HIGHLIGHTS
  • After COVID-19, the use of healthcare mobile apps has increased
  • Mobile apps that drive fitness and wellness are in demand
  • Involving clinicians in healthcare mobile app development achieves better results
  • Regulatory compliance is essential to keep mobile healthcare apps safe
INTRODUCTION

Healthcare mobile applications are quite the rage in the US

We have witnessed a boom in the use of healthcare mobile applications in the post-COVID-19 years across the US. As over six billion smartphone users turn to the convenience and accessibility of healthcare mobile apps, the market size, estimated at $18.65 billion in 2024, is expected to reach $100.66 billion by 2029, growing at a CAGR of 40.11%.

The North American market is expected to dominate as the target population is enormous: the rising geriatric population and chronic disease patients (coronary heart diseases, atrial fibrillation, stroke, hypertension, and diabetes). Thanks to growing health awareness, rising healthcare expenditures, increasing healthcare technology adoption, and a shift from clinic-centric care to patient-centric care, healthcare mobile app development companies are innovating new solutions, too.

Today, healthcare mobile app development is a vibrant market segment with many choices ranging from fitness and wellness tracking to chronic disease management and mental health support. Though there are web-based and hybrid applications, mobile healthcare applications dominate as there are distinct advantages over “native” apps (downloaded and installed on the phone).

  • Offline access: Can function without internet access, and patients can access features and data when and where needed - important for critical health information and emergency situations.
  • Push notifications: Patients can receive messages and alerts directly on their phones, promoting medication adherence, appointment scheduling, and timely healthcare interventions.
  • Enhanced security: Device-specific security features, including fingerprint and facial recognition, can be leveraged by native apps, allowing more robust data protection and user authentication.
  • Device integration: Native apps can access sensors and hardware features like GPS, camera, and microphone, enabling features such as remote patient monitoring, activity tracking, and symptom measurement.
SEGMENTATION

Self-management drives mobile app development and use

The sense of empowerment and self-management it lends has patients experimenting with various healthcare apps. Mobile apps for healthcare follow clear segmentation and can be broadly classified as:

Fitness and wellness apps: The most popular appstrack activity, movement, dietary habits, and other lifestyle behaviors. Some are designed to help you set fitness goals; others track calories burned daily; some act as personal trainers with suggestions for new workouts and expert fitness advice, and other apps let you join a supportive community and stay motivated. Apps that focus on nutrition, sleep, meditation, and activity tracking are labeled wellness apps. While most apps encourage physical activity and healthy eating habits, over-reliance on app-generated recommendations may harm individual needs. Also, privacy concerns exist as they collect and use personal health data.

Examples: Fitbit, MyFitnessPal, Freeletics, Calm, Headspace

Reminders and self-diagnosis apps: These tools ensure medication adherence and help initial health assessments. They are powerful aids that make patients proactive in healthcare management. They are designed to send timely reminders to patients to take medications, track adherence rates, and facilitate early detection of health issues through symptom checks. However, they should not be used without professional oversight as misinterpretation of symptoms and delayed medical interventions can cause anxiety and harm health.

Examples: Medisafe, PocketRx, WebMD, Mayo Clinic, MangoHealth

Mental health and addiction recovery apps: Apps that provide support and resources to patients with mental health conditions and substance abuse offer anonymity and flexibility, reducing the stigma associated with these issues. Features such as mood tracking, therapy sessions, and recovery support groups promote mental well-being. Cognitive behavior therapy and evidence-based games and activities are provided as tools for coping strategies outside traditional therapy settings and self-management. While under served communities can benefit from mindfulness apps that reduce stress, inappropriate treatment without a doctor’s guidance and in-person therapy can be self-defeating.

Examples: Happify, Sanvello, Nomo, AlcoDroid, Quit Genius

Chronic disease management apps: Such apps cater to patients with long-term health conditions and debilitating diseases. Diabetics, asthmatics, hypertension patients, and those suffering from Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia can benefit from remote monitoring, medication adherence reminders, balance training tools, therapeutic animations, music therapy, and patient engagement features in these apps. They empower patients to manage chronic conditions with good communication. and progress tracking. However, without integration with electronic health records, healthcare providers cannot use the app data. There could be misinterpretation of health metrics if there is no data accuracy.

Examples: Glucose Buddy, Lumosity, SingFit, Nymbl, StudyMyTremor

Physical health and rehabilitation apps: Those recovering from serious accidents or injuries and undergoing rehabilitation receive guidance from these apps. The convenience of access, real-time monitoring and feedback, and interactive features promote quick healing and recovery. These apps encourage adherence to prescribed rehabilitation protocols, including exercise with customizable timers, instructions, diet, and rest. While the apps can provide patient education, individual rehabilitation needs may not be met as personalization is limited. Also, lack of supervision by qualified healthcare professionals may lead to over-exertion and improper techniques that harm.

Examples: PT Timer, Orca Health, MedBridge Go, Exer Health, Omada Joint and Muscle Health

Sleep disorder apps: These apps aim to improve sleep quality and address problems like sleep apnea and insomnia. They track sleep patterns and provide personalized tips on sleep hygiene, sleep debt, and relaxation techniques. Sleep stories, sounds, light exercises, guided breathing and meditation, and a wide selection of music are included as features. Some apps are bundled with smart devices, such as lights that provide ambient lighting and sunset and sunlight alarms that sync with your circadian rhythm; there are companion apps, such as sensor-enabled headbands that track sleep stages -light, REM, and deep. These apps provide insights into factors that affect sleep quality and offer recommendations to optimize the sleep environment. They may not fully or accurately diagnose underlying causes of sleep disorders, though.

Example: Sleep Reset, Sleep Cycle, Your App, Hatch, Rise Science Sleep Tracker

BENEFITS

Healthcare mobile apps educate patients on treatment

Healthcare mobile applications help patients manage their health, access information, and connect with providers anytime, anywhere. Tech-savvy patients enjoy many benefits by downloading and using these smartphone apps.

Convenience: Patients can get the help they need at the click of a button on their phones.

Accessibility: It is not necessary to travel a distance to monitor health when remote services are available.

Empowerment: Patients feel in control of their body and mind, as they can track symptoms and monitor progress.

Communication: It is possible to communicate with doctors, share medical records securely, and clarify doubts.

Education: Patients can learn more about preventive steps, treatment pathways, and alternate lifestyles.

Community: Patients can reach out to others suffering from the same or similar ailments and share information.

Cost-effectiveness: Mobile healthcare apps provide low-cost options for patients for medical consultations, reminders, home health services, and basic remote monitoring.

Disadvantages

While the advantages are many, relying on mobile healthcare applications beyond a certain point is not advisable. Some risks are involved, and patients should be aware of the constraints of mobile healthcare apps.

Limited functionality: Mobile healthcare apps cannot be used to make a final diagnosis, prescribe treatment plans, or perform medical procedures, especially for life-threatening diseases and long-duration illnesses.

Shaky reliability: As health is based on individual parameters, generalizations used by symptom checkers may not always lead to accurate diagnoses.

Compromised privacy: As data breaches may occur despite security measures, concerns around confidentiality remain due to data sharing. The fear of misuse of information lurks.

Blind faith: Some patients may trust the app too much and indulge in self-misdiagnosis and wrong medications.

Digital divide: Literacy barriers may lead to haves and have-nots, while some sections of society may be deprived due to lack of access to technology and affordability issues.

REGULATION

Low-risk healthcare mobile apps also need to follow rules

Anyone who develops a healthcare mobile application that accesses, collects, shares, uses, or stores information related to a patient’s health must check the provisions under many US laws and ensure compliance. They include:

  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Rules
  • Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act)
  • 21st Century Cures Act and ONC Information Blocking Regulations
  • Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act)
  • FTC’s Health Breach Notification Rule
  • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
CONCLUSION

Protect patient consumers from deceptive claims

With the rise of AI and ML, there is scope for personalized diagnoses, targeted interventions, and improved predictive capabilities. So, you can expect to see more sophisticated healthcare mobile apps in the near future. The involvement of subject matter experts is a must to ensure effectiveness, safety, and adherence to ethical concerns. With the participation of clinicians, healthcare mobile apps are destined to be developed with evidence-based content, better patient education materials, sharper real-world insights, and compliance with medical guidelines and best practices.

WE CAN HELP

Make healthcare mobile app development a universal health coverage mission

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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