Today, Google Play and App Store offer more than 320,000 mHealth applications. And 90% of physicians in the USA use them on a daily basis. For instance, doctors often work with electronic health records (EHR), chat with patients, and perform many other actions through these mHealth apps.
So what does that mean? It means that mHealth technology is becoming extremely popular and both healthcare providers and patients take advantage of these apps. Let’s find out how exactly.
More and more healthcare organization provide their patients and employees with mobile applications. All to make doctor-patient interactions more simple and convenient for both parties.
Advantages of mHealth apps begin with their versatility in all medical fields. They are extremely important for patients with chronic diseases that need to monitor and control their health condition permanently.
By getting a consultation online, patient reduces the number of personal appointments. And those who live far away from hospitals get high-quality and timely help.
Due to their potential, mHealth apps are quickly changing the whole healthcare industry and increase medical care efficiency around the world. Besides, the demand for mobile devices provides stable growth in high-tech manufacturing.
For now, the main types of healthcare apps include:
- Apps with medication history
- Chat apps
- EHR apps
By the way, app owners may combine all these features in one app – all depends on their view of a perfect end product.
Pros & Cons of mHealth Applications
It’s always better to begin on a positive note, so let’s take a look at the advantages of mHealth apps first.
- Convenience. Mobile apps make the life of patients and health workers easier. They provide users with portability, instant access to data, and it’s a reliable channel for communicating with doctors. Most healthcare apps have two versions – one for patients and one for doctors. The app for doctors may store information like medical literature or important guidelines.
- Better decision-making. The medical literature helps physicians find answers faster and make the right decision quicker. In turn, patients get better services and treatment.
- Accuracy. Having all the documents in one place, doctors and their patients can check them anytime from anywhere. That means doctors can even make a more accurate diagnosis with the help of digital technologies.
- Efficiency. Using mHealth apps, patients get access to information about medicines they take, can chat with their doctor, look through prescriptions, and so on. In turn, physicians are less busy filling lots of papers which greatly improves their workflow efficiency.
- Better communication. Today’s mobile devices with high-resolution cameras contribute to telehealth tech promotion. It stands for online real-time communication when a doctor sees the patient, checks their health state, finds out the symptoms. And this can be done online, without any need to visit the hospital.
But mHealth apps are not without the dark sides. Let’s take a look at some of them.
- Security breaches. It’s very convenient and extremely useful for physicians to get medical records and test results at any time and from anywhere. But it also increases the chance of security breaches. It may be quite hard for organizations to create mobile policies, control data leaks, and perform regulatory analysis when dealing with thousands of personal devices.
- Long-distance medicine. While telehealth is very convenient, doctors can’t always capture patients’ true condition without proper testing. And while ongoing conditions or chronic diseases may be easy to monitor via smartphones or tablets, it’s much more difficult to make a new diagnose via the web or telephone cam.
Preventive health maintenance is very important. Many diseases often have no advance symptoms. So even if you feel well you can identify them before they become advanced.
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Mobile Technologies in Healthcare: How to Use?
OK, there are lots of ways how mHealth can be used. Everything depends on the app’s purpose. Here’s just the list of most popular adoption ways.
Create mobile portals
Using mobile devices, patients can get access to their portals and check health reports. Portals connect patients with their family physicians, make it possible to schedule an appointment, set up reminders, etc.
So patient portals help people become more responsible for their health and focus on the treatment process.
Build patient charts
Physicians sometimes spend too much time working with papers. To work more productively, they need to switch to an EHR app that makes it possible to build and organize patient charts – and access them from anywhere.
This way, doctors will spend more time actually talking to patients rather than filling out charts. What’s more, custom EHR software development offers an intuitive and clear interface that can be filled out easily and quickly enough.
It’s another way of making patients and doctors feel comfortable. Physicians use mHealth apps like EHR software to indicate what medicines patients need to take. And after the prescription is done, they can send it to drug stores (or it may be done automatically).
Sharing education materials
Even if patients strictly follow all doctors’ bits of advice and prescriptions, it doesn’t mean they remember everything the medicians say. That’s why doctors should add education materials to the portals and let patients access them. For example, they may use written documents and videos.
Adopting mHealth Tech: Things to Consider
Now, let’s check the three main pitfalls you should pay attention to if you want to create a high-tech and reliable health application.
It’s important to keep all the data safe especially when it comes to patients’ personal information. That’s why app owners need to keep up with the confidentiality policy and secure the data in a proper way. Besides, if you build the health app for the USA, you should make it HIPAA-compliant. And if it’s meant for EU citizens, make sure it’s GDPR-compliant.
Approval by regulatory organizations
It’s better to get your mHealth app approved by authorized regulatory bodies. For example, in the USA, lots of apps are not available for beta testing, thus potential users can’t take a proper look at them. In turn, app makers don’t get approval from the Ministry of Health or FDA. That’s why you should think of providing the app for consideration and getting the approval before releasing the app for public use.
App performance testing
Finally, you should consider proper app performance testing. For instance, to ensure the accessibility and reliability of your app, you should perform load testing. Mind that the product should undergo all testing phases in order to make sure it will run properly under different circumstances.
So how exactly mobile devices can help doctors and patients? First, they may be used to track, record, and connect data. And guide many aspects of healthcare like prenatal care, ophthalmology, cancer care, and so on.
Second, as mentioned, devices like smartphones, wearables, tablets are used not only by patients but bring advantages to health workers too.
For patients with chronic diseases, health monitoring means the difference between remission and their condition getting worse. And mHealth devices make the monitoring available for any patient, not only those who have enough resources to afford constant health care.
Vitaly Kuprenko is a technical writer at Cleveroad. It’s a web and app development company in Ukraine. He enjoys telling about tech innovations and digital ways to boost businesses.
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