Although telemedicine was already growing at an unprecedented rate pre-pandemic, there’s no denying that the past couple of years has sparked a revolution in healthcare. With more than 90,000 digital health apps released in the past year alone, and with consumers growing increasingly comfortable with managing their health from their phones, there are some great opportunities for healthcare organisations to build upon their work and revolutionise the way they deliver treatments to patients. Below, we’ve put together the ways in which apps are revolutionising the healthcare industry, and offer some tips on how you could benefit.
With millions of consumers in the UK investing in smartwatches from the likes of Apple, Fitbit and Garmin, it’s never been easier to monitor and improve your health from your wrist. Not only has the growth in wearables made consumers more conscious of their diets and activity levels, but it offers healthcare professionals access to more data than ever before about their patients. Custom healthcare apps can seamlessly integrate with wearable technology to collect data on consumers and tap into the excellent apps and services offered by the likes of Google and Apple. HealthKit on iOS, for example, allows developers to tap into the data collected by iPhones and Apple Watches for reporting and medical purposes, and because data is encrypted and stored locally on-device, many consumers have increased confidence in sharing their vital metrics with trusted health brands, doctors, and healthcare practitioners.
Some companies even reward patients for sharing data and looking after their bodies. Vitality, for example, offers users credits for every minute of exercise they complete each day, ‘gamifying’ the experience and incentivising their customers to be more active. There are lots of ways that you can use health and fitness data like resting heart rate, calories burned, and workout metrics to better serve your customers – it’s time to get imaginative.
Condition and symptom tracking
Whether you run a brick-and-mortar doctor’s surgery or you only offer healthcare services online, tracking and monitoring common health conditions in patients can be a challenge. Not only does it require regular check-ups and appointments, but patients invariably have questions about their conditions and need guidance and advice on managing symptoms and medication. Developing a dedicated app to support your patients could alleviate some of the pressures your healthcare facility is under and allow patients to self-diagnose problems and find solutions on their own terms. Granted, this won’t be possible for every health condition, but offering support through knowledge bases, videos, and chatbots can help you improve the service offered to patients and scale your healthcare business, whether local or global.
There are lots of features that you could implement into your app, from symptom tracking and the ability to measure and report pain intensity, as well as reminders on medication and supplements to ensure patients are following their recommended dosage. A nutrition section could be offered to allow customers to keep track of dietary restrictions and their daily intake, and you could integrate with third-party APIs like MyFitnessPal and Google Fit API to streamline data collection and ensure all of their metrics can be found in one dashboard.
What’s perhaps most interesting to note is that patients don’t always know how to communicate information about their condition to their doctor – developing a custom app helps break down this barrier, reduce back-and-forth, and allow doctors to identify issues and offer potential solutions virtually, which saves resources and could even save lives. Indeed, one report found that 77% of consumers thought healthcare technology had changed their behaviour at least moderately, with many changing diets and activity levels.
One of the biggest challenges in healthcare is building and maintaining patient trust, and by digitising some or all of your services, it’s natural for some consumers to feel like they’re losing that personal touch. Although many consumers still prefer to discuss health concerns face to face, new research has shown that consumers are more comfortable sharing personal health data than ever before, and some prefer virtual consultations altogether. Indeed, 40% of millennials said that a telemedicine option was “extremely or very important.”
The ability to share data from Apple Health and Google Fit with third parties means that users have full control over the data that is being gathered and how it’s shared and used. When developing your own healthcare app, it’s important that you’re clear on the data you’re collecting, how it’s being used, and how users can make changes. The more open and transparent you are, the more trust you’ll build with your userbase. Being able to offer users access to their medical history and reports can be useful and save hours of administration time, but it’s also important that data doesn’t enter into the wrong hands. Work with your developer to ensure all information is encrypted and insist on two-factor authentication or Face ID support to give patients peace of mind that personal sensitive information is safe.
Reduces wait times
Finally, developing a custom mobile application for a healthcare brand can reduce waiting times and help organisations deliver better services to patients. Indeed, doctors can view data and updates on patients in real-time before appointments are even scheduled, and integrating the ability to host video consultations from within the app can further streamline the process. The average video consultation on OneConsultation is 22 minutes, which is 7 minutes longer than the average in-person consultation – doctors can offer patients more ‘face time’ virtually, and cut back on administration as data is inputted live during a session.
Separate reports have found that telemedicine can save patients over 100 minutes of their time compared to an in-person visit, and telemedicine can reduce the costs of doctor visits by 10-15%. What’s more, 91% of patients say telemedicine helps them stick to appointments and follow wellness regimes more than in-person appointments, so it’s a win-win for all.
If you’re looking for help with software development for your healthcare business, reach out to the experienced team at Zudu today. We look forward to bringing your ideas to life soon.