The Washington PostThe Washington Post

Apps want to be your new doctor’s office. Is that a good idea?

By Hannah Norman

15 Jan 2023 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

Would you trust your smartphone to diagnose a health condition that you may be suffering from? Well, this seems to be the aim of some apps. The Washington Post asks whether this is such a good idea.

The same devices used to take selfies are being repurposed and commercialized for quick access to information needed for monitoring patient health. A fingertip pressed against a phone’s camera lens can measure a heart rate. The microphone, kept by the bedside, can screen for sleep apnea.

In the best of this new world, the data is conveyed remotely to a medical professional for the convenience and comfort of the patient — all without the need for costly hardware.

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