Mobile development today is much more robust and feature-rich than it was 10 or 5 years ago as technology advances and adoptions now include over 75% of people in the U.S. owning at least a smartphone or some kind. It is constantly growing in scope as app development is encompassing a wide range of industries from gaming and entertainment to banking and Fintech. Healthcare is also an industry that is benefitting from mobile adoption, apps related to healthcare are varied and are useful for both patients and medical professionals alike.
For companies looking into creating healthcare-related products or alternative ways to treat patients, there are various software development services available that can make this happen. They are useful because of their experience working with different mobile platforms (from Android to iOS), development tools, and unique touch-based user interfaces (UI).
Reasons Why Mobile Makes Sense for Healthcare
Mobile apps are tailored for different needs within the healthcare industry. Some focus on patients and can be accessed by them. For instance, apps which work as prescription reminders. Meanwhile, others are meant for healthcare personnel. This includes apps helping medical care to run diagnosis or check image scans for injuries.
What makes mobile such a good platform for patients and the healthcare industry is that the apps are available 24/7 and at the tip of patients’ fingertips regardless of location. If the patient has a fever or migraine, for instance, they can check their vitals through mobile apps or look up some of their symptoms for quick remedies.
When using mobile healthcare apps, patients do not need to go to the doctor for every issue straight away. They can sometimes reach or contact a practitioner from within the app. If issues still arise, they can even make appointments from within the app as well and avoid making lengthy calls. In fact, some doctors have been offering patients remote care as a result.
Remote care is blossoming and in no small way thanks to mobile health. Patients and those seeking medical treatment can get it right away even if the clinic is closed or a physician is on vacation.
In fact, some say that “If you are unable to provide urgent patient care during emergencies or unable to track your patients’ health from any location at any time, then you are delivering an outdated healthcare experience.”
Using Mobile Portals for Check-Ups
A good way to introduce mobile healthcare management for your patients is to offer a portal that patients can access directly. This way they can schedule appointments, connect with a physician in practice or directly note down any changes in how they feel.
Such portals are like windows into patients’ profiles and a way to also remind them of tasks like taking their daily medications or exercising at certain times of the day. They can also remind them of what not to do. An example would be the portal warning them not to eat certain foods or move certain parts of their body during exercises.
These reminders can even be used as push notifications that are much more effective than patients relying on their own memory or notes. The electronic health record (EHR) software, with their own portals, specialize in this task.
EHR Software and Patient Care
EHR software offers overall patient care in a digital form from records to various abilities and features. Some EHR solutions offer feature-rich mobile apps while others are much more limited when compared to the desktop experience.
Besides portals, another one of EHR software features is the ability for doctors to create and manage digital patient charts. Thus, instead of creating charts for each individual patient before visits, doctors can do it through their mobile devices and from any location.
Unlike traditional charts, doctors using mobile charts do not have to fill out all of the information from scratch related to patients. The mobile charts keep the records digitally and update certain information automatically. Another side benefit of using mobile and digital charts is the search function allowing doctors to look up patients’ histories and other diagnoses.
EHR apps also allow doctors to create ePrescriptions for patients. What this means is that physicians can send prescriptions to pharmacies digitally through their mobile phones rather than have to call the pharmacy in person.
Finally, EHR apps with good mobile implementations offer doctors the ability to take scans or images of the patient. This will be automatically saved into the patient’s history and you can bring it up anytime during or in-between visits. This way you will be reminded of the actual issue and can compare results over time to see if the patient’s vitals are progressing over time.
Other Apps to Consider
When we consider the entire mobile ecosystem, there are a wide range of apps that can be considered health apps or others that fall within the medical field. Some of these apps do not require clinical care at all and are useful for things like fact-checking or reference checking instead.
PePid is a support or reference app that can be useful for healthcare professionals and medical students alike. The app offers profiles of different diseases you can look up alongside the symptoms. It also offers a symptom checker features for quick diagnosis before getting a second or professional opinion.
An example of an app that can help people suffering from mental health, like depression, but who do not feel they are ready for clinical care is Talkspace. It allows people suffering from mental health issues to use the app and speak with professionals from the comfort of their house.
Apps like PePid and Talkspace are great examples of the potential for healthcare within the mobile ecosystem. They can offer you ideas of what can be done on the platform and improve the lives of patients, doctors and anyone looking to stay healthy.
Health Tracking Mobile Apps Offer Preventive Care Benefits
Preventive care is often easier said than done. Many of us forget our physician’s advice and need to be reminded of the fact we should exercise an hour daily or take our vitamins in the morning. We also need that bit of encouragement seeing results first-hand overtime to keep going on the right path.
Mobile apps can be used for this purpose as they can remind us to live a healthy lifestyle.
Some examples of this are various smartwatch apps that track calorie intake during meals or during an entire day in addition to calories burned during specific exercises. This can keep people in shape, helping them reach their ideal weight level and may be a good solution for preventive care when it comes to diseases like diabetes. There are even sugar intake tracking apps that can be used in conjunction with calorie intake tracking apps for this task and general health tracking.
Another example of such apps is related to sleep. Many people do not get the right amount of sleep during the night or turn and wiggle during their sleep. There is an optimal amount, which usually falls in the six-to-eight hour range, and sleep tracking apps can be used to ensure you do not undersleep or oversleep during the night. Some of them can even measure various patterns of your sleep to make sure you fall into a deep sleep.
The Apple Watch shows the potential of these gadgets for health and preventive care. The latest versions of the watch offers a feature called fall detection.
This can help in situations where an elderly person falls down or hurts themselves and remains unresponsive for a period of time. The Apple Watch can read this fall and unresponsiveness and will make an emergency contact automatically during these situations if the feature is enabled.
The Right UX Can Make All the Difference
The mobile UI is part of the overall mobile user experience (UX). Companies with knowledge about what makes good UX for mobile can make all the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful mobile app. Mobile development also requires a specific effort to make existing desktop apps work well with the UI and overall UX for a wide range of users.
The mobile user experience (UX) has to be tailored to the platform. For instance, the touch interface should be useful to switch between diagnosis and charts. It could also be useful to examine images of injuries by moving the image around and rotating it.
Many development services today specialize in mobile just as much as desktop software. They know what a successful mobile UX entails, particularly with the touch-based user interface (UI). This is especially important when it comes to medical apps and health since users need to be motivated to open the apps and feel comfortable using them on a daily basis.
The mobile industry is ripe with innovation when it comes to health care and there are apps that tailor to smartphones, tablets and smartwatches. Many apps are also cross-compatible or available on all of these devices. As more doctors embrace mobile, healthcare will become less time and location restrictive. Over time, it will also become more preventive in nature.