Depending on your age, you may or may not remember the original Pokemon craze in the United States many years ago. Now, fast-forward to 2016 with the release of the Pokemon Go app for iOS and Android phones. With tens of millions of downloads in the U.S. in just the first few days since release, go to any shopping mall or college/university and you’ll see dozens of smartphone users running around trying to “catch em all”.  The augmented reality game is a real and virtual world treasure hunt, and has inspired millions of players to search for Pokemon characters in actual physical locations around them.  

Online Medical Calculators for Pokemon Go

With all of these people running around with their phones out staring at their screens, the number of injuries is on rise. Already, primary care offices, emergency rooms, and urgent care doctors are seeing these smartphone-game-related injuries such as cuts, bruises, and sprains, among other injuries. With the number of “sport” related injuries likely to be seen, physicians and other members of the healthcare team can utilize medical algorithms to evaluate the next step in management quickly.

  • Function and Prognostic Scores for a Patient with a Lateral Ankle SprainFunction and Prognostic Scores for a Patient with a Lateral Ankle Sprain
  • Decision Instrument for Evaluating Patient with Blunt Head TraumaDecision Instrument for Evaluating Patient with Blunt Head Trauma
  • Criteria for Performing CT Scan in Child After Head TraumaCriteria for Performing CT Scan in Child After Head Trauma

Additionally, as the game becomes more popular and patients are potentially exercising more, primary care providers can encourage safe game play and use algorithms to monitor exercise progress. By combining game play with wearables, target heart rate during exercise can be calculated from the user’s resting heart rate and age.   This measure can also be updated and adjusted as exercise is better tolerated and improved performance is achieved.  As patients become more physically fit, clinical medicine and athletic training can take fitness one step further.

One of the best predictors of cardiovascular fitness and maximal aerobic power is the measure of VO2 max (maximal oxygen uptake). This is measured using the Rockport Fitness Walking Test and was previously obtained in a controlled setting to ensure proper timing and heart rate measurements. Using data points from wearables, this measure of fitness can be calculated and then tracked over time with wearable tech combined with the appropriate algorithm.

Physicians are always looking for better ways to communicate and establish rapport with patients. Pokemon Go is a perfect example of a popular trend that not only is relatable to young patients, but also presents an opportunity to encourage patients to follow recommended lifestyle changes in the context of game play.  This example illustrates just one of the ways physicians can use algorithms to improve doctor-patient communication. Taking this one-step further, members of the healthcare team can use apps that encourage exercise to reduce the risks for diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. This really may allow doctors to “catch em all”.

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