Apple Invades Chiropractic

:dropcap_open:I:dropcap_close:t seems commonplace when we hear of yet another scenario where Apple has disrupted the status quo, redefined expectations, or created an entirely new industry. And chiropractic is no exception. From consumer-focused to EHR-integrated applications, Apple has indeed arrived. 
appleipadWhile the number of applications available at Apple’s App Store is in constant flux, a recent search revealed 111 results using the search term “chiropractic.” An additional 14 search results show up for the term “chiropractor.”
There are essentially two types of apps as they relate to the chiropractic profession: patient apps and apps for use by chiropractors.  That number is sure to grow as the market develops, and providers continue to create new apps which make the world easier to interact with for Apple users.
Patient apps
Patient-focused apps in the App Store generally provide users with information on how to maintain good posture and spinal health. Some apps provide search capabilities for finding chiropractors in the local area.
A good example of a patient-focused iOS app is MySpine by Hubbard Chiropractic Inc. The application broke into the Top 40 rankings for the Health & Fitness category at the App Store. 
MySpine allows users to learn about proper spine alignment, health and chiropractic. Features include an interactive spine display with a rotatable 3D image that shows nervous system connections from vertebrae to organ.
The app also includes a Vertebral Subluxation Chart of Affects that displays symptoms in the affected areas of the body. Users can view high-definition images and they can browse through a collection of informational videos, FAQs and a reference guide/glossary. 
MySpine also provides a guide on the symptoms to look for that tell patients it is time to see a chiropractic doctor. 

The iChiro app by Textmimedia is a free application with a 4+ rating in the App Store. The software program provides users with a wide range of stretches and exercises aimed at improving health and posture. 
Users can use their Apple device camera to check their posture and track improvement over time. The app also includes advice on chiropractic health and a directory that allows users to find chiropractors in their area. 
Chiropractor Apps
Chiropractors use existing apps or create their own apps for a variety of reasons. Devices such as iPhone and iPad are extremely popular and they have advantages over desktops and even laptops when in the clinic, giving the doctor the freedom that comes with having access to information wherever they are in their practice.
Apps for use by chiropractors are scarce, but one EHR company, ChiroTouch, does have a robust offering, with fully-integrated iPad apps for use with its total practice management system. 
The EHR-integrated apps from ChiroTouch integrate its server-based, desktop system with the lighter, ultra-portable iPad. The apps simplify the process of medical office management and make it easy for staff and patients to deal with medical records.
For example, the ChiroTouch CTintake App for the iPad allows patients to use the intuitive iPad interface to fill out patient intake forms while in the waiting room. The devices are much easier to use than desktops that require extra furniture for the monitors, towers and other equipment.

ChiroTouch’s Outcomes Assessment App for the iPad, CToutcomes, allows chiropractors to record patient health data through a series of questions. The data collection is recorded in real-time with the practice’s servers, where the ChiroTouch software can then generate reports automatically, allowing the chiropractor to build narratives based on stored information
ChiroTouch has recently launched its third iPad app, CTprovider, which is fully integrated with the ChiroTouch Provider All-in-One feature. This app gives doctors instant access to treatment plans, SOAP notes, and x-rays, among other features. And like the other ChiroTouch apps, information exchange between the iPad and the ChiroTouch system is both seamless and instantaneous – making it easy for doctors to operate their practice from literally anywhere they have an Internet connection.
One advantage of the App Store is that many of the chiropractic apps are available for free download. ChiroTouch apps are all free; however, users must first own the ChiroTouch total practice management system to take advantage of the power the apps bring to a practice.
Another example of a popular chiropractic app is PostureScreen Mobile from PostureCo, Inc. Recently identified as a must-download app by both GQ Australia and Details Magazine, this app is geared for chiropractors and priced at $9.99. PostureScreen Mobile helps users analyze a patient’s posture using an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. Once demographic info is obtained, the postural photo can be obtained and digitized using patent pending technology ensuring reliability and validity.
:dropcap_open:Apps for use by chiropractors are scarce, but one EHR company, ChiroTouch, does have a robust offering, with fully- integrated iPad apps for use with its total practice management system.:quoteleft_close:
Once the patient’s posture is digitized, posture analysis reports can be generated in seconds and even delivered securely and password encrypted to the patient via email.  With an in-app module upgrade, follow up comparative analysis can be performed along with posture trend analysis documentation. Further powerful upgrades are a min history stress survey and demographic export to Excel. The app can even connect to large TVs through an HDMI connection or Apple’s wireless AirPlay.
The application is fully integrated with the free DropBox service, which allows seamless wireless syncing of your reports and analyzed posture images to any Windows or Mac computer for ease of importing to your current EHR system. And with the recent addition of WebExercises integration, doctors can prescribe corrective postural-based structural and functional exercises in seconds.  Once exercises are prescribed, they can be sent to a patient through a secure web portal, delivering patient-specific customized exercise instructions with color pictures and streaming tutorial videos.

Marketing Apps
Many chiropractors have applications custom made for iOS devices to help prospective patients find them on the Internet. These apps may provide basic information on the principles of chiropractic and the types of treatment available. 
Many apps allow users to schedule appointments with nothing more than a click using Apple mobile devices at home or in the office, or while on the road.
One popular marketing technique is to create applications that integrate with popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube. Social media is growing at an extremely rapid rate, with the largest sites attracting hundreds of millions of users. Nearly all of these sites allow mobile access using Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
By creating a presence on social media platforms, chiropractors can take advantage of the popular practice of sharing and referral on these networking sites. A chiropractic office can post regular updates on their social media pages providing others in their online community with news and information related to chiropractic health.
Designing a custom app
While it may seem like a daunting task to develop an app for the App Store, the process is much simpler than many chiropractors realize. While it is most common to hire a professional developer to create an app, it is possible to do the job without knowing anything about Apple coding.
Special software applications provide highly intuitive and easy-to-use interfaces that allow you to design apps without any programming knowledge or training. These software solutions are generally of the “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” variety in that you can create an app simply by dragging, dropping, selecting and clicking.
Even for those chiropractors that are less enthusiastic about taking on app development on their own, it is relatively easy to find freelance software developers willing to bid on the project. Websites like Monster, Elance, Guru and Odesk have long listings of freelance developers looking for work. These sites allow users to post requests for proposals (RFPs) on any app development project. Bidding is competitive, helping to keep prices low.
Make no mistake, chiropractic apps are changing the way chiropractors do business, and the way they interact with patients. With the explosive use of mobile devices for Internet access, chiropractors empowered with iOS apps are in a better position to take advantage of a demographic that, with each passing day, is coming to expect mobile technology in their every interaction.
And those chiropractors looking to streamline their practices, make a positive impression on their patients, and embrace the power of mobility would be wise to jump on the iPad bandwagon.
Not convinced of the difference the iPad will have on our industry? Well neither were the recording industry, the phone industry, the movie industry, the medical device industry, the video game industry, the digital camera industry…just to name a few.
Cupertino isn’t coming to chiropractic – it’s already here.  The only question is when – not if – you adjust for it.

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