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How Technology Is Helping The Chronically Unwell

– Contributed content –

Blood sugar monitor

(Pexels.com)

3 May 2018. Technology in the healthcare field is moving forward at a considerable pace, which is fantastic news for those who struggle with health issues. Being chronically unwell is defined as having a condition or symptoms lasting over three months, however for most who fall into this category their issues last for many years or even a lifetime. Having to go back and forth to constant doctors and medical appointments can be stressful and time consuming, so being able to manage some things yourself online can be incredibly helpful when you have an ongoing condition. Thanks to the accessibility of the internet, the development of computers and smartphones and excellent healthcare apps, gadgets and more this is becoming more of a possibility. Here are just a few of the ways that technology is helping those who are ill.

Better run doctors’ offices

When you spend a significant amount of time attending doctors appointments, it’s even more important to you to be in and out as quickly as possible. Thanks to technology like practice management software, doctors and receptionists and billing companies work is far more streamlined meaning they’re able to provide better service to you as a patient. Software for waiting rooms such as information screens and notice board tv gives you a much better idea for things like waiting times. Many doctors surgeries now give you the option of checking your results, making appointments and ordering your medication online without the need to ring up or go into the office. There are lots of ways software and technology is helping to make your doctor’s office better.

Online doctors

Sometimes a visit to the doctor is inevitable, however there are times when it’s far more convenient to speak to a medical professional from the comfort of your home. If for example it’s out of hours and you need a doctor but it’s not to the point of having to attend a walk in clinic or A&E, something like this could be really helpful. You get to video chat a professional GP who can give you advice and even prescribe medication based on your symptoms.

Online pharmacies

As with online doctors, online pharmacies can also be very helpful. If you have a repeat prescription for an ongoing illness, you can order this right from the website. You can also buy all kinds of treatments for ailments that you might have, after taking a short assessment online and it being verified by a pharmacist. If you’re housebound or find it difficult to get out to the chemist this can be really helpful as your medication will be delivered right to your door. It many cases can give you access to medication that’s not available over the counter but without needing to see a doctor first.

Apps

Most of us own a smartphone these days, and we’re very comfortable with using it for dealing with sensitive information. We bank online, we chat openly with loved ones over messaging apps and we manage our health. There are apps that are designed for general health tracking, these can include things like calorie consumption, weight, water intake and more. Others are more specialist, and can be using with corresponding equipment. For example, we can track blood pressure, blood sugar and other symptoms. More and more apps are released each year that can help those with various conditions keep track of their symptoms and conditions which is really helpful. When you can see this information right there in front of you it helps you to stay in control of it. If for example you see that your blood pressure has been off for a few days, you can take steps to get it back on track.

Online self management

As with apps, there are lots of sites and companies that offer online self management with health conditions so this could be done from a computer instead of your phone. There will often be more choice online than on apps (for now) so if you’re dealing with a condition that you want to track specifically and you can’t find an app for it, use your computer instead.

Support and advice forums and articles

Forums and online groups can be useful for those with chronic illness. Not only can you get advice from people going through the same thing as you but you can support each other too. Articles and medical information can also help those with chronic illness find out more about their condition, how to deal with things, lifestyle changes they could make and much more. It Can help them to learn about their medication, its side affects, things to be aware of and more more. This kind of information is invaluable and is made possible thanks to good technology.

Socialization and mental health

This might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of technology as a way to help the chronically ill. But it’s very important, those with ongoing issues can often struggle just to get out of the house. This can make socialising difficult, and loneliness can be a big problem. Since the mind and body are so connected, feeling unhappy can result in worsening (or perceived worsening) of symptoms and pain.

Technology like video calling, messaging and access to social media can all help those with ongoing issues keep in contact with loved ones. While nothing is as good as seeing the ones you care about in person, day to day it’s a good way to stay in the loop and in contact with people. It can also help them to meet people too when getting out and about isn’t possible. When you have access to the internet and the right technology you can make friends with people all over the world.

Are you chronically ill? If so, how do you utilise technology to help make your day to day life a little easier?

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