Our last post, “mHealth Apps Will Transform Patient Care Amidst Digital Disruption” introduced the major impact that today’s Digital Disruption is having and will have on the healthcare industry. A number of recent mHealth apps are paving the way for effective, inexpensive digital forms of patient treatment and care. Read on for more mHealth app examples, and see how they are changing the rules of the game for the healthcare industry!
- Mobile Apps to Track Sleep Patterns
An astonishing 113 million people in America describe themselves as “sleep concerned”, meaning they have trouble getting a restful night’s sleep (Digital Disruption, Forrester Research). Many of these people never do anything about it though because sleep studies to analyze sleep patterns and determine treatments are extremely expensive and require a full night spent at a hospital or lab. New, convenient ways of tracking sleep with wristbands and bedding, such as aXbo and Beddit, that integrate with your mobile device, are providing an easier and much cheaper way for concerned sleepers to get valuable data on their sleep habits. As time goes on and the capabilities of these trackers and their software get more advanced, they could replace the need altogether for expensive and difficult overnight sleep studies, as all the data could instead be collected at home by oneself and then interpreted by advanced software.
- A Prescription-Only Mobile App to Treat Diabetes
BlueStar, the first prescription-only mobile app in the US, is meant to help those living with type 2 diabetes by providing real-time coaching, support, and education. A recent article by mHealthNews explains how, “at present, BlueStar takes into consideration the patient’s medical history, current glucose readings and treatment regime, as well as the current medications before dispensing its advice.” Additionally, by utilizing the latest technology in big data analytics, this app could have the power to interpret millions upon millions of bits of random health data, looking for patterns and then extracting relevant and valuable insights for the patient. It could aggregate and analyze the patient’s health data with the data accessible in millions of medical books and publications to potentially provide diabetes patients with an optimal, personalized treatment plan.
With an app like this, digital is going beyond just providing a new ease and convenience and is actually improving patient care. In 2012 Jason Jacobs, CEO of Runkeeper, predicted, “Your phone will soon be your new doctor”. If mobile apps can actually analyze a patient’s unique situation through big data analytics, apps may indeed soon play the role of doctor by accurately determining the best course of patient care. Compiling patient medical history, test results, and current treatments, and then searching through the gigantic mass of information in medical reference materials, apps can find a solution that’s custom tailored to each patient and direct the best course of care for them.
Because of all the new value that digital can provide in the healthcare industry, businesses are finding that they must now treat their software with the same care as they do their underlying products or services (“Software Must Enrich Your Brand”, Forrester Research). And they are realizing that this software must be top-quality. Look no further than the national rollout of the Affordable Care Act this past October, and it is easy to see how bad software can instantly damage a brand or ogranization. Good software is now integral to the success of a healthcare company, as we see the healthcare industry being rapidly disrupted by our digital world. Customer needs and expectations are rising fast. If healthcare companies don’t find a way to provide digital value, innovators and disruptors from outside the industry will find a way to break in and do so. We are living in The Age of the Customer, and whoever delivers on customer needs, including the needs they don’t even realize they have yet, will come out on top in this disruption.
But providing digital value is not as easy as simply building a mobile app that integrates with your products or services. There are thousands upon thousands of medical apps out there, most of which provide little in terms of real medical value to the customer. Look for our next blog on how to design healthcare apps with true value in order to avoid the digital dumpster!