In 2021, it is estimated that there are 6.4 billion smartphone users, and that figure is set to increase even further in the coming years. Their use has exploded over the last few years, and the use of apps has grown in tandem with them. Apps are now an integral part of our lives – there is an app to assist you with almost any task you can think of. Most industries are being transformed by them, and the healthcare industry is no exception.
Mobile health (or mHealth) apps are now being used widely in health services, transforming the practice and reach of care. Here’s why healthcare providers must use mHealth apps.
What Is mHealth?
mHealth apps simply connect healthcare providers with their patients via their smartphones. The endgame is to improve the speed and quality of treatment for the patient. There are many types of mHealth apps – including patient administration, video calling, diagnostics, health monitoring and productivity.
Benefits Of mHealth Apps
mHealth apps are exploding across the healthcare sector and their potential to benefit both patients and providers is almost limitless. They will only become more important and it is no surprise that healthcare providers everywhere are hiring a mhealth app development service to build the bespoke mobile app they need to access and provide the following benefits:
Convenience & Connectivity
Providing healthcare via smartphone apps is enormously convenient for patients and providers. The devices are completely portable meaning assistance is available to patients wherever they may be. Busy professionals need not take time off work to access services, while it is particularly valuable for rural populations who can struggle to access facilities in urban areas.
The same is true for low-income families. Meanwhile, appointments can be made quickly via the app without having to hold for forever on the phone. It’s not only convenient for patients but providers too.
Doctors can speak with patients via video calls rather than personal visits. This enables them to deal with minor health issues speedily and also prevents the spread of illnesses such as flu and of course, COVID-19. Health providers can also access patient data and records wherever they are.
Diagnostics & Monitoring
mHealth apps allows healthcare professionals to collect, access and share data about their patients. Medical history, consultation notes, discharge notes and lab results are available instantly, meaning illnesses and injuries can be quickly diagnosed and action taken. Patients can assist the process by using built-in symptom checking tools within the app to begin the process of diagnosis before the doctor is involved.
The use of manual records can mean that diagnostic errors occur due to human error. mHealth apps keep precise records, minimizing the risk of error. mHealth apps also allow providers to monitor patients on an ongoing basis, checking metrics like blood pressure, heart rate, sleep and diet in real-time. In the treatment and management of chronic and serious illnesses, this is supremely useful.
Medication nonadherence is a huge health issue. A recent study found that up to 50% of chronically ill patients were not taking their prescribed medication correctly. Noncompliance causes a range of serious issues, from flare-ups to preventable deaths. It also generates eye-watering medical costs. Mhealth apps can help patients keep track of their medication regimen by reminding them when and how much of a medication to take. Some apps even allow side-effects and symptoms to be logged.
Being a healthcare professional is a very demanding occupation – and most of them are very time poor. Many professionals work in excess of 60 hours a week, which leads to stress and mistakes. It can be very damaging to patient care and places an enormous strain on institutions. mHealth apps reduce the pressure by keeping records in one place and improving workflow processes.
The time spent on administration decreases while communication is kept efficient and on schedule. Not only will providers save time, but they will be able to spend more time with patients rather than on other tasks.
Healthcare providers hold masses of data and enough paper to re-stock the Amazon Rainforest! Using mHealth apps, paper-based communication and documentation can be made a thing of the past. Not only is this better for the environment, but it also lowers office supply costs and just gets rid of all that clutter. Most countries have laws that dictate sensitive data is organized and held securely – by using great mHealth apps, providers can record and store patient data in a way that is automatically HIPAA and GDPR compliant.
Interesting related article: “What is Compliance?“