- The future in healthcare is digital: its integration with technology adds value that saves lives daily. The global mHealth apps market reached $43.5 billion in 2022.
- The roadmap for building a patient-facing app consists of 4 main steps: methodology, problem, solution, and results.
- Better patient outcomes and enhancement of patient-doctor communications are some of the positives that patient apps introduced.
- A successful patient-facing app means a good execution approach, mutual trust, patient engagement, and added value.
It is common knowledge that changes in healthcare occur rarely. Nevertheless, the current healthcare system is far different from 20 years ago. This transformation is caused by the driving force of innovative digital health solutions like patient apps. Fueled by advances in technology, increased access to smartphones, and the popular human-centered healthcare, patient apps affirmed their position in the market. Their presence led to clever decisions and unexpected opportunities.
Inflexibility. High costs. Workforce shortage.
These were just some of the problems of the healthcare system when Covid-19 shook the world. In this uncertain period, the patient apps exploded: 90,000 were created just for 2020. This number means that there were 250 new entries every day. The global mHealth apps market size reached USD 43.5 billion in 2022.
The pandemic paved the way for many health tech companies and proved the importance of digital solutions. Because of this discrepancy between skills and requirements and the need for complex behavioral research, healthcare professionals outsource IT activities to specialists with long-term experience. Fortunately, healthcare service providers, pharmaceutical products manufacturers, and Contract Research Organizations (CROs) found help in IT tools to fill the gaps in the system and provide better services.
Mobile health apps showed that the future of healthcare is digital. They aim to return the trust of the patient in healthcare institutions. And this process occurs only by adding value that saves lives today.
What are the different kinds of patient apps?
To know what kind of application you can develop, we have made a short list of options for some of the more widely spread types of patient apps.
- Medication management apps. Assist users in organizing and tracking their medications, providing reminders and dosage information.
- Fitness and wellness apps. Focus on promoting overall health, offering features for exercise routines, nutrition tracking, and lifestyle management.
- Symptom tracking apps. Enable users to monitor specific health symptoms over time, facilitating better communication with healthcare providers and aiding in diagnosis.
- Telemedicine apps. Bring healthcare services to users through virtual consultations, remote monitoring, and timely medical advice.
- Mental health apps. Address emotional well-being, providing tools for meditation, stress management, and mood tracking.
These categories showcase the diverse range of patient apps, each tailored to meet specific healthcare needs and empower individuals to manage their health and well-being.
Trust Between the Healthcare staff and the IT Team is crucial. It is all about trust indeed.
Furthermore, your digital solutions provider should not just build the app and never show up again. Sometimes the:
- deep understanding of the healthcare landscape
- flexibility of the talent involved
- wide pool of technologies
- premium quality code
- removal of the administrative burden from customers are simply not enough to reach success!
Look for trustworthy business relationships ensuring both teams’ benefit. Exceptional digital solutions like creating a patient-facing app require:
- Full transparency of the processes
- Team synergy
- Timely availability of talent
Tips to success
The roadmap of building a patient app consists of several main points. These are the essential details that a company in healthcare, HCP or a medical institution should consider when thinking about the creation of a digital health solution. If you don’t have the experience, you should trust experienced technology companies that could lead you through the process.
SCRUM: The Methodology for Innovators
Scrum is all about helping teams make smarter decisions. It encourages co-workers to learn through experiences and reflect on their ups and downs, thus seeking constant improvement. This methodology requires strong self-motivation and self-organization. It benefits individuals that know what, how and when to do a specific task.
The Scrum framework supports product and service development in every project, irrespective of its complexity. To achieve goals and objectives, teams should:
- Ensure transparency in communication
- Create an environment of collective accountability
- Continuous progress based on experience
- Continuous learning and adjustment to fluctuating factors
Scrum is structured to help teams adapt to changing conditions and re-prioritize objectives. Obviously, it provides the perfect environment for the digital health industry by ensuring:
Define the Problem: The Gap in The Healthcare System
Now is the time for the questions everybody asks:
- What problem does your app solve?
- What are these fundamental challenges that the healthcare system is dealing with?
- How does this app improve the patient pathway?
The right approach to answer is to look at the big picture. Then, you might move to a more specific approach:
- What niche do I want to enter?
- How to reduce the pain of these patients?
- What do they need? How can I provide it for them?
It is essential to note that the biggest challenge is to cooperate with the team developing your patient app. The medical experts and tech gurus are from entirely different worlds. For that reason, you should carefully choose your digital solutions provider. Look for a partner with proven expertise, an innovative team of professionals and a vision for the future in healthcare.
BGO Software expertise
in 2018 we managed to build Healthsuite – a patient app that provides effective digital therapies for inflammatory conditions. In this case both Ampersand Health and BGO Software focused on improving patient outcomes when fighting long-term inflammatory conditions.
Here are some of the values that this app brings:
- Customizable personal health record
That keeps all of the patient’s information in one place, from the hospital, wearable devices, trackers and outcome measures.
- Support and guidance
Patients can get advice from the hospital team remotely and access the Crohn’s & Colitis UK helpline whenever they need some support.
- Latest research section
Where people can find practical advice, tactics and the latest research in the self-management library and personalized feed.
- Set up reminders option
For medication and appointments and find out more about local events and support groups.
Challenges during development
Even though you may know what kind of app you are making, it is still essential to note that there are challenges that will be present during the development process. For example, ensuring the security and privacy of sensitive health data is paramount, demanding robust encryption and compliance with regulations like HIPAA and GDPR. Navigating complex healthcare regulations, including HIPAA and FDA guidelines, is crucial for gaining approvals.
Interoperability issues arise due to the need for patient apps to seamlessly integrate with electronic health records and other healthcare systems. Achieving this requires adherence to standardized data formats and communication protocols. Encouraging user engagement and adoption involves addressing concerns about data sharing, designing intuitive interfaces, and integrating features into users’ daily lives.
Ethical considerations, such as informed consent and transparency, are vital in healthcare app development. Striking a balance between innovation and ethical practices ensures users are well-informed about data usage and biases. Successfully overcoming these challenges demands a collaborative approach involving developers, healthcare professionals, regulators, and users to create trustworthy, compliant, and user-friendly patient-facing apps.
A better understanding of what the obstacles are can help you overcome them as well. With that in mind, articles like these are exactly the extra information you need to get a better grasp on the topic.
Benefits of patient apps
Patient apps offer a multitude of benefits for healthcare providers, contributing to a more engaged and empowered patient population.
Benefits for the healthcare providers
Increased patient engagement is a notable advantage, as these apps encourage active participation in healthcare through tools for self-monitoring, health education, and personalized health plans. This heightened engagement can lead to more informed and motivated patients who actively participate in their healthcare journey.
Moreover, patient apps contribute to better patient outcomes by facilitating continuous communication between patients and healthcare providers. This continuous connection supports improved disease management, adherence to treatment plans, and overall enhanced health outcomes.
The integration of patient apps also plays a crucial role in cost reduction. Remote monitoring and early intervention, made possible by these apps, lead to cost savings through preventive care, reduced hospital admissions, and optimized resource utilization.
Furthermore, such apps enhance care coordination among healthcare professionals, fostering seamless information sharing and collaborative care delivery, particularly in complex cases. This contributes to the overall efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare services, making patient apps transformative tools that benefit individuals and contribute to a more patient-centric healthcare system.
Benefits for healthcare delivery and patient empowerment
The impact of patient apps goes beyond the provider-patient relationship, significantly influencing healthcare delivery and patient empowerment.
Patient apps play a crucial role in breaking down geographical barriers by offering virtual consultations and health services. This ensures increased access to healthcare for individuals in remote or underserved areas, expanding the reach of healthcare services.
Patient apps empower individuals to actively participate in managing their health conditions. They facilitate real-time monitoring of symptoms, medication adherence, and lifestyle factors, contributing to more effective disease management and personalized care.
Another aspect of patient apps is that they serve as valuable sources of accessible health information, promoting health literacy. They empower individuals to make informed decisions about their health and well-being, fostering a more knowledgeable and engaged patient population.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning in patient apps
AI and ML play a pivotal role in enhancing the capabilities of patient apps, introducing advanced functionalities that significantly benefit healthcare
AI and ML algorithms enable patient apps to analyze large datasets and predict potential health outcomes. This predictive capability aids in identifying risks, allowing for proactive interventions and preventive measures.
By leveraging AI, patient apps can deliver personalized health recommendations based on individual health data, preferences, and behavior. This tailored approach enhances user engagement and supports more effective health management.
AI-driven monitoring in patient apps allows for continuous and intelligent tracking of health metrics. These systems can detect patterns, anomalies, or changes in health status, providing timely alerts and facilitating early intervention.
AI and ML algorithms analyze individual patient data, treatment responses, and medical literature to optimize treatment plans. This personalized approach enhances the effectiveness of interventions, leading to more tailored and efficient healthcare strategies.
In the making: The digital solution that saves lives
After carefully analyzing the problem, you are ready to work on building the digital solution. Make sure that you’ve performed a full inquiry on the subject. Now we must focus on the organization that develops your app.
You and your team should be able to adequately explain to your IT partner the results you want to achieve and the problem you want to solve. Good communication and transparency are the basis of every fruitful relationship.
Results = value or How Patient Apps Beat the Stereotypes in Healthcare
In the digital world you can see the results immediately. That’s why the value of digital health solutions and more concrete patient apps is so easy to point out.
Medisafe Pill Minder
Medisafe Pill Minder and Tracker stand out as an award-winning medication platform, offering a high level of customization for various dosing schedules and notification sounds. Beyond simple pill reminders, the app provides valuable features such as drug interaction warnings, alerting users to potential complications when combining medications. This feature is particularly beneficial, allowing individuals to review concerns with their healthcare providers.
Key aspects of the application
The app goes a step further by offering family scheduling and tracking capabilities, enabling users to monitor their loved one’s medications, measurements, and appointments in one centralized location. This inclusive approach ensures that caregivers can stay informed, even receiving notifications if a dose is missed.
Medisafe also facilitates seamless communication with healthcare providers through its doctor communication feature. Users can easily send detailed medication reports to their healthcare professionals before scheduled appointments, fostering efficient and informed discussions.
Moreover, Medisafe incorporates measurement trackers, allowing users to monitor over a dozen health measurements. This data can be conveniently shared with healthcare providers, enhancing the collaborative aspect of healthcare management. Overall, Medisafe Pill Minder and Tracker provide a comprehensive and user-friendly platform for effective medication management and health tracking.
Patient apps will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of healthcare by fostering patient engagement, promoting preventive care, and enhancing overall health outcomes. The integration of innovative technologies and continuous adaptation to emerging trends will position patient apps as valuable tools in the evolving landscape of healthcare delivery. As healthcare becomes more patient-centric and technology-driven, these apps are expected to be at the forefront of empowering individuals to actively manage their health and well-being.
According to some healthcare experts, innovations in healthcare will finally prevail over bureaucracy and bad management. If your idea offers value and better patient outcomes, you will find success in the landscape of the industry. Then, you should find the right IT partner that will help you reach your goals and deliver an exceptional digital solution.