Entitled “The 7 iPhone Apps I’d Like To See,” Sack’s app ideas range from one which sends a phony page and thus helps doctors get the hell away from annoying patients who monopolize their time, to one that translates ePocrates-described drug side effects into patient speak, to my personal favorite, one that helps doctors connect with each other by phone in perfect unison without having to play the game of “who gets on the call first,” thus rendering each equally important in their own minds.
It occurs to me that there are a number of equally compelling apps that should be created for patients who must deal with that 50% of doctors who are, by definition, worse than average at patient engagement. In the same tongue-in-cheek spirit as Dr. Sack, and in a never-ending quest to foster better-functioning healthcare consumers, I offer you my list of the 8 iPhone apps I’d like to see someone develop for patients (ok, my many doctor friends, take a deep breath and smile; it’s just a joke….sort of):
1) iCanHearYouNow–this app will send out an interference signal that, for 15 minutes, blocks doctors’ ability to pre-judge your diagnosis and then zone out to think about golf or their stock portfolio; it effectively renders them incapable of doing anything other than actually paying attention to you while you explain your symptoms and concerns.
2) iTestLess–this app will apply a subtle electric shock to physicians when they attempt to order unnecessary medical tests when they could have pretty easily looked at the test results the patient already has, or when they are prescribing tests for those who obviously do not need them. It will also apply a stronger taser-like shock to physicians who prescribe unnecessary tests that provide nothing but personal financial benefit. Due to its widespread application in a post-health reform world, health insurers will provide this app for free to members.
3) SayWhat?– this app will translate medical after-care instructions into English, Spanish or another language spoken by humans so patients will actually understand how to follow the at-home care directions provided by rushed physicians and nurses. The SayWhatPro edition, extra $.99, will also render the type on the pill bottle large enough for an actual person to read.
4) BackAtcha–this app will cause physicians to personally experience every major, highly likely negative side effect of a procedure or drug that they don’t bother to tell patients they should expect.
5) CallMeMaybe–this app will send physicians and nurses an increasingly annoying alarm, reminiscent of the song “Call Me Maybe,” which grows more frequent and deafening for every day late after the day promised that test results are not provided by telephone to patients.
6) PimpMyWaitingRoom–an entertainment app that magically turns what you know is in all physician waiting rooms–2007 issues of Good Houseeping, Cat Fancy and Car and Driver Magazines– into current copies of People, Sports Illustrated and 50 Shades of Grey.
7) We’reSquare–A financial app that automatically deducts the equivalent value of one BMW car payment from a physicians’s personal bank account every time he or she tells you they don’t know what a procedure might cost, but don’t worry, you’re insurance will “likely” cover it.
And of course, the one destined for the most downloads…..
8) iCoverYourAss–an app which, when deployed, extends the fabric width on an examining room gown by a full 12 additional inches to provide the modest patient a way to, well, cover their ass.