Scotty can’t beam a doctor up to your door. But the advance in mobile health solutions has made getting fast care more convenient than ever. Addressing your health issues with a few taps on your smartphone is no longer science fiction.
The pandemic has accelerated the demand for mobile healthcare (mHealth.) The global mobile healthcare market will grow from $65.56 billion in 2021 to $83.71 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $250.50 billion in 2026 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31.53%.
Meanwhile, 75% of U.S. consumers say technology is important in managing their health, and almost 50% of patients prefer immediate, virtual appointments over in-person visits. More people are open to using smart technologies to inform their self-care processes, and 74% of users indicate that they’re happy with their virtual healthcare experiences.
Mobile apps aren’t just for patients and consumers. 80% of physicians use mobile devices to assist in day-to-day care delivery, and almost 93% believe that healthcare applications will improve patients’ health. There are many types of mobile healthcare applications to perform various functions, such as:
• Medical health tracking
• Appointment scheduling
• Clinical assistance
• Telehealth and teledentistry
• Health habit tracking
• Medical reference or database
• Remote examination via virtual reality (VR) devices
• Chronic condition monitoring
• Disease prevention and diagnosis
• Mental health support
• Diet tracking and meal planning
• Infectious disease tracing (e.g., COVID-19)
How Mobile Apps Are Improving the Healthcare Industry
Mobile apps are an essential component for delivering mobile and virtual care. Here are 8 ways they’re changing the healthcare industry:
1. Improve Treatment Outcomes With 24/7/365 Monitoring
We’re all familiar with fitness bands. They connect to our smartphones to track our activities (e.g., number of steps, quality of sleep, diet check, etc.) and even provide recommendations (e.g., give us a nudge to get up from our desks). But those are just the tip of the iceberg.
Wearable technologies can record patients’ blood pressure, glucose level, heart rate, and more. They allow doctors to monitor patients’ health status, see real-time updates on their electronic health records (EHRs,) offer round-the-clock remote support, and catch potential issues early to save lives.
2. Provide Immediate and Easy Access to Healthcare
Healthcare mobile apps allow patients to book an appointment with their providers and have the consultation from anywhere instead of taking half a day off their schedule for physical visits. Mobile apps also make it easier to get specialized care, especially for patients in rural areas.
Additionally, patients can use interactive mobile apps to ask general health-related questions and get their answers from doctors right away at any time without booking an appointment. The convenience makes care more accessible, improves treatment outcomes, and lowers the cost of care delivery.
3. Deliver a Streamlined and Secure Patient Experience
Mobile healthcare apps are HIPAA-compliant and follow strict data security protocols. They help providers deliver a secure patient experience to build trust while protecting patients’ sensitive information from malicious actors without compromising the quality of care.
Moreover, many mobile healthcare apps help streamline the logistics of getting care. For example, patients can fill out their paperwork via secure electronic forms to minimize errors and delays. They can also pay their bills online using secure payment methods via a DSS-PCI-compliant portal.
4. Facilitate the Delivery of Home Healthcare
Real-time technologies and smart at-home medical equipment allow patients to access services without staying in a hospital. The ability to receive home healthcare is particularly beneficial for the elderly, people with special needs or disabilities, and patients with chronic conditions that require ongoing care.
Meanwhile, electronic prescription services make it easy for patients to get medications without visiting a doctor’s office or even a pharmacy. Many mobile healthcare apps also make affordable medications more available to help reduce the financial burden on patients.
5. Reduce Medical Errors With Analytics and Reporting
Many mHealth applications incorporate advanced analytics and machine learning technologies to improve the quality of care. For example, an app can analyze the patient history to ensure that medication won’t cause adverse effects because of allergic reactions or drug interactions.
Information can be entered directly into the system, minimizing errors caused by transcribing (sometimes hard-to-decipher) handwriting. Additionally, analytics and reporting capabilities help reduce wrong diagnoses, increase efficiency, and allow patients to access their reports and health history in minutes.
6. Handle Medical Emergencies Promptly
Mobile health applications allow patients to get help as soon as an emergency arises. They can take the right actions promptly, which could literally make a life-or-death difference. Doctors can also access patients’ EHRs immediately to make accurate decisions and improve treatment outcomes.
Meanwhile, Software-as-a-Medical-Device (SaMD) allows providers the flexibility to respond to various medical scenarios without requiring dedicated hardware for each application. Mobile apps can also speed up documentation and treatment procedures in critical situations.
7. Improve Doctor-Patient Relationships For Better Care Outcomes
Mobile healthcare applications improve communication and cooperation between doctors and patients. They can discuss test results, new symptoms, health concerns, medications, and mental health issues more frequently to give the doctor a holistic view of patients and their conditions.
Healthcare apps make it easy for doctors to check in with patients via text and email and send reminders to ensure that they follow the recommendations. Doctors can also monitor medications’ side effects and provide real-time guidance to achieve the best treatment outcomes.
8. Increase the Operational Efficiency of Medical Facilities
Besides interacting with patients and delivering care, mobile healthcare solutions make managing healthcare facilities more cost-efficient. For instance, facility managers can monitor a building’s temperature, resource usage, and equipment from a central location and respond to changing needs via Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Additionally, hospital executives can get real-time reports on room availability, finances, and other logistical and operational metrics to make accurate and timely decisions. Meanwhile, providers can automate various paper processes (e.g., claim submission) to lower operating costs and reduce human errors.
How To Build an Effective Mobile Healthcare App
Mobile healthcare apps can bring many benefits to patients and providers. While patients can receive better care more conveniently, providers can deliver an outstanding patient experience to improve treatment outcomes, attract and retain more patients, streamline operations, and ultimately increase their profitability.
Like developing any mobile application, you must start with a sound product strategy based on a thorough understanding of your target audience and market demands. Consider the integrations you need to deliver a seamless experience, and don’t forget security controls to stay HIPAA compliant.
Also, evaluate how new technologies can add value to your mobile app. These can include AI and machine learning software, IoT devices, blockchain applications, big data analytics, and virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) devices.
Then, design the app and develop prototypes to test your ideas. A minimum viable product (MVP) can help validate your product idea and identify market needs. Also, you should have an audience and revenue model to ensure the long-term success of your product.
Ready to build your mobile healthcare app but wondering where to start? We can guide you through the entire process, from concept to execution. Get in touch to see how we can help.
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