3 MIN. READ
Several news stories have highlighted the life-saving potential of the Apple Watch, particularly its ability to spot irregular heart rhythms. As exciting as that technology is, the extensive power of apps lie in their ability to manage chronic conditions and everyday healthy lifestyle changes.
As the cost of smartphones declines, more people at all income levels are increasingly able to access the latest healthcare apps. In fact, ninety-six percent of the U.S. adult population has embraced mobile technology. People regularly use their mobile devices for entertainment, organization, and communication. With Americans already checking their phones 80 times per day, the use of mobile devices for holistic management of health and wellness is a logical extension of the technology ecosystem.
Solutions for tech-enabled health and wellness
An NIH study revealed that approximately 38% of mobile users without a chronic condition had between one and five healthcare apps. By using Design Thinking to make apps more user-friendly, it is possible to address the entire spectrum of patient communication, including notifications, information dissemination, provider feedback, reminders, and account management.
Positive behaviors and digital technology
To get the most out of healthcare apps, however, patients have to see their smartphones as more than simply communication devices. The best apps can actually influence behavior and lead to healthier lifestyles and positive outcomes. Providers, patients, and insurers benefit when individuals proactively manage their health and adhere to provider treatment plans.
Key measurements and reporting details can be captured quickly and efficiently via mobile apps. Some of the main benefits include:
- Monitoring – Apps can monitor stress indicators, heart rates, and the patient’s treatment plan progress.
- Reminders – Missed appointments can prove deadly for people with serious chronic conditions and create loss revenue and efficiency for healthcare organizations. A recent study found that patients with mental health problems experienced an 8x higher risk of mortality from simply missing two appointments per year. Skipping doses of medicine, which is often to save money, can also have dire consequences. To improve the effectiveness of reminders, some apps make use of both automated and live reminders from real people.
- Patient engagement – Apps can also deliver education, patient surveys, and topical and stimulating content, which helps patients stay engaged in their health and with their providers. Finding new ways, often via mobile apps or social media, to involve friends and family in the patient’s treatment or fitness regimen is another exciting new area to explore.
Designing any mobile app starts with a sound strategy and understanding the various types of end users and their behaviors and preferences. With healthcare apps, there are several additional layers, such as ensuring the app aligns with current best practices and regulations. Distilling that complexity into a highly functional, user-friendly app, these partners offer highly engaging technology to consumers:
- Medecision: The company needed to improve patient engagement and education across multiple devices. PointClear Solutions redesigned the user interface of the Consumer Care app to improve the experience for both patients and administrators. The redesigned app more effectively encourages patients to view educational videos, complete health assessments, and stick to treatment plans.
- St. Jude Medical (now a part of Abbott): The company wanted to streamline communication between patients and clinicians to help better manage congestive heart failure. The resulting mobile app syncs with St. Jude’s innovative heart failure monitor to keep clinicians informed about the patient’s condition and facilitates ongoing clinician/patient interaction.
With 96% of healthcare app users already reporting that the apps improve their lives, it’s clear that the market is hungry for new ways to improve health and care via mobile technology.
Whether you have an existing app that needs some TLC or a new concept, we can help you turn that idea into reality. Learn more about our design, development, strategy, and management services or contact us.