There are two true things about modern living: well all require healthcare at some point, and we're all addicted to our smartphones. That's why phone-based health apps are thriving, with nearly 325,000 that were available for download in 2017.
Mobile health, or mHealth, apps are quickly becoming a must for any health-based business to stand out in the marketplace. These apps can provide a number of benefits for users, from around-the-clock convenience to privacy regarding sensitive health issues. mHealth apps range from general health services, like Doctor on Demand, to apps that target a particular concern, like getting kids to brush their teeth. They target users by age, geography, medical condition, and even body part.
MHealth apps succeed because they recognize the unique health concerns of each user. A patient might have limited physical mobility or live in a remote area, but with health apps, the doctor can come to them in the digital version of a house call.
Perhaps a patient has a medical problem that’s too embarrassing for a face-to-face consultation — an anonymous app can make the difference between getting help or ignoring a potentially dangerous health problem. With an mHealth app designed by a development team — such as Guaraná Technologies - that utilizes a democratized design process, staying in close contact with clients at every step of the process, mHealth apps can be designed the right way the first time, allowing for the greatest user retention, and thus making the largest difference.
The use of well-designed mobile communication tools generates greater patient engagement, meaning that individuals are more focused on improving their health by staying true to a healthy, physician-recommended diet, continuing to stick with exercise routines, as well as adhering to medical schedules and follow-up appointments with their doctors.
The benefits of mHealth apps aren’t just for patients, though. The healthcare industry can expand its patient reach, explore new technologies, and save money, too. A 2017 study by the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science showed that the use of mHealth apps could result in a combined annual savings of $7 billion US in five areas (diabetes prevention, diabetes care, asthma, cardiac rehabilitation and pulmonary rehabilitation).
Consider Doximity, a social networking app design for healthcare professions. Similar to LinkedIn, this app allows users to manage careers, stay in touch with colleagues and other professionals, and be kept better abreast of the medical help zeitgeist online. The app uses a secure platform in compliance with HIPAA guidelines, enabling physicians across multiple disciplines and specializations to collaborate via text on difficult cases, as well as identify experts for patient referrals. It is the largest professional healthcare network available, with over 70% of American physicians registered as members.
The mHealth field continues to expand, and is predicted to reach a market size of $60 billion US by 2020. Businesses in all aspects of the health industry, from nutrition to psychiatry to medical supplies, can see their business grow by including a mobile health app as part of their development plan.
Here are the top medical and health apps available on Android:
1. Weight Watchers Mobile (Weight Watchers International)
2. White Noise Lite (TMSoft)
3. Lose It! (FitNow)
Meanwhile the top health apps at the Apple store include:
1. Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker (MyFitnessPal.com)
2. Weight Watchers Mobile (Weight Watchers International)
3. White Noise Lite (TMSoft)
Creating an mHealth app requires the right combination of medical, technological and business knowledge, so working with the right app developer is key to getting your app noticed and downloaded on the Android and Apple stores. The Food and Drug Administration has also released guidelines for creating ethical mHealth apps, a growing concern as legislation in this area is still being created.
While proper medical ethics should be the foremost concern, health apps also allow for creative and fun ways to engage users. Zombies, Run!, for example, is a fitness app that turns exercise into an adventurous escape from the undead. As a business seeking to both improve patient health and attract clients, there are nearly unlimited ways to build your mHealth app, and a detailed business plan together with a professional app developer can turn your ideas into reality.