How are medical apps transforming the healthcare industry?
Be it preventive or diagnostic healthcare and mobile apps have revolutionized the healthcare sector. We can estimate the potential of smartphone apps in the market by the fact that the m-health market is set to grow at a CAGR of 36.5% by 2022.
us explore in detail how mobile apps are changing the healthcare
Helping in mental health
Apps such as MoodPath and TalkLife are helping patients in treating mental health issues like depression. There is a rise in mental health-related issues due to the stress we face in our modernized ways of day-to-day living. Apps like Medibo are using data like sleep quality and heart rate, from your smartwatch to analyze whether you need treatment for depression. Another app Mindstrong is relying on analyzing your typing and scrolling behavior to detect mental illness. Look at the infographics to get a better idea about the state of mental illness in the world.
Taking appointments online
Remember the days when you had to go to the doctor’s clinic to book an appointment? Now with the advent of technology, developing an on-demand doctor’s appointment booking app can be very beneficial, because it saves time and removes hassles for both doctors and patients. The user can also research the doctors according to their specialization, experience and expertise level. Users can further post reviews and ratings on the app, helping other users in taking an informed decision about the doctor or the hospital. Some appointment booking apps integrate Google Maps in their app, which aids users in navigating their way to the doctor's clinic.
Medical apps which allow scheduling appointments are pretty crucial for all the persons involved in the healthcare sector. The patients benefit from the fact that they know that their appointment has been booked 'for sure' and the estimated time when they need to reach the clinic. If the doctor can't attend the patient on that day, or there is going to be a delay, then the doctor can update it in the app. The app can also send a notification to the patients whose appointments are going to be affected.
The doctors benefit from the fact that with online appointment scheduling the inefficiencies of traditional methods like taking appointments through phone can be eliminated. Imagine a situation where you reach to the doctor on your scheduled time, but for some reason, the attendant goofed up and forgot to write your name on the appointment list. As online scheduling does not involve human interference, no errors occur.
The attendants of doctors now do not need to spend time attending to patients on the phone, and their energies can be focused elsewhere.
Increasing patient engagement
A study showed that 7 out of 10 healthcare professionals believed that m-health apps would improve patient engagement. Medical apps are used to improve patient engagement by allowing the patients to ask questions, regarding their illness, to their doctor as well as other doctors. There are apps through which the user can know about the illness in detail, including the suggested medicines and possible side-effects of these medicines.
People usually are inquisitive about their health, and medical apps help in satiating their curiosity by telling them all there is to know about their illness. Medical apps which remind the patients about their medications and due appointments are also helping in boosting patient engagement and timely treatments.
Remote monitoring of patients
Remote monitoring of patients is another promising m-health technology that has the potential of transforming the healthcare industry. Remote monitoring is used to aid chronically ill patients and patients belonging to high-risk populations. For example, people living in areas having high levels of chemical pollution could be helped by constantly monitoring their health with the help of remote monitoring tools.
Diabetics, Kidney, heart and High blood pressure patients who cannot afford to come to the hospitals regularly can send their vital stats to their doctors.Such regular checkups allow the doctors to take a call regarding the alterations in their medications.
Wearable tech is improving and opening up new horizons in medical diagnostics.Recently, UK researchers devised a wearable sensor to measure the heart and breathing rates in babies, which enables them to keep a tab on the health of babies remotely. A mobile app can be used to display the results provided by wearable sensors in real-time.
Measuring vital health signs
Mobile apps, along with a wearable, can be used to measure or monitor vital stats like heart rates and blood pressure real-time. Now, there is quite a good progress made in the technology to measure some of the vital readings of a human body by sending a photoelectric pulse signal. Although the technology is currently in the nascent stage, the promise it holds is quite high. Imagine an app that could thwart potentially life-threatening diseases like stroke and diabetes by conducting preliminary tests and sharing the reports to doctors.
Online medical consultation
Patients who are unable to visit the doctor because there isn’t a dispensary or a clinic around can consult a doctor through a mobile app. A mobile medical app can easily schedule the appointment with the doctor online via video call; this saves the time of both the doctor and the patient. Through the online consultation mode, the doctor can expand his/her reach to patients living in remote areas.
Online ordering of medical services
Using medical apps, patients can book online medical services like conducting diagnostic tests. It improves transparency in the medical services sector as patients can compare the prices of various service providers. Such medical apps also offer the option of calling the service provider to collect samples from the patient's home. This feature adds convenience in availing medical services to another level altogether. There are medical apps which allow the patients to order online. There they get the dual benefit of availing good discounts and having the convenience of getting these medicines home-delivered.
E-maintenance of medical records
You want to consult some other doctor for another ailment but have lost medical reports, and the doctor keeps records only at his/her clinic. Now, getting all your reports from the doctor's place takes time. The most efficient solution to this is keeping your medical history in electronic form. It eliminates the hassle for you to keep your medical records in paper form safe. A mobile medical app which lets the users save their medical records can prove to be a boon if the patient has more than one medical file to store.
Keeping medical records in the electronic form can be of great help when patients shift to different cities. Security of data must be the topmost priority of the app, which handles medical data of patients. In the US, there are provisions to protect the patient's data under the HIPAA Act (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Most of the reputed health apps available in the US are HIPPA compliant and hence, can be trusted. With the onset of technology like Blockchain encryption, we can add another layer of security in your app.
Improved Hospital management
Medical apps explicitly built for hospitals are helping hospitals in managing their business efficiently. These apps provide real-time data like availability of beds, availability of specialist and visiting doctors, lab reports of patients, controlling the visitors of patients.
Educating patients and students
Apps such as 3D4medical are creating state of the art 3d animations of the human body. It helps in educating the patients as well as medical students about the human body.
Analyzing trends of diseases
You know that Google can predict the outbreak of flu with fair accuracy. Similarly using technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning medical apps can help the doctors in analyzing trends of diseases. E.g.:- Google developed an algorithm which could predict the risk of heart disease amongst patients by looking at the back of their eyes.
Technologies like Big Data, AI, machine learning, Blockchain, and IoT are going to provide disruptive innovation to the healthcare sector. The future looks bright as companies like Google and IBM are investing in developing technologies for building apps in the healthcare sector. Developing an exclusive medical mobile app has ample of opportunities based on the type of application, it is to be used by the doctors and the hospital staff or by the patients. Based on these factors, the mobile apps in healthcare sector stand a chance to become the next Unicorn.