Posted by:Shyam Deval April 5th, 2016

Success is critical for many organizations that try new technologies which in turn changes the conventional way of doing things. The healthcare industry has been constantly changing and evolving and is no exception.

One of the most sought after technology is that of mobile phone usage in healthcare. Mobile Health (mHealth) has been around for a while at last count, there were more than 1, 65,000 apps in iStore and Play store. That being said, not all the apps are success stories (Only 12% of the apps have consumer downloads)

This is a staggering stat. Does this mean there is no requirement for these health apps? Are consumers not interested in the apps out there? Is healthcare industry environment still hesitant to change?Before answering these questions, let us look at a few apps which were successful and try to analyze the reasons behind their success.

Less Is More – Northwestern Medicine- My NM Mychart App

“You don’t want every bit of data about how many steps someone has taken each day to go in. You need to use analytics and business intelligence to present a summary that is integrated and useful ”-Associate Chief Officer of Innovation, Northwestern Medicine Chicago.

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Like many hospitals, this app gives patients access to portions of patient medical records, access to lab reports, lets users submit prescription refill requests etc. This app is used by more than half of its patient base.

This app is successful (other than the fact that it is built well) because –

  • The app solves a major problem faced by patients in hospitals today. The necessity of one point access to patient health records is the need of the hour. The digital and mobile access version as in this app, not only reduces the burden of maintaining such critical documents, but provides greater privacy and security
  • Secondly as mentioned above it is very important to determine what data needs to be collected
The app has been selective in providing access to EMR data. It is very important to decide what data is necessary and useful and what is not, especially in a mobile context.

Medical Calculators and how they are making the life of physicians easy  Medical Calculators are something used in high frequency by physicians. There are multiple free apps which do this but Calculate by QXMD is probably the best comprehensive app out there.

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The app can be used for a wide variety of calculations in different areas of medicine. The app includes more than 200 calculators and decision support tools. The app includes basic BMI calculators to Bishop Score’s calculator. There is also a calculator for various specialties.

The app is successful because:

  • Actual Need: Such a calculator provides relevant, real value to physicians. Physicians are always mobile and such a scenario demands a resource like this.
The app also provides useful related information and features.

Patient Communication made easy –In Cardiology

The biggest challenge for physicians and care providers would be to explain complex medical conditions to an untutored patient. This is very important because patients try to collect information from external sources which rather then helping them, ends up confusing them. Take the example of complex heart conditions.

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Physicians need to explain the condition in a manner that can be understood by a patient who has limited understanding of medical terminology.

DrawMD- an app can be used by cardiologist to explain heart conditions using drawing and visual tools.

The app has features like stamp which will allow doctor to draw over the existing image which can be further edited and modified accordingly.

This app is successful because

  • Patient Communication is critical and has to be carried out in a systematic mannerEducating through visual aids will simplify the entire process for patients and physicians
  • App is user friendly and reduces the resources required for such an explanation
Now coming back to the questions we asked first.

mHealth will be only successful when it solves actual problems. Be it patient engagement, or physician support, the app should act as an enabler. Secondly, hospitals have to look at how mHealth will improve the efficiency of their operations, engagement and treatment. If it is done right, mobile health can be truly a game changer.

What are your thoughts? Let me know with your comments below!

Here is your roadmap to a successful mHealth Strategy!Download the infogrpahic to know more!

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