Mobile apps have revolutionised how people interact with each other, from social media to job hunting and even dating. With mobile technology constantly proliferating, opportunities for healthcare apps to better communicate between doctors and patients are multiplying each day. Within the following blog we’ve filtered down our top three benefits of healthcare mobile apps in 2017 to provide you with a lowdown on why this is such a hot space to be in.
According to a study by Accenture, 66 of the 100 largest U.S. hospitals offer consumer mobile apps whilst only about two percent of patients are using them. A further study by ITOnline showed two thirds of Americans have also started to favour digital health management rather than physical health management, which has been fostered by the growing diversity within the mobile app and wearable market. These two stats alone suggest a big gap in the mHealth market which is ready to revolutionise the increasingly overburdened industry.
The Benefits of mHealth Apps
mHeatlh apps on mobile devices provide benefits to patients and providers alike. Ranging from delivering information on diseases and conditions to keeping your doctor up to date on your healthcare concerns. Here are the top 3 benefits we have identified from a review of the market where cutting edge apps are having huge impacts:
1) Ease of Communication
Perhaps it goes without saying that clear communication between doctor and patient is integral to providing the best quality treatment. mHealth apps like ZocDoc make it as simple for a patient to message a potential doctor as it is to ask a business its hours on Facebook. From the provider’s end, these kinds of healthcare apps make it possible to send important medical information to their patients faster.
An added benefit to keeping your health information on an app is the ability to contact your doctor exactly when you experience a concerning symptom or think of a question rather than failing to mention it at your visit. Who hasn’t left a doctor’s appointment only to smack yourself in the forehead for forgetting to mention that weird thing on your leg?
A niche category of mHealth apps even allow providers like physical therapists to send a set of exercises and instructions to their patient’s phone or tablet. Rather than a paper copy that would likely be instantly lost, these apps can go as far as to display animations and speak aloud instructions to help guide a patient through their at-home physical therapy routine.
2) Taking Care of Yourself
In addition to assisting communication with doctors, health tracking apps also allow for better communication with yourself. We all tell ourselves we walked ‘a ton’ and ate ‘so little’ but apps that track objective quantitative data don’t lie — they tell you exactly how few steps you walked and how many calories you ate.
Many available health and fitness apps exist to help you live a healthier lifestyle, with our without an expensive wearable. mHealth apps like MyFitnessPal allow you to track your food intake, and their companion apps MapMyWalk and MapMyRun track the miles you’ve travelled and the calories you burned. There are loads of running apps out there to choose from! Apps that track your fitness allow you to truly see how you are taking care of yourself.
mHealth apps for pregnant women and new parents are also gaining in popularity. Maternity apps range from those that track weight and baby bump circumference to uncomplicated timers to measure the length of time between contractions. These types of health tracking apps help expectant mothers care for themselves and their unborn child.
Many new apps are popping up for tracking medications. Perhaps the most obvious application for these kinds of healthcare apps is to help the elderly or others suffering from serious conditions requiring many medications in varying doses, each on their own schedule. But these kinds of medication trackers have wider applications. The spacey teen who struggles to remember to take their daily AD(H)D medication or the average woman who needs to take their birth control at the same time every day.
These medication tracking healthcare apps also offer easy ways to refill prescriptions that are easy as responding to a text message. Depending on the app and your pharmacy, some even include the option to have your prescriptions delivered to your door. No more standing in line and waiting for the pharmacist to awkwardly whisper across the counter, “Here’s your prescription strength foot cream, madam.”
3) All That Medical Paperwork
As the world around us becomes more and more digitised, mHealth apps can improve things in our current healthcare system that are a hassle to individuals. Everyone who has been to a doctor knows the pain of waiting in line to check in only to be handed a clipboard of paperwork that you’ve likely filled out ten to twenty times at different offices. mHealth apps like ZocDoc offer patients a way to fill out these forms on their phone before arriving at their appointment, negating the pain of listing your family medical history at every new appointment.
For doctors too, healthcare apps help cut down on paperwork. Many doctor’s already use computers to take notes during a patient’s visit, and in conjunction with a healthcare app, these notes can be sent to a patient’s phone before they’re even out the door.
mHealth apps allow for those on both sides of the equation to easily view the history of a patient’s visits with a particular doctor. It’s as easy as scrolling back through a Twitter feed. For parents wanting to keep an eye on their child’s height and weight percentiles, the charts that were once only visible in a doctor’s file are now easy to pull up at any time of day. Patients moving to a new city and a new provider can quickly find their history with a particular condition or medication and easily answer questions for a new doctor. No more waiting for paper files to be faxed from office to office because it isn’t 1990 anymore.
mHealth apps: A multibillion-dollar industry!
As the number of people relying on healthcare apps rapidly increases, so does the market potential. According to mhealthintelligence.com, the mHealth global market is expected to grow to approximately $49.12 billion by 2020.
Between the Google Play and Apple App Stores, there are more than 97,000 health and fitness related apps being used all around the world. Estimates show that these apps are downloaded more than 4 million times a day!
This year it’s estimated that nearly 50% of smartphone owners around the globe will have downloaded a healthcare or fitness app. Amongst the thousands of similar apps currently available, exercise and weight loss apps are consistently the most popular. As more people become aware of the way proper eating habits and exercise affect their health, they are reaching out to affordable alternatives to expensive professional trainers and nutritionists. Free and low-cost healthcare apps fill this gap and offer an accessible way for the average person to reach their health goals.
Creating a mHealth App
The healthcare app industry is booming and is projected to only get better with time. If you’ve been considering creating your own health or fitness app, the time to capitalise on this market is now.
At Zudu, we have experience designing and building healthcare apps for the NHS that provide people with medical information, apps to assist adults with learning disabilities, and even apps for condom distribution. If you want to find out more about any of the services we offer feel free to get in touch.