There’s a new trend in Australia’s healthcare sector that could see cases of medical negligence climb in the coming years.
In 2014, there’s pretty much an app for everything.
If you need some parenting advice, for example, try Parenting Ages and Stages, developed by The Zumobi Network. This app provides users with advice for parenting every age group, from newborns to to school-age children. If you customise it by entering your children’s birthdays, it will offer you tailored information on “child development and parenting milestones”.
Those looking to boost productivity can benefit from a range of to-do list apps.
Carrot, marketed as a to-do list app with “personality”, allows you to not only keep track of what tasks you need to perform, but also provides you with the motivation to do them. It rewards you when you check tasks off your to-do list, and gets angry when you don’t!
And, of course, there are numerous time-wasting apps, such as Candy Crush Saga and Draw Something, that are helping people all over the world to wile away the hours.
So, it’s hardly surprising a range of apps have been developed specifically for the healthcare sector. The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported earlier this year that quite a few apps had been launched to assist surgeons and other healthcare professionals conduct their everyday duties.
One app the SMH article highlighted is called Touch Surgery. This was developed by surgeons, for surgeons, and features an extensive list of training and resource tools for tech-savvy healthcare professionals. It includes a Touch Surgery Simulator, which allows surgeons to practise and repractise procedures without having to come anywhere near a real patient.
There’s also the Surgical Risk Calculator. This state-of-the-art app developed by the American College of Surgeons allows users to put their patients’ details into it, and provides them with an estimate of how likely their surgery is to be a success.
The American College of Surgeons is adamant the Surgical Risk Calculator should be used to complement, rather than replace, advice from healthcare professionals, as it only takes “certain information” into account.
A study conducted by researchers at Melbourne’s Monash University has revealed there are a number of risks associated with using such apps, and it could lead to misdiagnosis and other errors. It may also impact who medical negligence claims are targeted at in future – the surgeons themselves, or the app developers?