Developing a Mobile Health App in 2019: What Patients Really Want?

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Sep 2019
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Author : Michael Georgiou
mHealth App Development for patients

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Providing medical solutions through mobile health apps is an increasingly popular trend in 2019 for the healthcare world. Individual healthcare providers and organizations are using mHealth apps to improve the quality of services and promote self-management behaviors in patients.

Patients are more than willing to use healthcare apps as they provide convenience. More and more people are using mHealth apps to schedule an appointment, review prescriptions, and connect to doctors through a video call for online diagnosis. 

However, although the apps are intended to improve the overall health of the patients, the majority of mHealth apps fail to match the patient’s expectations. 

According to the app usage data, most of the healthcare apps have less than 10,000 downloads. There are more than 400,000 healthcare apps available in the app stores, but very few of them have succeeded.

It’s such an enigmatic scenario; why are people who have shown so much interest in health apps shying away from downloading the apps provided by hospitals?

The more pertinent question is – what do patients really look for in a healthcare app? Let’s see.

What Do Patients Want in a Mobile Healthcare App in 2019?

Patients mostly look for the three most basic functionalities – the ability to schedule/cancel an appointment, the ability to request prescriptions, and easy access to medical records. 

The data suggests that only 11% of the hospital apps offer one of the above functionalities. What’s more concerning is that hospitals are able to engage only 2% of the patients on healthcare apps. 

You see, when it comes to healthcare apps, it’s all about providing functionalities in the most user-friendly way possible. This might seem pretty straightforward, but in reality, very few healthcare apps have successfully implemented these two critical components.  

Based on the data, it’s clear that healthcare organizations have an incredible opportunity to improve patient satisfaction through mobile apps. Below are some tips that will help you understand what patients really want in a healthcare app.

1. Easy Access to Functionalities

It’s good to have unique functionalities in your healthcare app, but the basic features should be easily accessible. Patients will not use the app that adds to the time they spend on caring for themselves.

“Right now (and we do mean right now), consumers are looking for the basics in mHealth access. We want to make it as simple as possible for patients to navigate,” says Dr. Peter Fleischut, CIO at NewYork-Presbyterian.

Patients look for an app that helps them save time on booking, changing, or canceling the doctor’s appointment. If your mobile app requires patients to spend a long time to figure out how it works, they’ll no longer use your app. 

Whether it’s about booking an appointment or scheduling an online diagnosis, a successful mobile healthcare app provides easy access to all the necessary functionalities. It should save a tremendous amount of time and effort.

2. Detailed, Actionable Information

From the app downloads statistics, it looks like patients are quite receptive to healthcare user applications and platforms. Patients are downloading these apps because they provide something positive in return. Providing information just for the sake of it will not make your app successful.   

Patients want to learn about their condition, its causes, and then take action based on the available opportunities. Your healthcare app should be designed in such a way that it would seamlessly walk patients through the pool of information about a specific condition. 

Make sure you use interactive tools and layman’s terms to keep patients engaged with your app.

3. Easy Communication with Professionals

The mobile healthcare app should allow patients to interact with healthcare professionals easily. According to the study, roughly 75% of hospital visits are very basic and can be handled over the phone or video call. 

Providing a platform where users can interact with doctors can help patients and doctors alike. Telehealth services help patients save time and efforts on hospital visits and allow doctors to serve their patients on a more personal level. 

“Medical boards and medical associations were hesitant about embracing telehealth; physicians were concerned about diminishing the relationship they have with patients. But the experiences with telehealth during the last couple of years have been reassuring, and telehealth increasingly has become one of the ways physicians interact with patients,” says Roy Schoenberg, CEO of American Well, one of the leading telehealth company in the US. 

Again, make sure that these functions are easily accessible to the end-users.

4. Patient Community

The mobile health app should allow patients to connect and interact with one another. 

According to a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, providing a social platform to patients is a powerful way to enhance health behaviors. More than 56% of the 217 users surveyed found that the social feature in-app increased their belief that other people wanted them to lead a healthy routine.

When an individual is diagnosed with a particular illness or disease, he or she would most likely want to connect with people diagnosed with a similar condition. 

It helps patients feel comfortable and part of a supportive community. It can be a great tool to keep patients engaged with your healthcare app.

5. Simple Yet Amazing Digital Experience

Modern consumers expect a smooth and elegant user experience. Data shows that 90% of the mHealth apps are NOT regularly used once they’re downloaded. It can certainly be due to poor user experience. 

In fact, about 21% of millennials tend to delete an app if it offers poor digital experience.

Mobile healthcare apps that provide attractive data visualization are much more likely to retain and engage patients. 

Users typically prefer pages and designs that have soothing colors. Also, make sure to keep your target audience in mind while designing the overall appearance. For example, if you’re targeting older people, your app should have bigger icons and larger texts.

6. Integration with Wearable Devices

Wearable devices such as health trackers and smartwatches are all the rage. According to a new study by Juniper Research, the healthcare wearables market will reach $20 billion by 2023. 

The faster adoption rate offers an excellent opportunity to develop a healthcare app that can be easily integrated with wearable devices. The wearable device can gather critical data such as heart rate, blood sugar, tremors, posture control, sleep patterns, and physical activities. This data can help patients learn more about their fitness routine and provide more control over their health. 

Top Performing Patient-Focused Healthcare Apps in the US

Among thousands of healthcare apps, you will find some apps far more valuable to improve the way you manage your health. From appointment scheduling to medication reminders and finding your medical records, these apps allow you more control over your health at your convenience. 

Some top-performing healthcare apps in the US include: 

1. ZocDoc

If you’re tired of waiting for long periods to get an appointment, the ZocDoc app can help help you. The app is endorsed by MTI College and Becker’s Hospital Review. It reduces the hassles of making an appointment with the doctor by providing an instant online booking feature. 

2. Medisafe

Medisafe app sends notifications on your smartphone at the exact time you’re supposed to take your medicines. This app works as a “virtual pillbox.” Patients who use Medisafe have experienced incredible health improvements as it allows them to take medications on time precisely as directed. 

3. Amwell

“Telehealth can bridge the gap between supply and demand in healthcare,” says Roy Schoenberg, CEO of American Well. 

Powered by American Well, Anwell is one of the popular telehealth apps in the US. The app offers healthcare services round the clock and without any appointments. Using the app, patients can book a virtual urgent care appointment and instantly connect to a real doctor for face-to-face interaction through a video call.

An Experienced Technology Partner for Healthcare App Development

The healthcare industry is adopting new technologies faster than ever. Understanding what patients want in a mobile app is one thing and developing a mobile health app in line with those requirements is another game altogether. 

If you’re a healthcare service provider and looking to develop an incredible mHealth app, get in touch with us. We are an award-winning team of web and mobile application developers with vast experience in emerging technologies like AI and IoMT (Internet of Medical Things).

Got an awesome mobile health app idea, send us an email us now to book a free consultation.

 

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