The Disease Management Unit at The Alfred hospital in Melbourne, Australia has launched an iPhone app for machismo males who won't visit their doctors when disease symptoms arise. It's called "myHealthMate" and it allows men to learn about their symptoms...shhh... in secret.
myHealthMate iPhone app by The Alfred hospital, Melbourne, Australia: credit: Reuters/HANDOUT
"The Australian male's machismo prevents him from presenting early to the local doctor," Marco Bonollo, head of the Disease Management Unit, told Reuter's News. "So whereas our wives, girlfriends and partners have forged very strong relationships with general practitioners..., the Australian male is a notoriously late presenter, often ignoring cardinal symptoms such as chest pain."
I honestly doubt if Australian men are any worse about going to the doctor than other western men, but my information is totally anecdotal. It may just be that men, as a species, would rather go on with their lives and not know what's happening, or about to happen, in their bodies.
Nevertheless, myHealthMate is pretty cool. Once you've identified the area of the body affected on the touch screen, the app will take you to a screen so that you can refine what exactly is wrong with the area, and when that is narrowed down, you can obtain the appropriate advice from the application. If your ailment is serious or chronic, the app will link you to other websites where more specialized information is available. And yes, it tells you how much time you have left to get to a doctor, although in a less frightening way.
In his discussion with Reuters News, Bonollo went on to express his concern about men in Australia, who make up 60 percent of hospital admissions a year. He suggests they are ignoring public information on the importance of lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, and salt restriction. If these lifestyle changes are not made, Bonnollo warns, men are not going to be able to "avoid the tsunamis of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and sleep apnea."
Probably all men and women should make note of that.