Best Apps for Self-Diagnosis (Health)
What the heck is that…?
So last week you saw a mole on your shoulder. Has it changed shape or gotten bigger? Is it really a mole? How can you know for sure? How do you know aren’t wasting any valuable time from the doctor’s office that could be better used to treat patients with diagnosed problems? How would you go about looking for answers without having a medical degree?
One could search the Internet for symptoms like “scratchy throat, swollen neck, or nasal discharge” then be presented with a plethora of possible problems. Or, if you happen to want a better tool, take a look at these apps that help you with the answers you’re looking for. We must stress however that these programs are not a substitute for genuine attention from a medical professional who is able to make a medical diagnosis in a hospital. If you find that you need to be looked at for a second or third opinion then by all means do that.
These apps are merely a tool to help you understand what exactly is going on with your body by giving you more knowledge. Not knowing is by far the worst part of any situation. By understanding even a little of what’s going on you are already setting yourself up for success and the correct treatment when visiting the hospital.
iTriage-Health, Symptom, Doctor
While our top three apps in self-diagnosis are remarkably similar they have different perks that may or may not interest you more than the others. For example, iTriage has a whole section devoted to finding Doctors and Facilities. Another section covers Medications and Procedures. For our purposes we zoomed in on the stomach of the male model presented below.
We entered in “Pregnancy Problem” (as if that would ever be a problem…never say never). Then we were presented with a list of possible causes of problems in pregnancy. We assume it ignored our gender choice and went on to educate us.
After you pick a topic you are given a few more options that deal with descriptions, tests, symptoms, treatment, and images or videos if any.
While the layout is somewhat confusing, we can sort of move things around a bit to see where we’re in regards to our symptoms.
The medication glossary was very helpful but it did seem to have an awful lot of brand name medicines.
Another cool feature are the articles that inhabit the iTriage spotlight section. February is American Heart Month… who knew?
Symptomate Symptom Checker
As far as symptom checkers go, this was one that we recommend over the other two. It may not carry the weight of WebMD as far as brand recognition goes but it more than makes up for it by raw data and usability. For instance, we entered in our vital stats, then answered a few generalized questions involving our health.
We said that we were tiring easily, with weakness. Then we were asked to type in any other symptoms that we might have had. We said we were coughing and then went on to either check yes or no or other options in each of the following questions.
For just playing around the application had a very hard time pinning down our malaise. We said yes to some questions and no to others. One could only imagine such a complex selection of symptoms. When the dust cleared we were said to have Urethritis apparently. The best feature about this app was the ability to get a report by e-mail that we could show our doctor.
WebMD for Android
WebMD is highly recognizable in the realm of medical advice on the Internet. It’s almost as well known as information from the Mayo Clinic. With good reason, the app is polished and performs wonderfully. Not only do we have a symptom checker at our disposal but we have conditions and medicine as in the first. It goes a step further to include some First Aid information in case we need it.
The layout of the application was very friendly and did a lot to link to resources found online.
The biggest problem with seeing the doctor is the time that they are allowed spend on you. In more upscale hospitals the doctors are afforded more time to spend answering questions as the patients have more money to spend. While this seems sort of discriminatory we have to understand something. Doctors spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to go to school, medical equipment costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, Medicines have millions of dollars backing the research it took to get approved, and rent for hospitals is very, very high. In putting all of these factors together in addition to malpractice lawsuits and high insurance premiums for hospitals in case of litigation purposes, we arrive at one conclusion.
Our facetime with doctors is limited by the need of the bills to be paid. Our insurance dictates what they get paid for services rendered. The doctor who treats more patients in a shorter amount of time gets more money overall.
With this in mind it is very important to understand what you might be able to do to get the right information and diagnosis from your doctor before you visit the hospital. By using these apps to narrow down the concerns you have including possible questions you are doing two things. You are being responsible and taking action for your well-being and you are also making their job a lot easier by having a better idea of what type of care you might need. While we all understand that these apps are in no way supposed to substitute for a real medical diagnosis they do help in decided what plan of action to take when you get in front of a real physician. Most of the problems arise in visits to the hospital when the patients cannot accurately remember the symptoms they had. These apps help with that recall and ensure that you are better prepared when the time comes.