The use of mobile applications has transformed how individuals interact with one another. With technology in the mobile industry consistently dynamic, there exists excellent opportunities for the development of healthcare applications that are crucial in enhancing patient-doctor communication and interaction.

Accenture reports that out of the 100 largest hospitals in the US, 66 have consumer mobile apps. Despite this, only a mere 2% of the patients use the apps. It implies that there is a significant gap in the health sector that needs transformation in the increasingly overwhelmed health sector.


Healthcare mobile apps trends 2017

There is always the growing need of patients to look up for information on the web. However, the need or demand for information has by far surpassed the supply.

Approximately 80% of American citizens rely on the Internet to acquire health data, and the third most popular search is health information.

Research shows that in every five Americans, one is using social media as a health information source, with 94% relying on Facebook. In fact, in every four respondents, one reports that the use of social media has a great impact on their health.

73% of Americans prefer online communication to book appointments, pay medical related bills, and interact with the doctor.

The prevailing trends

  • EMR (Electronic medical records)

EMR has enabled the storage of medical records electronically rather than the conventional paperwork system. The health practitioner can look for patient information electronically via a PC or a mobile device, allowing the monitoring of the patient and tracking their data over time.

  • Interoperability Between Medical Centers and EHR (Electronic Health Records)

If there is no interoperability between physicians, hospitals, and medical centers, patient safety is always compromised. EHR, allows the patient information to be shared with other health care practitioners thereby decreasing the levels of interoperability currently in existence in the healthcare system.

  • Demand for E-Visits

According to a study by PwC, nearly 50% of physicians are in agreement that e-visits could replace more than 10% of patients’ appointments, and approximately 75% of physicians would prescribe a mobile app to assist the patients to manage the various chronic diseases like diabetes. E-Visits allow for continuous patient-doctor interaction remotely.

  • Health: Mobile Health

It is a medicine practice that is made possible by the mobile gadgets. By the end of 2017, the mHealth application market will hit the $26 billion mark worldwide. The utilization of such mobile devices and applications in healthcare provides convenience to patients as well as ensuring that a large segment of the population has access to the primary healthcare.

  • Private Data and HIPAA Compliance

With the continued growth of mobile device and laptop use in the healthcare, as well as the digitalization of a patient’s health information, it is imperative to ensure that patient data is not lost or manipulated. It is because the use of electronic devices will always attract hackers. Therefore, the smart device and software that is utilized in healthcare have to be in compliance with HIPAA.

The primary role of HIPAA is to protect patient privacy and sets the national standards for the security of patient information that is electronically stored.

How are healthcare apps beneficial?

1.  Enhancing communication

Clear and efficient communication between the physician and the patient is paramount if the patient wants to get quality treatment. Therefore, some healthcare apps makes it easier for the patient to contact a potential doctor.

2.  Self-Care

As much as the healthcare apps can be used to establish effective communication between the patient and the physician, healthcare app that is used for tracking purposes allows for better personal communication. For instance, the tracking app will communicate to the patient the calories consumed or even the number of steps that the patient has taken while walking.

3.  Reducing medical paperwork

The use of conventional paperwork filing system is cumbersome. However, healthcare apps, improve how the healthcare system file and information management is done to reduce the unnecessary hassle to individuals.

Healthcare information technology (Health IT)

It is a large field that comprises a broad range of technologies to share, store and analyze information. More and more doctors are now using health IT to enhance patient care. However, the patient should note that the health IT is not only relevant to the provider but also to him or her as well. Through the use of health IT, the patient can interact and share information with the doctor.

Healthcare IT includes;

  • EHR (Electronic Health Records)

The physician electronically saves the patient’s record such as disease history and medication.

  • PHR (Personal Health Records)

This is very similar to the EHR. However, the information to be stored is regulated.

  • E-prescribing

Through e-prescribing, the physician can directly contact the pharmacy known to the patient, eliminating the need for the paper prescription. It implies that the patient will simply pick up the medication from the pharmacy without producing the paper prescription.

Other Types of HIT: e-Health Tools

These e-health tools are considered part of the vast field of health IT. Examples of such tools include online communities and personal health tools. Their primary goal is to put the patient at the center of his or her care.

Medical apps for doctors

Doctors nowadays are taking advantage of the growing technology of mobile apps to better their practice. Standard apps relevant in a medical setting include;

  • Figure 1 app

The figure 1 app assists doctors identify medical diseases that are rare, improve their medical skills, and share clinical pictures and knowledge all in real time. By using the app, the doctors interact with like-minded counterparts in the medical field from remote areas.

  • Medscape

The application is the top information source for medical students and physicians. The doctor can look up medication dosage, prevent unnecessary combination, access latest medical news, and journals, etc.

  • UpToDate

It is one of a kind app that individuals and institutions subscribe to, that typically provide answers to a wide range of medical questions

  • Epocrates

The app assists healthcare practitioners to review prescription information as well as drug safety for generic, over the counter and brand drugs.

  • NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine) This Week

The most trusted among users seeking relevant clinical information. It enables doctors, as well as nurses, gain access to review articles, several editorials, research findings and topics in biomedical science.

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