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
“If you can walk into the doctor and get your prescription, then it’s not that bad,” Anderson said.
“You can also do things like schedule appointments.
You can do appointments on the go.
You don’t need to be tethered to a desk.
And the doctor can make more appointments.”
There are a variety of reasons for why doctors use a smartphone or tablet to access their patients’ care.
For example, if they need to communicate with a doctor, they may want to do so from a distance.
Some physicians also use smartphones to conduct exams.
Doctors may be required to carry a phone in their office because it’s a more convenient way to monitor their patients, said Pfefer.
But they can also use the device to take pictures and take notes.
In some cases, doctors may want access to patients who can’t be in the office.
For instance, doctors might want to be able to see a patient while they’re out, said Anderson.
And doctors may also want to make phone calls from the office, which is a lot easier with a phone than with a walk.
“I think that the way we have mobile devices today, they are being used more as a replacement for a medical office than a primary care office,” Anderson told Medscape Medical News.
It’s an evolving technology that is growing in popularity, but the AMA says the benefits of using it go beyond the doctor-patient relationship.
Mobile devices can be a useful tool for medical professionals to meet their patients at the office and for doctors to take notes, Anderson said, “because it’s more convenient for a physician to have more access to their patients than to be in a hospital or have to drive.”
For more health care news from Medscape, please visit Medscape.com.