HIGHLIGHTS
  • Healthcare mobile apps enhance the efficiency of clinicians and patient care
  • Diagnostic tools, clinical referencing, collaboration, and telehealth apps are popular
  • Physicians, nurses, lab technicians, and paramedics have adapted to mHealth apps
  • Clinician-facing healthcare apps cannot replace human-centered care
INTRODUCTION

Healthcare mobile apps: new-age tools in the hands of physicians and providers

Clinician-facing healthcare apps, or medical apps as they are known, are software applications that cater to the needs of medical professionals. Such apps promise to revolutionize clinical practices globally.

Healthcare mobile apps streamline processes and enhance the efficiency of clinicians, thereby improving patient care. Thanks to healthcare mobile apps, doctors can access evidence-based guidelines, drug information, lab images, and diagnostic tools at the point of care through their smartphones.

Integrating technology with medical tools, devices, and equipment has given rise to digital healthcare. Mobile health or mHealth is a subset of digital healthcare. It is the practice of medicine and public health that is facilitated by mobile devices such as smartphones (android, iPhone), tablets (iPad), personal digital assistants, smartwatches (wearables like Apple Watch, Fitbit) and wireless infrastructure.

Valued at $ 80.61 billion in 2022, the global mHealth market is expected to reach over $269.31 billion by 2032, with a registered CAGR of 12.3% during the forecast period.

The demand for mHealth is directly proportionate to the number of smartphone users, and in 2022, the apps segment garnered a market share of over 87%, compared to wearables, which was 18%. The monitoring services segment has contributed more than 63% of the market share in 2022, due to the growing geriatric population, demand for chronic disease management and access to remote monitoring.

mHealth surfaced during the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw telemedicine and telehealth accelerating and triggering the proliferation of innovative healthcare-related software applications. The development of clinician-facing healthcare apps paved the way for virtual consultations, expanding the reach of clinicians to remote areas, and enabling them to duck the adverse effect of the virus.

The pandemic may have waned, but healthcare professionals continue to use healthcare mobile apps due to their obvious benefits. Be they doctors, nurses, or paramedics-clinicians are busy individuals who are always on the move. Today, thanks to the over 3,50,000 health apps hosted across different app stores, they are empowered to access patients, data, and healthcare tools where they are and when they want it.

In an earlier blog, we dealt with patient-facing healthcare apps that help people care for their health; this blog will look into medical apps that are new-age tools in the hands of the modern-day physician.

Superior technology and infrastructure will see the mHealth apps market in North America boom                            Source

CATEGORIES

Exploring healthcare mobile apps and their use by medical professionals

Clinical diagnostic apps: These healthcare mobile apps provide healthcare providers with quick access to medical literature, guidelines, and protocols in addition to innovative tools for diagnosis. Medical calculators, drug information, evidence-based references, and clinical decision support are typical content for clinician-facing healthcare apps. They empower them to make informed decisions onside effects, interactions, dosage, safety guidelines, and even sharing patient education material - saving time and reducing stress for the provider.

Examples: Epocrates, Medscape, Dynamed/Micromedex with Watson, UpToDate

Clinical referencing apps: Doctors need to be accurate and efficient, and these healthcare mobile apps help them access a wide range of references, compendiums, dictionaries, and libraries on healthcare matters. Some provide access to thousands of medical journals, searchable with keywords from across different medical specialties, and display related articles. A few allow you to download documentation to Dropbox, and highlight, draw and save text into a PDF document. Consolidating vast medical knowledge with a user-friendly interface, these apps promote proficiency and best practices.

Examples: Omnio, QxMD, Unbound MEDLINE, CASE, Docphin

Productivity and administrative apps: Electronic health records, schedulers, and communication platforms that enable coordination among healthcare team members are also available. These healthcare mobile apps are designed to streamline workflows and optimize practice management, ensuring efficient allocation of resources and timely communication of critical information. Physicians find it easier to navigate EHR/EMR solutions, which provide additional features like appointments, medication prescriptions, patient communication, clinical note-taking, and medical billing.

Examples: Kareo, DrChrono, Epic-Haiku, Connecteam, Cerner Ambulatory

Teleconsultation and medicine prescription: The convenience of access to expert medical advice through video consultation, breaking down geographical barriers has made these apps very popular. Physicians find it convenient to use the integrated prescription feature to electronically prescribe medications directly to pharmacies, streamlining the medication dispensation process and reducing the risk of errors associated with manual prescriptions. These healthcare mobile apps make physicians available 24/7, with an average waiting time of 10 minutes, ensure privacy and security for all online visits, and attend to non-emergency health issues.

Examples: Doctor on Demand, MDLive, Amwell, HealthTap, Teladoc Health

Lab Information and preventive medication apps: Lab information apps provide results of laboratory tests and scans instantly to physicians. An easy-to-access app on the phone can help them take preventive action as soon as an abnormality is reported. With the constantly expanding range of tests and scans, multi-functional lab apps with advanced lab interpretation tools, presenting symptoms, test purpose, high and low-value explanations, and associated symptoms and next steps are very handy. Physicians can also leverage preventive medication features or apps that use algorithms and personalized data to analyze risk factors before choosing a treatment plan.

Examples: VisualDX, LabCorp, MIMS, USPTF, Airstrip Cardiology

Remote monitoring apps: Enabling real-time tracking of patients’ health status, these healthcare mobile apps can be integrated with wearable devices and allow doctors to remotely monitory vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure and glucose levels outside traditional clinical settings. Tracking is through self-reporting, transmitters, sensors, and implants; alerts and alarms linked to app/portal dashboards and wearable smartphones or watches; integration of data collected through hardware and software components - together, they are often offered as remote monitoring platforms and deployed by hospitals and clinics for the benefit of chronically ill, immobile and senior patients.

As they can also be patient-facing, many mobile remote monitoring apps are hybrid -serving both healthcare and medical purposes.

Examples: Philips Care Assist, ResideoLifestream, CoachCare, Dexcom, CardioSignal

Communication and collaboration apps: As medicine advances and patient care evolves, doctors need high inter-disciplinary collaboration, second opinions, and discussions. Physicians contact other specialists and experts over these social network apps to seek information and clear doubts about rare diseases and complications, interpretations of scans and images, and securely network with other physicians. Most of these healthcare mobile apps ensure patient privacy is guarded.

Examples: Sermo, Doximity, Figure 1, Among Doctors, DailyRounds

Continuous learning and student training apps: Many free learning apps comprise specialized information in specific areas of medical studies and research. These healthcare mobile apps immensely benefit students and professionals and contain step-by-step guides on procedures, diagnostic possibilities, and videos of medical examinations and procedures. Some are highly regarded and offer credits for continuing medical education.

Examples: Anesthesiology pocket cards, PEPID, Clinical Cases in Medicine, ShoulderDoc, AOSurgery Reference

BENEFITS

Healthcare mobile apps specific to nurses and paramedics are also popular

The benefits of healthcare mobile apps for physicians are all too obvious:

  • Improved diagnosis and decision-making
  • Enhanced patient care and communication
  • Smooth workflows and administrative efficiency
  • Upskilling and professional development

It is not just doctors who stand to benefit, though. In addition to apps focused on remote patient monitoring, medication administration, and collaboration, nurses can rely on certain apps meant for their exclusive use:

  • Shift handover and patient information sharing for smooth transitions (Examples - NurseGrid, PointClickCare)
  •  Documentation with pre-populated templates for standardized language charting (NurseTouch, QGenda)
  • Updates on nursing guidelines and research (American Nurses Association, American Association of Critical Care Nurses)

Paramedics too can benefit from mobile medical record apps, clinical reference apps, remote monitoring and data transmission apps. Lab technicians have lab workflow management apps, remote test result reporting apps, and laboratory reference apps.

CHALLENGES

Updates, glitches, integration issues, and data input can be irritants

As with most healthcare technology, healthcare mobile apps are not without problems. There is a learning curve involved, and physicians may need to put in more time initially, taking their attention away from patients. Frequent app updates and troubleshooting can place an additional burden on clinicians. In addition, some other irritants include:

  • Lack of intuitive interfaces
  • Complex navigation
  • Lack of user training
  • Digital illiteracy
  • Algorithm bias
  • Lack of human interaction
  • Neglect of clinical judgement
PRECAUTIONS

Inaccuracy is a common impediment to mobile medical app success

The design, development, and use of all healthcare mobile apps should be undertaken with evidence-based backing and precaution. Data privacy and security, regulatory compliance, integration with existing workflows and IT systems, good user experience, and scientific rationale should be the main criteria.

There have been any number of instances where hasty launches, flawed claims, misinterpreted results, and implementation errors have led to the withdrawal or discontinuation of the app.

CONCLUSION

Need to strike a balance between tech use and human knowledge

No doubt, healthcare mobile apps offer great potential to improve healthcare delivery. However, it is imperative to strike a balance between human-centered care and technology-driven treatment pathways to ensure patient safety, optimal outcomes, and a sustainable healthcare system.

WE CAN HELP

Deliver evidence-backed healthcare mobile apps to empower clinicians perform better

Asahi Technologies is a proven healthcare technology solutions provider. Combining our full-stack development expertise with domain knowledge, we deliver industry-specific applications that solve complex health technology challenges.

Our robust healthcare mobile apps ensure healthcare stakeholders are always in touch with each other, even when on the move. We offer a growing range of applications that cover clinical reference and diagnostics, hospital operations management, patient monitoring and management, and healthy living and wellness tracking. API integration is a given, and so interactivity is guaranteed.

We are problem solvers, solution builders, and trusted partners.

Rahul

Rahul

Chief Solutions Architect

Rahul is a wellspring of wisdom when it comes to driving innovation and improving healthcare services using advanced custom software solutions. He specializes in delivering the technical guidance needed to ensure success across the digital product life cycle. His unique problem-solving approach provides the guidance and strong architectural foundation needed to transform digital health services.

Rahul

Rahul

Chief Solutions Architect

Rahul is a wellspring of wisdom when it comes to driving innovation and improving healthcare services using advanced custom software solutions. He specializes in delivering the technical guidance needed to ensure success across the digital product life cycle. His unique problem-solving approach provides the guidance and strong architectural foundation needed to transform digital health services.

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