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Lifestyle : Enhance Yourself Special Report December
1HERSA1 0059 z z z z z z *Min total cost is $526.20 over 12 months. First time users, local residents and 18+ years of age only. Offer expires 21st December 2012. Applies to membership fees. Some start up fees may apply. * App-ly yourself to an online medical world Technology is changing people's relationship with their health practitioners, writes Jason Mountney. 'The video function available on the app is invaluable.' Karen Finnin, physiotherapist Photo: Nick Cubbin Kim Henshaw was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was eight, and knows only too well the inside of a medical waiting room. But these days she's making fewer appointments. Henshaw, 34, has the iBGStar Diabetes Manager app installed on her iPhone. When she needs to measure information such as her blood sugar levels, she plugs a blood glucose meter into the bottom of the phone. This then interacts with the app to map her levels on a chart throughout the day. Henshaw, who lives on Victoria's Bellarine Peninsula, can enter in what exercise she has done and what she has eaten throughout the day, as well as insulin taken or any other events. She can email results directly to her GP or endocrinologist for a direct consultation. "IcancarryitwithmeifIgointo see a doctor or a specialist," she says. "It can create a graph for them in seconds. I'm very happy with it." Information technology has altered people's relationships with their health practitioners. Computer records are more accurate than the paper cards they replaced. The internet has allowed people to have an idea of what their GP will diagnose, and can allow them to research advice and diagnoses they receive. Now apps on smartphones and iPads can give them greater independence when evaluating symptoms. Results can be obtained away from clinics and emailed from anywhere with a signal. People in remote areas can connect with city-based medical professionals, who can send programs and exercise regimes alongside how-to videos. "We have just started using a new app that is supplied by www.myphysioapp.com.au," says Karen Finnin, a musculoskeletal physiotherapist and director of Physios Online, a company that treats people remotely. "It allows physiotherapists to send a tailored exercise program to the patient's smartphone. This will include still frame images, and video footage of each exercise, along with dosage and timing information. Patients can even play their full exercise program through in real time. "Before the app, I would send people a static A4 word type document with basic pictures and worded descriptions of the exercises. Given the distant nature of our format of healthcare, the physio is not able to physically demonstrate the exercise for the patient, so the video function available on the app is invaluable." Dr Stephen Schumack is a consultant dermatologist at Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital. He has been involved in developing Know Your Own Skin, an app that "can pick up abnormalities" and helps people examine themselves for sun spots and non-melanoma cancers. He says the app will particularly appeal to "the 'missed group' -- people raised in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s", before ''slip, slop, slap'' entered the national vernacular. The app teaches them what to look for and how to tell if damage needs attention. It also links up with weather information to warn if temperatures and ultra-violet levels are high. Apps can even make visiting the doctor easier. Patients with 1stAvailable installed on their smartphone can find available sessions with a variety of specialists registered on the app. The service, modelled on accommodation apps such as Wotif and Last Minute, finds any free spaces with GPs, dentists and specialists and books appointments. SUNDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2012 THE SUN-HERALD 59 ENHANCE YOURSELF
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