With the steady rise in smartphone use, many industries are turning to technology to help engage their customers. Healthcare is no different. Over 80% of patients are using smartphones and, because of this, mobile health apps (mHealth) are gaining popularity. Studies show that 64% of medical professionals are using mHealth on a monthly basis, and 78% of smartphone users are interested in mobile health apps.
While interest in mHealth is high, a clear direction for broader healthcare-related apps still has not been defined. There are seemingly limitless options and features that mobile technology can offer, which makes it difficult to navigate. However, it is apparent that mHealth, even on the most basic level, can offer benefits to both patients and practices.
What can mHealth offer my patients?
Mobile apps can give patients convenience, engagement, and easy access to reliable information about their health. Mhealth apps allow for quicker and more convenient scheduling options, access to records, communication with doctors, and more. Patients using mhealth also have the opportunity to be more engaged and involved in their health, empowering them to be more successful in continuing healthy habits.
Additionally, mHealth apps allow patients to receive information on their health directly from their doctor, in an easily accessible format. Patients often seek information from the web or other possibly unreliable sources to diagnose themselves or gain more information on their health before seeing a doctor. Instead, mHealth users can stay updated on health topics of their choice and be assured that the information is factual.
What can mHealth offer my practice?
While many doctors express concern that mHealth may reduce time spent with patients, apps can actually assist doctors in offering better service, increased engagement, and more quality face time with patients.
Providing more convenient options for patient scheduling and communication is a benefit for patients and practices. Apps allow quick and easy responses to scheduling requests as well as appointment reminders, giving patients better and more attentive service in less time.
Doctors can engage customers outside of the office with mHealth by sending educational information, surveys, and special offers for recommended products. These features allow for the administrative work to be done more efficiently and outside of a patient visit, so time with the patient is spent focused.
The adoption of mHealth can be beneficial to all parties, not to replace doctor-patient interaction, but to enhance it and continue the communication between scheduled visits.