Five million senior citizens in Japan will soon have access to iPads aimed at boosting their personal health and wellness thanks to a collaboration between IBM and Apple.
The mobile medical industry is developing rapidly around the world, especially in the emergence of specialized devices and applications. Remote monitoring and telemedicine, electronic patient cards, control over pregnancy, cardiac function, sleep and other vital processes are actively implemented in the healthcare industry today.
With mHealth (mobile health) it becomes easier for healthcare businesses to enhance the entire physician-patient experience. Not only does it free physicians from routine operations (e.g., filling of forms), and therefore allow them to spend more time on the diagnoses and treatments of their patients, but it also gives patients a more rapid and effective communication channel with medical staff. Additionally, mobile applications significantly reduce healthcare costs, while simultaneously improving the quality of services and treatments.
With the help of a mobile application healthcare businesses are able to achieve a number of goals, including:
- Increasing access to healthcare and health information.
- Improving chances for forehanded diagnostics, monitoring and the tracking of diseases.
- Providing useful information concerning the public health system.
- Enhancing the patient-doctor experience and thus increasing patient engagement.
- Broadening access to health education and the training of health workers, etc.
The GSMA has noticed the growing role of mobile technologies in the development of the global healthcare industry, and has predicted a market growth of mobile health (mHealth) in 2017 to $26 billion. In terms of market potential, researchers predict that the mobile health services can bring $11.5 billion to operators by 2017, device manufacturers can receive up to $6.6 billion, content providers and distributors of the applications to $2.6 billion, and medical institutions to $2.4 billion.
The main sources of income will not only be selling mHealth applications, but also the applications serving as a platform for providing health services in a real time.
In order to take advantage of the market potential, government organizations, medical institutions, and regulators should work with mobile operators and R&D sector to create a mobile health ecosystem. It is essential that mobile device manufacturers and R&D companies be included in this process, as the success of the introduction and popularization of mobile health services depends directly on their activity.
At Eastern Peak Software we understand the importance of applying top tech mobile solutions to the basic healthcare activities in order to enhance the physician-patient experience. Below you will find the six guiding principles to help your patients enjoy all the benefits of the mHealth.
1. KISS (Keep it short and simple)
Healthcare apps, solving complex problems, themselves, tend to become complex, rigid and cumbersome to use. Yet we understand that patients and doctors alike strongly prefer clean, convenient and user-friendly applications that simplify the day-to-day activities without requiring hours of learning.
Your mHealth application should be clean, making it dead-simple for patients to use it on a daily basis.
Most patients will simply ignore the app if it’s too difficult to use. At the same time, the app should be convenient for the physicians, so that the doctors and their patients can be on the same page in terms of diagnostics, treatment modes and other questions concerning the healthcare industry.
2. Ensure an interoperability through connecting to 3rd party services and offering APIs
An interoperable and, thus, scalable mHealth solution helps you drive adoption because your app can integrate more data and services in one interface.
Make sure your application for mHealth is highly flexible in accessing and delivering data.
Interoperable application helps doctors and patients share data seamlessly and safely. It’s important that your mHealth application is interoperable with various platforms and devices. All updates should be done in a timely manner on all devices.
Interoperability also plays a critical role in demonstrating ROI of mHealth solutions, since it ensures greater data accuracy, which in turn increases the confidence of both doctors and patients.
3. Make it intelligent
There is a vast amount of data generated in the healthcare industry, including patient metrics, researches, new drugs, etc. Your application requires machine intelligence to provide the most accurate and precise algorithms and analytics that will be replacing human intervention. Let your patients get a greater control over their health and better access to the insightful analytics. Your application should act as a ‘doctor in a box’, that uses its own algorithms to advise a treatment plan.
Giving an ability to track patient health metrics powered by data analytics is one of the most important features of a popular mHealth app.
4. Let your patients socialize
The users of your mHealth applications should be able to socialize with their friends or loved ones so that they’re able to get encouragement and support during the process of improving their health. However, don’t forget about a privacy as a noteworthy barrier when implementing social features.
You goal is to strike the right balance between a social part of life and a privacy of your patient.
5. Focus on the motivation
Ensure that your mHealth application sets health goals and helps your customers achieve them. Focus on their results, since it will motivate your customers to set new health goals and achieve them, becoming healthier, stronger, and happier.
6. Don’t forget about a gamification
A patient facing a medical issue is hungry for information and typically has to embark on a new lifestyle that incorporates healthier choices. Yet, way too often it may not seem like a lot of fun. So why not to try to make it more engaging with a gaming approach?
Gamification is an interactive way to motivate. Make your app more interesting and your users will be excited to use it again and again.
Although an efficiency of the gamification varies for different age groups, in the most cases it helps to increase a user engagement for up to 10-15%.
We decided to ask experts in the healthcare industry about the challenges that healthcare businesses can overcome with the help of mobile apps/mHealth.
Vic Phillips, founder at CareRemote (telemedicine for cardiology) and at Digital Health Weekly, a platform for educating practice managers, hospital IT, physicians, nurses, pa’s and governmental organizations in the area Digital Health, thinks that the issue revolve around how the companies approach these challenges:
“Businesses should be talking to customers and understanding processes and areas that are recurring. You can associate costs to these problems. In my experience, I have seen companies working on a multitude of problems for example,communication, credentialing, patient-risk analysis and outcomes, medical education, sensors in healthcare and population management.
There are quite a few areas that can be improved with the help of mobile apps. Here are a few health facts put together by Rock Health:
- Wireless penetration in the US is 104.6% (CTIA, 2011)
- 104 million people in the U.S. own smartphones (comScore, 2012)
- About 50% of smartphone users download apps (comScore, 2012)
- Mobile Healthcare and medical App downloads will reach 44 million in 2012, rising to 142 million in 2016 (Juniper 2012)
- 84% of doctors use tablets – 74% iPad, 10% other (MobiHealthNews, April 2012)
- McKinsey projects opportunities in global mHealth to be $60 billion
- 19% of Smartphone Users Have Health Apps (Pew Report, 2012)
- 69% of US adults are willing to communicate with providers by email. However, only 49% are interested in communicating via online chat or web portal, 45% by text message, and 40% by mobile health applications (PWC, 2013)
- 58% of CIOs say their company has not developed a mobile application for customers and clients and has no plans to offer one in the next year (Robert Half Technology, 2014)
- 36% of healthcare companies have no mobile technology strategy currently (Robert Half Technology, 2014)
- 59% of physicians and insurers believe widespread adoption of mobile health applications in the near future is unavoidable (PWC, 2012). Source – Rock Health
Healthcare has a long way to go. Take from other industries and apply what has worked for these companies.”
Vic Phillips MD
Founder at CareRemote (http://www.careRemote.com)
Founder at Digital Health Weekly (http://www.digitalhealthweekly.com)
At Eastern Peak Software, we go further to make our products better, our clients happier and our planet a better place to be. Supporting the healthcare industry has always been a cornerstone of our business and a belief that guides so many of our decisions. Our mission in 2015 to help healthcare businesses navigate a complex world with personalized solutions. Contact me today to learn how EasternPeak Software can help you get faster to the booming mHealth market.
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