As the demand for mobility, patient engagement and cost-effective healthcare solutions for both patients and physicians grow, so does the number of mobile apps available for patients, healthcare providers, and physicians. Currently, there are more or less 97,000 health and fitness mobile apps available for download. According to the Journal of Medical Internet Research, medical apps will see a 41% compounded annual growth rate between 2015 and 2020. Experts are also predicting that the growth of mHealth will rise to around $60 billion by 2020.
Medical mobile apps are not just designed to transform the way patients connect with their physicians and how physicians deliver timely and relevant care to their patients. They also encourage users to proactively take better care of their health. Fitness apps are more popular than ever and most of them offer enticing rewards to people who are hitting the required daily activities such as step count or calorie intake. Here are some of the ways that mobile apps are changing the face of healthcare:
1. They provide easier access to patients’ or users’ data.
A decade ago, it would take some time before physicians can get their patients’ information because they have to sift through their medical files. Now, it is possible to do so by tapping a few buttons on their phones. As physicians battle against a growing number of patients, they try to make better use of their time by utilizing mobile apps. These apps are time savers because they provide detailed insights about patients and users.
The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health also reveals that apart from health record maintenance and access, healthcare professionals are using medical mobile apps for administration, communications and consulting, reference and information gathering, and medical education.
2. They empower physicians to make better decisions
Medical mobile apps could be physicians’ greatest assets when it comes to accessing evidence-based information and supporting clinical decisions. Apart from providing massive data to physicians to help them better understand their patients’ health, there are also medical mobile apps that serve as a huge collection of medical references. These references are used in disease diagnosis and treatment.
Other topics such as the prevention of infectious diseases and pathogens can also be accessed real time. Through medical apps, physicians can scroll through topics that are relevant to their patients’ current medical needs.
3. Mobile apps make healthcare available to those who need it when they need it.
The ugly truth about the US healthcare system is that those that need medical attention are forced to wait until the long queues of patients are finally attended to. Healthcare mobile apps that allow telehealth are the solution. Through these apps, even those that are out of the country can book an appointment with their physicians and talk to them via video call.
Older patients that can no longer travel can still be cared for and monitored using reliable healthcare mobile apps. There are a lot of healthcare apps that use AI and machine learning to identify patterns and data that could help uncover the need for immediate medical attention.
When risks are identified, mobile healthcare apps can send notifications that will alert the patient’s carer or his or her relatives. This feature has the potential to save lives and prevent patients from suffering from complications caused by a delay in receiving medical attention.
4. They offer more cost-effective healthcare solutions
A 2012 report by the National Academy of Medicine reveals that the US healthcare system wastes $765 billion annually on unnecessary or needlessly expensive care. This is where medical mobile apps come into the picture.
Healthcare mobile apps have the ability to provide physicians better information that allows them to make the right recommendations concerning appropriate scans or tests, decreasing unnecessary procedures and reducing the cost of care.
And although physicians discourage self-medication, patients are provided an option to look for alternative diagnoses using medical apps. Some apps can make recommendations about whether or not hospital admission or clinical visit are necessary based on the symptoms exhibited by the patient. There are also apps that can be used to conduct simple examinations for blood pressure, color blindness, heart murmurs, and even to detect pregnancy.
5. Medical mobile apps improve patient outcome
Most patients don’t remember half of what they were told to do by the time they leave their physicians’ offices or reach the car park. According to Jeff Harper, CEO of Duet Health, “uneducated patients have a significant impact on outcomes, readmission rates, satisfaction, and other critical success factors.”
With medical mobile apps, patients are given the chance to go back and review their physicians’ orders and educate themselves about proper time for medication and other specific instructions provided by their doctors. And because healthcare mobile apps provide real-time communication between app users (who are essentially, patients) and physicians, it is a lot easier to ask questions to physicians and clarify details of their diagnosis and treatment.
As one of the central pillars of healthcare quality, physicians and healthcare providers are really putting their effort towards improving their patients’ overall satisfaction for the care they received. Mobile healthcare apps play a huge role in making it happen. From providing notifications for their medication, booking an appointment with healthcare practitioners, to monitoring diet and lifestyle patterns, mobile apps prove to be useful and efficient.
Healthcare mobile apps are still evolving and in the future, they may be able to perform more functions that could further revolutionize the healthcare sector. One thing is for sure, the adoption rates for mobile healthcare apps are still growing.