With appointments scarce, more patients turning to DIY healthcare

As the pandemic made scheduling medical appointments harder and continued to strain an overburdened healthcare system, some patients are turning to do-it-yourself care at home, The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 11.

Patients are increasingly turning to home testing kits, gadgets and health monitoring apps to manage their health, track their blood sugar and cholesterol levels and even conducting electrocardiograms. 

Some physicians support patients taking responsibility for their own health, recognizing that in light of system strain and workforce challenges, patients might be able to accelerate whatever treatment might be necessary required to shoulder more work in order to resolve health issues. 

One nurse practitioner and owner of two New Hampshire-based family healthcare clinics, Wendy Wright, DNP, said her patient waiting list is more than 100 people. She tells her patients, "You are your first line of defense. We can diagnose and treat you, but it might not be in a timely manner," according to the Journal. She asks her patients to monitor their blood pressure and electrocardiograms and submit the results for her review, which speeds up the process compared with waiting for in-person visits. 

However, some clinicians advise against relying solely on self-monitoring, emphasizing that patients could miss larger problems, according to the report. Also, some medical professionals are unsure of the accuracy of some health monitoring devices, and accurately reading information tracked by such technology is not always straightforward.

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