mHealth Apps Will Transform Patient Care Amidst Digital Disruption

By Admin
Posted on Mon, Apr 14, 2014 @ 7:00 am

iPad_stethoscopeIt is often difficult, although necessary, to find the time to make a trip to the doctor’s office for a medical checkup, test, or treatment. Having to take off work, rearrange schedules or take the kids out of school is sometimes your only option. However, with the digital disruption that is under way today, the traditional process of receiving healthcare is starting to shift in a new direction – one that favors patient convenience and improved care through better technology. With this, patients and those in the healthcare industry will start to see entirely new methods of delivering patient care – through digital means.

Just look around and it’s easy to see how our world is quickly becoming digital, with businesses and consumers embracing smartphones, tablets, and mobile apps in their personal and professional lives. However, it is not just that our world is becoming digitized, with data being converted to digital form, and business processes and interactions now be conducted via digital device. In fact, digital is having a much deeper impact on our world. Digital creates entirely new ways to provide new value to customers of businesses in every industry (Digital Disruption, Forrester Research). It is not just through mobile devices, but also through social, cloud, and data analytics technologies that companies are able to create truly innovative, original digital offerings. These days, compelling software is not simply a “nice-to-have” feature in business. Rather, great digital offerings are now table stakes to even compete in today’s world.

The banking industry is a great example of the direction in which healthcare is headed. One bank estimates 80% of its banking transactions occur via online and mobile today, including bill payments, transfers, and check deposits. That’s because forward-thinking banks saw an opportunity several years ago with the internet and then mobile technology to solve a problem their customers didn’t even know they had—having to go to the bank. Nobody has time to go to the bank, and nobody wants to wait in line. But, in the past, it was necessary. Digital disruptors have changed all this. They found a way to provide new value to customers. By utilizing a smartphone’s camera and integrating its functionality with their mobile banking apps, for example, banks created a way for users to deposit checks via mobile device—how easy is that! Banks were able to recognize that this is The Age of the Customer, and any way that you can make the life of your customer easier is a way to win more of them! Despite the large amount of time, effort, and money that was spent to conduct such a wide-scale change, it was a worthwhile move, as mobile banking is considered a standard in the industry these days.

mHealth Apps Transform PatientJust as the need for visits to brick-and-mortar banking locations has greatly dwindled with the advent of mobile banking, so too will the healthcare industry be affected by the digital disruption. Innovators, many from outside the industry, will find digital solutions to problems that customers didn’t even know could be solved. Not having to go to the doctor’s office to receive a medical evaluation? Not having to go to a lab to get medical tests done? Not having to pay an arm and a leg for routine medical care? These are some of the ways that today’s digital disruptors will shake up the healthcare industry with technology. Indicators of the start of this change include the following mHealth apps:

  • A Prescription-Only Mobile App to Treat Amblyopia

Health 2.0 Berlin details the German app, called Caterna Vision Therapy, and how it provides eye-training exercises for children with amblyopia by stimulating their weaker eye with therapeutic light stimuli on the screen. The stimuli can be adapted to the interests of each child and are presented as a game so children remain focused and engaged. These vision treatment exercises don’t require expensive visits with a vision specialist to perform them, but rather can be experienced from the comfort of the patient’s home and at the patient’s convenience. The app has been proven both to improve patients’ vision and to significantly reduce their time spent wearing an eye patch.

  • A Mobile App That Tests Your Blood

Created by Qloudlab Technology, this soon-to-be-released app is a blood test specifically designed for patients undergoing anticoagulant treatments to prevent blood clots. YahooTech explains how the test works: “The system requires placing a single-use, microstructured plastic layer of film on top of [a mobile] device’s screen…Patients then place one drop of blood on the film via capillary action,” and then the app uses the device’s touchscreen technology to detect a variation of changes in the blood sample, recording any disruptions it finds. The app allows the patient to perform the test at home, on their own time, within a few minutes, rather than having to travel to a lab or hospital every few days for blood monitoring. This kind of at-home testing will expand in the future to include other tests that can make use of a mobile device’s sensors and inexpensive device attachments, giving patients a greatly desired convenience, giving doctors a way to receive digital results instantly, and giving insurance companies a way to provide certain medical tests cheaper.

Look for our next blog post for two more mHealth examples on how digital is transforming this industry and for ways to build better mHealth apps!

 

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