Although there are limitations to the use of geolocation technology in medical settings, patients and physicians can benefit from the technology, American Medical News reports.
Geolocation services enable users to virtually "check in" to various locations, notifying others of their whereabouts. Individuals are using tools like Google Places, Facebook Places and Foursquare to voluntarily check in to locations.
While geolocation can be an effective promotional tool for some business owners, physicians should be careful about how they use the tool and information it contains, according to American Medical News.
Benefits of Geolocation Apps
Anthony LaFauce -- director of digital strategy for SpectrumScience, a health care public relations company -- said that pharmacies have used geolocation apps to promote flu shot services.
Geolocation apps also may prove helpful when searching for a new physician, according to Mark Scrimshire, director of Internet Channel Strategy at CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield.
According to Chris Boyer -- senior manager of digital communications at Falls Church, Va.-based Inova Health System -- every physician should check to see that information about their practice on geolocation services is accurate. Boyer said simply searching online for all the listings of a practice can help identify information, which could be found by users of geolocation applications.
In addition, experts say that physicians can use geolocation apps to check in for hospital rounds or in emergency response situations.
Experts say health care providers could face HIPAA privacy concerns if patients choose to share medical information.
Boyer added that medical practices that promote the use of geolocation apps could encourage unneeded repeat visits, which is not a good strategy (Dolan, American Medical News, 12/20).