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Customer Emotion & Sentiment

6 Ways Healthcare Apps Have Changed the Medical Industry

Ashley Sefferman  //  December 10, 2020  //  5 min read

Healthcare apps experienced a boom in 2020, with no signs of future slowdown. About 20 percent of all medical visits will be conducted via telemedicine this year, resulting in a financial value of more than $29.3 billion. Investment in apps as part of digital transformation strategies have shot back up in priority for medical businesses in every category.

The combination of clinical data and advanced mobile features continues to be a powerful tool, and consumer adoption is at an all-time high.

Here are six ways healthcare apps have changed the medical industry and will continue to do so in the coming years.

1. Expanded access to medical care

Consumers prefer convenience, and healthcare is no exception.

When setting up a doctor’s appointment, patients typically need to find a physician through their network, call to book the appointment, and schedule a time where they can physically be seen. Healthcare apps remove the physical barrier and allow patients to connect with quality medical care digitally, eliminating wait time, travel time, and rescheduling delays.

Healthcare apps for patients

Increased access to qualified medical professionals through apps has drastically improved the consumer experience, and it’s also allowed healthcare providers to reduce their overhead costs. It’s also estimated that approximately 70 percent of all health problems can be handled online, and digital access can help decrease wait time.

Some health insurance companies are already starting to take note of these benefits. For examples, the healthcare app LiveHealth uses real-time video to connect doctors and patients remotely for easy-to-resolve consultations. This technology will help reduce wait times, allow for better prioritization of appointments on behalf of physicians, and could increase patient intake due to ease of use.

2. Focus on patient-centric healthcare

From educating expectant mothers to helping patients understand what to expect before a routine surgery, healthcare apps continue to help medical practices increase their consumer satisfaction scores.

Especially with regard to accessing personal health information, healthcare apps help companies put their patients at the center of the process. Many patients feel like they have little control over their medical experiences, and access to their information helps ensure transparency and ease fears—oftentimes resulting in improved overall satisfaction with the end-to-end medical experience.

Yet healthcare apps do bring technological hurdles, especially for older, less tech-savvy patients who are not used to managing their medical needs digitally. As with any app, it’s crucial that healthcare apps act as a listening tool and provide the features and functionality that their consumers want by listening to and acting on their feedback.

3. Better remote patient monitoring

Improved remote patient monitoring has been made much easier thanks to healthcare apps. When a device is always with you (read: our phones!), it makes keeping track of your health much simpler.

Internet-connected scales, glucose monitors, blood pressure cuffs, sleep monitors, and more have the ability to help medical professionals get a holistic understanding of our wellbeing—and diagnose what might be off.

Healthcare apps for medical workers

“For chronic conditions like heart failure, atrial fibrillation and diabetes, the ability to monitor the patient’s condition remotely not only enhances the quality of care, it also improves clinical efficiency. And, it can substantially reduce healthcare costs,” says Robert Ford, Executive Vice President of Medical Devices, Abbott.

A rise in remote patient monitoring is already starting to pay off: A recent study by the VA showed a 25% reduction in bed days of care; a 19% reduction in hospital admissions; and 86% patient satisfaction scores when using remote patient monitoring.

4. Improved data sharing

This year, we’ve been able to track COVID-19 test results through apps. Apple’s Health app allows consumers to visualize and store their health records, aggregating data from multiple institutions alongside their patient-generated data. The Apple Watch can now detect falls, calls for help, changes to your heart rate, and more.

Through the improvements to these healthcare apps and those like them, a more holistic view of patients has begun to emerge—as well as the trend of reinvesting into and modernizing IT infrastructures of state and federal healthcare agencies.

The easier we make it to share our healthcare data with qualified professionals, the fewer instances of human error we’re likely to see in the future. And the more control consumers will have over their own healthcare futures.

5. Inclusion of mental health care

Mobile apps are lessening the burden of finding accessible, quality mental health services—and we expect the trend to continue to grow.

COVID-19’s impact forced many employees to work at home in isolating environments. That isolation, coupled with the myriad other stressors we’ve faced in 2020, have led to an increased awareness of how tech can be leveraged remotely to help people cope with depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, and more. And healthcare apps are stepping up.

Healthcare apps for mental health

Mental health apps like Calm, Headspace, and Betterhelp have surged in downloads, ratings, and reviews in recent months. Inc.’s 2020 Best Workplaces list reveals many top employers have also been taking action to improve their employee’s access to mental health care, like subsidizing therapy bills, holding internal trainings around how to leverage mental healthcare apps covered by their insurance plans, and granting stipends for wellness services.

Consumers and employers alike are doing more to support mental health, which is a positive for everyone.

6. Stopping the spread of disease

Healthcare apps have also had a role in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Apple and Google partnered early on in the pandemic to help with contract tracing. Both companies released APIs that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities, which are available for consumers to download via their respective app stores.

Although voluntary use is still lagging, this technology opens the door to help prevent future outbreaks as well as slowing the spread of COVID-19 as we head into 2021.

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The changes outlined above are all driven by the same thing: patient needs changed, and medical businesses are responding to the changes by prioritizing investment in their healthcare apps.

Of course, Apptentive would love to help you better understand what your patients want, but we want to understand your needs to see where we can be of service, even if it means pointing you in a different direction. Get in touch to let us help, or leave your thoughts in the comments below for us to get a conversation going.

About Ashley Sefferman

Ashley Sefferman is Head of Content at Apptentive. A digital communication and content strategy enthusiast, she writes about multichannel engagement strategies, customer communication, and making the digital world a better place for people. Follow Ashley on Twitter at @ashseff.
View all posts by Ashley Sefferman >

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