A few years ago, some people would have argued that mobile app development technology had little or no impact on healthcare. Today, that argument cannot stand. Mobile applications have transformed the two sides of healthcare; the consumers, i.e., the patients and the health service providers whether physicians or hospitals.
Statistics show that 51% and 78% of physicians use tablets and smartphones respectively to provide healthcare. Similarly, 83% of health care workers agreed that mobile technology had impacted positively on the way medical treatment is provided.
The expectation of 50% of consumers is for mobile technology to change their health management process.
Dr. Eric J. Topol, a renowned medical researcher, and cardiologist, believe that so long as there is a mobile signal, the capacity for delivering better healthcare is enhanced.
We will be taking a look at the reason for the inevitability of mobile technology in the healthcare industry and how it simplifies healthcare services and management.
Before now, people seeking medical care had to at best, make appointments with Doctors over the phone. However today, many healthcare providers have their own mobile applications on which they can easily schedule or reschedule appointments.
Which such apps, the patient can easily and quickly choose the Doctor he/she wants to visit, check their availability and book the date and time of the appointment.
You probably never thought that booking an appointment would be this smooth, did you?
Mobile technology has also made it possible that you no longer need to solely rely on doctors or nutritionists in the management of your health condition. There are many tracking applications to choose from, which provide easy health management services.
For example, to see a Doctor in the past, diabetic patients had to make appointments, visit the hospital, run some tests and then wait for the results. But now, on their own, they can easily record their glucose levels and send the results to the specialist concerned.
Considering the time and money saved and the convenience mobile app development provides, this is indeed a remarkable advancement.
Amazingly, many other mobile applications help in simplifying health management. Including period tracking applications that help women monitor their menstrual cycles.
Also, with smartphone-enabled ECG devices, patients can now monitor and log data about their heart beat rate.
Mobile technology is not just helping with Tracking, is just one area in which app development is transforming the health sector. Another area is that of medication reminders. Presently there are many medication reminder apps. With such reminders, diabetic patients for example can be reminded when to do the glucose test and how to manage their meal plan.
Studies show that with such reminders and notifications, patients are more likely to avoid chronic illnesses, expensive hospital bills and also be proper managers of their health.
People who are or feel overweight can use Fitbit or other wearable technology to lose weight or beginning personal exercises.
Mobile app developers have designed several dedicated healthcare apps with remote reporting features. These apps are used to foster constant communication between patients and Doctors whether in times of sickness or in health.
Healthcare practitioners can use the reports to identify potentially dangerous changes in the patient’s health when they fall sick. As a matter of fact, these mobile apps can identify illnesses even before they start showing symptoms.
This is beneficial for both physicians and patients. It would help practitioners provide a more effective treatment as the ailment was diagnosed earlier.
In addition, the patients would not need to wait until critical signs begin to manifest before seeking for assistance and support in managing their health.
Also, clinics adopt mobile technology for sundry reasons, including patient information research, electronic prescribing educating and training, research and clinical information.
Having discussed how mobile technology is transforming healthcare delivery, let us take a look at how some healthcare facilities around the world are leveraging on this advancement.
Qualcomm, the US National Institutes of Health and Northern Arizona Healthcare (NAH) came together in 2011 for a project whose aim was to ascertain whether or not mobile health services could improve healthcare and reduce expenditures in rural populations.
Home monitors were provided for 50 people with congestive heart failure who were also suffering from diabetes or other chronic illnesses. The instrument measured heart rate, blood pressure, level of oxygen, and weight. The result was sent to NAH through an internet-enabled mobile device.
Each patient was monitored closely for about three months. Doctors and nurses were available to offer medical advice and other required assistance using the data. And, the result was amazing!
Potential health issues were identified before they became critical. And the patients were made to understand that although they showed symptoms of many ailments, many of the symptoms they showed may not have been as a result of life-threatening conditions.
On the average, the number of patients that stayed in a hospital decreased from 14 to five, and saved over $90,000 per person!
It is no news that China has always struggled to provide quality healthcare to the rural population. However, the story changed for the better when they adopted and initiated mobile health projects.
An example of such projects is the Wireless Heart Health project. At the commencement of the project, 11,000 patients with heart diseases were given smartphone-enabled heart sensors, and the data was shared among 96 community doctors. The Doctors reviewed the data and periodically communicated with the patients via phone calls or text.
It was discovered that about 1,100 of them had severe cardiovascular problems that required more tests and examination in clinics. Those patients were discovered through mobile technology.
In addition to the above, many other cases studies abound, which gives credence to the massive improvements orchestrated by mobile app development technologies in the health sector.
In New Zealand for example, by just using mobile SMS, researchers improved health outcomes.
Also, in Kenya, HIV patients are being tracked and encouraged to take their medication regularly using mobile technology.
Mobile healthcare is transforming the way people with life-threatening diseases communicate with health professionals. With mobile applications, patients can be reminded to take their drugs at the right times. Patients can also use them for medical record keeping/tracking. These reports could be electronically sent to the Doctors. Most importantly, instead of spending time and money to book appointments, patients can easily set up routine checks with Doctors on their mobile devices.
As a result of the transformation caused my mobile technology in healthcare, start-ups, as well as mobile app developers, are working tirelessly to improve health monitoring and health care delivery.