July 28, 2022
By: John Tomblin, Senior Solutions Architect
PhoenixBizz, a division of Sofvue, LLC
Printed with permission of Sofvue, LLC and the author
There are some that now argue that the growth in healthcare is not only the result of an aging US population, but also the result of explosive growth from mobile technologies that facilitate and expand healthcare services in general. From increased efficiency to reducing costs, coupled with the ability to put phones in virtually every pocket, the benefits of developing a mobile app for your healthcare business are enormous.
Mobile apps are available in a wide array of healthcare related sectors, including apps supporting medical professionals, patients, and caregivers that help improve quality of care and better patient outcomes, but mobile apps are now entering the marketplace used for health research and clinical trials to streamline processes, reduce costs and increase participation. As the use of mobile devices continues to expand, so too will the use of mHealth apps in various sectors of the healthcare industry.
1- Monitoring Health Conditions
The market for health apps is growing at an incredible rate, with more than 86.3 million mobile app users across the nation. As a result, mobile apps are designed and developed to provide better health condition monitoring, which can not only help improve the overall health of a patient, but also save time and costs for small medical practices.
There are numerous types of apps that can be used to monitor various aspects of the human body. Some of the more popular apps include:
- Blood pressure monitoring apps that allow patients to track their blood pressure over time, potentially identifying any spikes or drops that could indicate a problem. This could be particularly useful for those diagnosed with high blood pressure or prehypertension.
- Heart rate monitoring apps that allow patients to monitor their heart rate throughout the day and night, showing how much exercise is necessary to maintain good cardiac health.
- Weight loss/gain tracking apps allows users to take photos of their meals which are then analyzed by nutritionists at the company or through artificial intelligence. As a result, patients know exactly how many calories they should be consuming each day. This level of detail makes it easier than ever before for patients to lose weight and keep it off!
2- Managing Prescription Reminders
As healthcare evolves, it is now possible to manage patients health condition using mobile apps. To this end, the apps can:
- Remind patients when to take their medications
- Send reminders to patients to follow their doctor’s orders
- Remind patients about exercise and diet
- Send reminders for additional tests or checkups
- Remind patients of upcoming appointments
- Even tell a medical professional if a patient has or has not taken their medications using RFID technology.
3- Patient Engagement and Education
Patient engagement and education are other areas where mobile apps play a key role. Apps can help patients better manage their health by providing information about their condition and steps to improve it.
They can also be used as an educational tool for patients. For instance, patients can read medical and evidence-based resources on various topics such as their medical conditions, medication dosages & interactions, dieting tips, and exercise regimens.
4- Electronic Health Records (EHR’s)
With the passage of the HITECH Act in 2014, Electronic Health Records (EHR’s) became a mandatory part of life, forcing all medical practitioners in the US to track patient history information using an EHR. As a result, EHR’s have forever changed the way medical practitioners work. Doctors can now access records from other medical providers, allowing them to learn more about their patients and collaborate with other doctors on treatment plans. Patients can also view their own medical history in one place, making it easier for them to understand treatments and communicate with physicians.
EHR’s have also had an impact in medical research, allowing researchers to analyze data recorded in EHR’s using big data models to identify trends that could improve care for patients across broader spectrums.
Additionally, EHR’s allow insurance companies to gather information about how much different treatments cost, which treatments are the most cost-efficient, as well as help consumers choose health plans or look at out-of-pocket costs during a deductible period.
5- Managing Hospital Operations
As technology advances, mobile apps are also being used to manage hospital operations and improve patient care.
Hospitals and clinics are now using mobile apps to monitor their patients’ health conditions, keep track of medical appointments, and communicate with patients remotely. They can also access information about prescription drugs that patients may be taking and track prescriptions that need refills at pharmacies.
Mobile apps also help make healthcare providers more efficient in the workplace by reducing paperwork and lowering administrative overhead, with apps designed to include advanced security measures to keep patient data safe and secure.
Telemedicine is a term that refers to the use of information technology to provide medical services, such as diagnosis and treatment, at a distance. Telemedicine is often used in rural areas where hospitals are far away, or healthcare professionals may not be readily available.
Mobile apps make it easy to find and communicate with a doctor over chat, audio, and/or video. In fact, remote video consultation experienced a huge surge in use during the pandemic of 2019-2021. These apps facilitate better and more affordable healthcare, especially in rural areas where it can be difficult to access medical care.
In some cases, these apps are utilized by patients who cannot leave their homes or cannot travel to a doctor's office (for example, if you live in Los Angeles but need follow-up care from a specialist you had to use in Phoenix).
Telemedicine has become increasingly more popular with both patients and healthcare professionals since it provides access to care for people living in remote locations and those who cannot travel easily due to physical disabilities, or other reasons.
7- Online Second Opinions
Online second opinions are a helpful way to understand how serious a condition is. Doctors who specialize in diagnosing certain types of medical conditions can consult with other doctors who might have more detailed advice on what treatment options are available, or the pros and cons of current treatments.
Online second opinions are not only available for doctor-to-doctor, but patient-to-doctor, where a patient solicits a second opinion from another doctor or medical professional. These second opinions are often available 24-7 on a mobile device or computer, so there's no need to spend time waiting around at a doctor's office or clinic. Additionally, many of these apps provide patients with the ability to schedule an appointment with another physician who might otherwise not be available for a few weeks, or even a few months.
The convenience factor makes this ideal for those living far away from medical professionals that could help them with their own symptoms or treatments (or those who are bedridden and cannot leave their home).
8- Medical Research and Clinical Trials
Clinical trials exist to test new drugs, devices, and procedures. They provide the foundation for developing new treatments by providing evidence that they're safe and effective, and once proven effective, are submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for federal approval. Using mobile technology, trials can be performed with fewer barriers. Where before a trial might not be possible (due to lack of test subjects, or unavailable test subjects), mobile apps pave the way for clinical trials to occur, making it easier for people to participate from home instead of traveling to a clinic or hospital for appointments.
Mobile apps are transforming the healthcare industry in many positive, meaningful ways, making it easier for patients to manage their healthcare, while simultaneously helping to lower medical care costs. Many of these apps also helping hospitals improve operations and deliver better care.
Mobile apps are transforming healthcare in more ways than we can imagine. We receive calls consistently for mobile projects in the medical space. In fact, we’ve recently completed a mobile project for a medical company serving the USAF. If you are considering a mobile mHealth app solution for your company, and looking for advice on how to proceed, along with the needed steps to succeed, contact PhoenixBizz in Phoenix at 623-845-2747