Book a reservation. Shine a light to find your keys. Pay a bill. Don’t stop to ask for directions.
The list of products and services replaced by smartphones — and the number of services they enable — grows with each new software release, providing an astounding level of consumer empowerment and convenience.
But with greater empowerment comes greater expectations. Consumers are looking to all industries — including health care — to provide this same level of expediency.
Visit your doctor — from your kitchen. Check into a clinic visit — from the parking lot. Get a reminder to avoid breakfast for an upcoming surgery — right when you wake up. Sharp HealthCare is adding these and other conveniences for patients and families to help reduce the complexity of health care and improve outcomes.
Here’s a look at a few endeavors already underway or soon to launch at Sharp:
Sharp Health Companion mobile app
Built on an Apple CareKit health platform and recently featured in MobiHealthNews, the Health Companion app provides a simple user interface that helps patients navigate their upcoming cataract surgery so they know exactly what is required of them before, during and after the procedure.
“The app simplifies the entire process,” says Dr. Tommy Korn, an ophthalmologist with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group. “For example, patients get automatic reminders of tasks — such as using eye drops, stopping blood thinners or adjusting diabetic medication — right on their iPhone or any Apple device.”
Use of the app, which is currently in a pilot phase, has resulted in no missed surgeries and no post-surgery complications because of patient compliance. “Patients love having assistance from the app,” says Dr. Korn. “It’s like having a nurse or doctor right in the palm of your hands to guide you from start to finish.”
At Sharp Rees-Stealy, patients can have an appointment with their personal doctor by video or phone. Video and phone visits are ideal for follow-up appointments and for certain medical conditions such as the flu, sore throat, skin rash or infection; medication management questions; and much more, all from the location you choose.
“What I enjoyed most about my recent video visit was seeing how easy it was to set up and get connected to my doctor,” says Theresa C., a Sharp Rees-Stealy patient whose primary care physician is Dr. Kathlyn Ignacio. “All I had to do was tap a button and it was as if I was right there in Dr. Ignacio’s office. I live in North County so it was extremely convenient.”
Video and phone visits are currently available for patients who are at least 18 years old, have HMO insurance accepted by Sharp Rees-Stealy, and meet certain other criteria. For more information, please call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277).
Scheduled to launch in summer 2018, Sharp Rees-Stealy’s mobile check-in feature brings the ease and convenience found in many hotel and airline apps to the doctor’s office. Patients will be able to save time by pre-registering on their mobile devices before they even walk in the door.
Eleanor Roosevelt was unknowingly prophetic when she said: “The future is literally in our hands to mold as we like. But we cannot wait until tomorrow. Tomorrow is now.” Mobile technology puts the future in our hands today, and Sharp will continue to explore how to use these advancements to enhance the patient experience.
For the news media: To talk with a Sharp expert about innovations in health care for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.