How mHealth Impacts the Patient Experience

Google Play and the Apple App Store provide users with around 320,000 mHealth apps. 90% of doctors from the US use smartphones every single day to deal with EHRs, keep in touch with patients, etc. In other words, mHealth tech is snowballing, and it will only enable healthcare providers and practices to improve patient access and experience.  An important aspect of this is developing mobile technology that is accessible.

Why mHealth is important for providing better patient care

According to Statista, the capitalization of the global digital health market in 2020 will be around $210 billion. It becomes obvious that more and more healthcare providers are willing to improve the patient experience.

The advantages of mobile healthcare technologies and their variety may significantly help both doctors and patients. It could be particularly useful for patients who suffer from chronic diseases, and it is crucial to monitor their health conditions and have stable control constantly.

Online consultation with a doctor will reduce the number of personal appointments.

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Varieties of mHealth applications

Let’s take a look at the main types of healthcare applications you could invest funds in and build for your healthcare organization to simplify the interaction between physicians and patients with the help of apps.

  • App with medication history. This type of app has various pharmaceutical reports on the patient’s smartphone. Therefore, patients have every detail about medicines they purchased, what doses they need, etc.
  • Reminder app. An app sends a notification to patients to remind them about medicines that need to be taken. Many reminder apps also have a Confirmation button which helps physicians to know that patients don’t ignore the treatment.
  • Chat app. Patients can communicate with their doctors online and get all the information about the treatment process.
  • EHR app. EHR or electronic health records display full information about patients, and doctors can track the history of diseases, chat with patients, set reminders, etc.

Actually, you can merge these features in one app. Everything depends on your demands. If you need a fully loaded mHealth app that solves many tasks and optimizes to necessary treatment information for patients, it’s better to develop an app including those features to gain success among patients who will be satisfied with high-tech services.

Advantages that healthcare IT delivers to patients and caregivers

As shown, both sides benefit from mobile medical apps. Now, we’ll underline all the advantages of mobile technology in healthcare to get a clearer understanding of the subject.

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  • Accessibility. Above all, mHealth apps make a life of patients and physicians easier. People admit that medical applications provide them with mobility, instant access to relevant information, communication with doctors, etc. Moreover, many mobile apps in the healthcare industry have two versions — for collaboration between doctor and patient and doctors’ app that contains useful data like medical literature and manuals, which help them find out important details.
  • Improved decision-making process. As for the medical textbooks, which were mentioned above, they help physicians to find answers to necessary questions and make the decision faster. That’s how patients can get better services and proper treatment. Besides, pharmacists also have immediate access to medical descriptions of drugs and make their decisions wisely.
  • Higher accuracy. All documents are held in one place. Physicians and patients can check it anytime wherever they are from mobile devices. Thus, with the help of digital technologies that operate with a lot of information, doctors make diagnoses more precisely.
  • Better communication. Each generation of modern smartphones pursues greater camera quality. These rates of progress grant telehealth tech promotion. It is an online conversation in a real-time mode when doctors can see a patient, check their health status, discover symptoms if the patient feels sick, dealing with referral management, etc. In addition, telehealth doesn’t require a doctor’s presence. Everything can be done online.

Considering the main benefits of mHealth, we can see that investments in healthcare IT worth its efforts if you want to improve the life of your patients and reduce the pressure on your medical staff.

Implementation of mobile technology in the healthcare field

There are many ways to use mHealth. It depends on the application’s objectives. Let’s get through several use cases that will completely change patient experience and improve your workflow.

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Mobile portals for patients

Patients may have access to portals in order to check health reports. Portals allow patients to connect with their physician, arrange an appointment, set up reminders, etc.

Patient portals also encourage visitors to take their health more seriously and focus on the treatment process more attentively. Additionally, it helps doctors to improve patient care quality.

Patient charts

This is required for doctors who still follow the old fashioned way of working with paper patient charts and spend extra time on it. They have to switch to a mobile EHR app that makes it possible to organize patient charts and set them in order.

That’s how physicians will spend more time on personal contact with a patient. Besides, EHR apps offer a native and distinct interface that allows physicians to fill it out quickly and smoothly. Also, the EHR app gives an opportunity to quickly find a patient with the help of a search system, use a chart form to build new patient charting, and so on.

Image sharing

Alongside with patient charts, doctors also have to observe if a patient is injured. Smartphones with Full-HD camera capture an image, and then patients can send this image to the doctor and upload to their portal. It gives an opportunity for physicians to make a diagnosis even if they are far away from the hospital.

Healthcare providers may help their patients to avoid standing in lines by just sending an image to the doctor and not being worried about their health anymore.

Making e-prescriptions

E-prescription is another option of how patients can save some time. Usually, patients wish to get their prescriptions as fast as possible. Mobile health app will help you achieve that. Doctors use EHR systems to indicate which drugs patients need to take and prescribe anything regardless of their current location.

When e-prescription is ready, physicians send it to drug stores. This process can be adjusted to deliver all prescriptions automatically if a patient is a regular customer of the same drug store.

Educational materials

Sometimes it’s hard to keep in mind all of the doctor’s recommendations. For this reason, physicians can share some educational material to patient portals. Also, healthcare specialists can upload video material for a deeper involvement of patients in the treatment process.

Patients tend to live a healthy life if they are aware of all threats to their health.

Pills identification

Sometimes patients find pills without description and label on it. What is this pill? To find it out, mobile health applications are supplied with machine learning algorithms. Artificial intelligence will be able to identify a medicine based on an image made by the patient. Usually, the development of a custom AI-containing app is costly, but it will worth its efforts.

However, it is crucial to understand that even when patients have the full info about the pills, their expiry date will remain unknown.

Well, the list of cases may be continued, but some stumbling blocks should be revealed if you tend to develop the mHealth app.

What to look out for when developing mHealth tech

Let’s get through three vital issues you should never avoid if you want to build a successful mHealth app.

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Keeping up with privacy policy

It is extremely important to protect all the data as mobile health apps hold a lot of personal information. That’s the reason you need to follow the privacy policy and provide safety for all data. While developing an app for the USA, you should ensure that your app is HIPAA-compliant. It means the app should correspond to all HIPAA regulations. If an app is built for the EU region, then make your app GDPR-compliant. Also, patients should be able to remove their data if they want to. Finally, patients have to agree that the app uses their data on their consent.

Approval by regulatory bodies

It is obligatory to get approval from authorized regulatory bodies for mobile health applications. Here’s the problem: if the mHealth app is not available for beta-testing, potential patients won’t be able to test it. That means the application won’t get approval from the Ministry of Health or FDA (if the app is developed for US citizens). That’s the reason you have to bring an app for consideration of appropriate organizations, get their approval that your app complies with all regulations, and then you can launch it for public use.

App performance testing is required

The final thing to consider is app performance testing. To guarantee accessibility and reliability of the application, the custom healthcare software development company should test it under high loads. In case you request to release the application as soon as possible, and skip the testing phase, your app will be under risk. It should undergo all testing steps to ensure it will act appropriately under unusual circumstances.

Also, be serious about cross-platform and support of your app by various OS versions. In case somebody still uses iOS 9 and someone iOS 12, the app should work properly on both of these versions, similarly for Android OS versions. Don’t skip crash monitoring — it will help to deliver a sustainable experience to your users.

Lastly, add some notification about the use of mobile traffic. Whenever patients need to watch a video, but a smartphone isn’t connected to a Wi-Fi network, they should get a notification that the ongoing video will be downloaded via a 3g or 4g network.

This advice will guide you on the path of successful mHealth app development.

Final words

These were major use cases and pieces of advice that can shed light on healthcare technologies. As seen, the impact of healthcare IT is getting more and more valuable every year. If handled the right way, mHealth applications will increase the effectiveness of treatment and improve the patient experience.

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Vitaly Kuprenko is the technical writer at Cleveroad. It is a software development company located in Eastern Europe. His mission is to provide people with interesting material about innovations in the world of IT.

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