Nurse, the screen...
Android App of the Week Welcome to the Age of the Weak. Got a sniffle? It’s Bird Flu not a cold. Don’t want to get out of bed in the morning? You're not workshy, you've got SAD.
To combat this pathetic malingering - or at least to stop it jamming up GPs' switchboards - NHS Direct is now available on an Android - iOS too - smartphone near you.
Now, what seems to be the trouble?
It gives you mobile access to the symptom checker that appears on the existing NHS Direct website.
Diagnosis starts from a basic set of problems such as abdominal pain, mental health or bites & stings. There are also sections for male and female sexual health problems - which, I suspect, will be the most commonly consulted.
Move further into each section and you will be asked for basic details such as the age and location of the patient. Further symptom-related questions are then posed with handy explanations along the way to avoid confusion. It's all straightforward and makes you wonder why GPs get paid so much.
Relax. I'll need some information first. Just the basic facts. Can you show me where it hurts?
At any time you can back-pedal through the diagnostic procedure in case you end up at a screen that says you’ve got less than an hour to live and decide you have been over-egging the pudding when it came to just how odd you feel.
Next page: The doctor will see you now
As a medical man myself, I can see this app becoming a royal pain in the ass for me. The problem with self diagnosis apps is that patients tend to treat multiple choice options like dishes in a restuarant:
"Let's see, have I got a headache....well, it feels a bit funny, so I'll say yes and my stomach feels queasy that had absolutely nothing to do with the raw 3 o'clock kebab last night, so that's another yes.....oooo, looks like I have bubonic plague, better go see the doctor..."
"No sir, you haven't got plague, you're just hungover."
"Worthless quack, this NHS DIrect app says I have plague."
"I see. Did the programmers do ten years of medical school?"
"No but it does have a very shiny interface."
A general comment about Android reviews
Can you put the link to the Android Market page for the app at the end of the reviews?
Many Android users (Unlike iPhone users (go on flame me)) remote-install apps via the website install button, this also helps if you are reading the article on your Android.
Medicine and IT support have so much in common:
I get friends come to me all the time with computer problems, and the discussion *always* goes thus:
Them: "I am but a poor, weak, worthless being who knows nothing about these computer thingies, will you take a look at this?"
Me: "Of course" <Fiddles> "Ah, OK, it's just such-and-such, I'll sort it now"
Them, suddenly gaining twenty years of IT experience and a hitherto unknown confidence in their capabilities: "Don't be bloody silly, you're wrong, how can you know that, my mate down the pub says it's *definitely* the Humpty Dumpy Virus, how can you be so stupid as to not agree with us?"
Me: "Piss off and never darken my doorstep again, you worthless idiot".
I'm rapidly running out of friends....
What a strange thing to say.....
***"As a medical man myself"***
What a strange thing to say. Why not just say "As a doctor, nurse, dentist, pedicurist"?
***""I see. Did the programmers do ten years of medical school?""***
No, I don't expect they have. Just like I'm not a rocket scientist, yet I write satellite tracking programs. I'm not a phlebotomist, yet I write software for managing blood transfusions. I'm not a cartographer, yet I write mapping applications.
And, I dare say, the people who wrote the software that runs all of the various electronic devices that patients rely on to keep them alive in intensive care didn't spend "10 years in medical school" either.
How do we it? Well, surprisingly, we work with people who *are* experts in their fields.
If it was so obvious why do I keep seeing lobster-red people sunbathing/topless come a sunny spell??
People need protecting from themselves and NHSdirect is a good first step.