Healthcare is maybe one of the most innovative spheres at all. Every day some new techniques appear and new software is being developed. It is a great sign for all of us. The more progressive and inventive it is - the better treatment patients get.
Moreover, modern healthcare is not only about doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies. It is also about staying fit and taking care of yourself as well. Digitalization impacted the everyday routine of everyone. It helped not only to optimize most of the processes by making them easier to reach but affected different sectors and communications. Including the medical sphere.
Thanks to modern technologies, it is possible to facilitate the treatment processes, using health apps. It is predicted that the mobile health applications market is going to exceed more than 300 billion dollars by 2025. But what Health applications really are and are there any ideas for creating health apps?
Actually, health apps are created not only for medical professionals and institutions. In fact, most of their users are regular people. So we may assume, that healthcare apps could be useful for everyone since each of us has a 'health goal' to feel secure and strong about our body and mind. As it was said before, lifestyle apps also belong to healthcare. But what exactly are we talking about?
These applications are used for correcting your routine. It would help you to stay fit. There are a lot of various subtypes of healthy lifestyle apps. For example, there are apps to help to lose weight. It can be an application with fitness programs, such as the Nike Run Club which helps with running exercises, giving the opportunity to get an online coach for the beginner, some useful tips, motivational stories, or a company for jogging.
As a great addition to healthcare applications, there are apps like Lose it! that help to count calories and create your own diet. Or one of our projects EasierChef could be used not only for buying and delivery of products but also as a catalog of recipes, which could be adjusted for specific needs, for example, lactose intolerance, or post-injury diet. So, potential users could exclude the ingredients, they can’t or don’t want to eat and the healthcare application will automatically change the list of recipes.
But weight loss is not the only variant of healthy lifestyle apps. There are different products to improve the overall well-being of the users, which is obviously connected to their mental health condition. For example, sleep apps such as Sleep Cycle. It tracks the user’s sleeping processes, analyzes the results, and gently wakes up the user. Such features help to improve sleep.
Also, well-being healthcare applications include emotional wellness apps. For instance, MoodFit is used to track users’ moods and to cheer them up if needed. It proposes motivational coaching, possibilities to follow everyday goals, keep mood and gratitude journals as well as perform breathing technics, and provides yoga lessons. All of these features are great additional tools to maintain mental health and calm down, but it is important to understand that healthy lifestyle apps cannot replace professional help from therapists.
And finally, last but not least, the women’s healthcare applications. It is not a secret that women have more specific requirements for healthcare, therefore for the apps. There are a lot of different healthy lifestyle apps whose goal is to simplify their lives. First of all, period trackers. They are developed to help to calculate the next menstrual cycle and to track health changes during the period in detail. One of the best examples of period trackers is Clue.
Another example of healthcare applications for women is pregnancy trackers. Mostly, they are used not only to track the pregnancy period but provide various information on related topics. Also, there are a lot of different additional features. For example, BabyCenter is a pregnancy tracker, that offers a 3D rendering of the user’s baby, according to the user’s pregnancy duration. Moreover, there is an encyclopedia of possible names to choose from, a community page to contact other future parents, etc.
Medical Apps obviously also belong to healthcare applications. Unlike healthy lifestyle apps, medical ones are used for more specific practical purposes and their target audience is slightly different. So, while lifestyle apps are used by the majority of people no matter their background, medical apps are offering features, that could be handier for particular groups of users.
Actually, there are a lot of different subtypes of medical apps, which could be categorized by their usage goals. Among the most popular types of medical apps are encyclopedias for doctors, insurance applications, online waiting rooms with integrated doctor appointment scheduling systems, patient status or patient workflow trackers, etc. This list is very schematic and does not include all the possible categories. But it seems to take a more detailed look at the main classifications is better than trying to superficially describe every possible variation.
These are not only old-fashioned books with descriptions for each word as is Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. For example, there are more innovative and interactive versions such as the Human Anatomy Atlas which provides a 3d atlas of the human body with muscles, bones, organs, nerves, and all the other parts of it. Such an app helps to visualize the learning material and to better understand the position of those body parts. But anatomy is not the only part of medicine that could be interactive. For instance, HealthExplore is an interactive platform that is used to show the connections between different diseases and their symptoms for educational purposes. It not only shows linkage but helps to better understand what can cause diseases and how they can affect each other.
This category is about simplifying must-have procedures such as doctor appointment scheduling systems, doctors' online appointments, patient workflows, patient status tracking, and supporting medical information databases. Obviously, the main beneficiary of such apps is medical institutions, private clinics, doctors, and medical staff. Nevertheless, it is used both by patients and physicians. Helsi is a great illustration of such a case. It is a platform and an app, which the main feature is to provide a doctor appointment scheduling system and make doctors' online appointments possible. Actually, it looks like such apps could be described as early MPMS. Of course, there is a lot of work to do to make it possible to use such apps as MPMS, but such features are being developed at the moment.
Summing all the above, we can conclude that despite the division into different types, health apps are used by regular people and professionals. Also, they are providing high-quality products for both categories and improving the healthcare experience for everyone. It is not a big secret, that there is still a lot of work to do in order to improve and develop such apps. Notwithstanding the fact that there is already a variety of available features, there are also a lot of niches to occupy and develop.
The list below is not an actual call to action or step-by-step instruction. It is rather an assumption about what can be made to improve and increase the amount of diverse Health Apps. Some of the ideas from the list may have been already embodied and some may be developed soon.
For people with mental health problems. We believe, that it is a good idea to develop emergency mental health apps for mobile devices, that are going to bring value to society by helping people with mental diseases such as amnesia, dimension, bipolar disorder, and similar to them. The list of features for such mental health app should definitely include: a phone tracker, to help to find patients who might get disoriented due to the illness. Also, it is a great idea to allow remote control of the phone and critical pop-up alerts(and/or voice messages) with brief information about the person and their disease. It will allow informing the possible passers-by that the owner of the phone needs their help.
Actually, mental health apps might be valuable not just for critical mental health issues, but for light forms of depression, panic attacks, stress, and other common disorders. They can provide calming sounds, and positive affirmations, or let the user create everyday schedules of the activities that might bring happiness. The options are wide, it just depends on the creative team of the particular app.
For people with “sudden strike” diseases. The same working algorithm could be used to help people with possible heart attacks, epileptic seizures, or elder people with health issues as well. Such emergency medical apps should have fast one-click activation and, possibly, emergency ambulance call.
Such applications could be used as a set of instructions for those, who are recovering after major injuries or long-term treatment. Actually, the working algorithms of recovery apps are the same as the weight loss apps. It is about creating the training plan according to the type of injury and muscle to develop. As well as planning the diet and nutrition for the specific case. Both features could be borrowed from fitness and diet apps. As an alternative, they could be not totally independent recovery apps, but additional features for the already existing ones.
Obviously, everyone should improve their knowledge on the subject they are competent in. The medical staff is not an exception. It was said before, that such apps already exist. Nevertheless, we offer some additional features to implement in order to improve the quality of such training. For example, using VR technologies to create training simulations for the specific target audience: surgeons, traumatologists, dentists, and other physicians who work in practical medicine. It allows skills improvement, decreasing the danger for a real patient.
In the case of theoretical medicine, such as therapy we offer improving encyclopedias and creating AI-based tests. Using Artificial Intelligence for creating tests allows improving and constant growth of the theoretical experience of doctors. Once again, it allows decreasing the danger for the patient as well as increases the potential speed of making the right decisions and diagnoses.
Moreover, creating medical terms translation with a brief and simple explanation helps also to grow the consciousness and awareness of regular people who might be interested in learning and understanding the basics of medical procedures. It will also allow understanding of the need and differences between First Aid processes and their order.
It is about the creation of a simplified medicine encyclopedia, which will be accessible to regular people, who would wonder about medicine alternatives. Modern pharmacology is complicated to understand without background knowledge. Sometimes it is difficult for even medical staff to differ similar medicine, not talking about people without a medical degree. The application, that can help “googling” needed medicine or find alternatives to compare - is in great demand. Such an app can help to act quickly in an emergency. This could help to save someone’s life.
Once again, “Do It Yourself” guides for making different medical equipment “in the field” are a great opportunity to help people to gain needed experience or to share it with others in order to help save lives. There are a lot of different life hacks, that come with the experience. Not even all the medics know how to, for example, replace a tourniquet with improvised materials, or how to make a bandage out of a T-shirt right. Of course, such handmade tools won't be as effective as medical devices, but they can save lives in emergencies.
Such DIY tutorials could also be additional material for First Aid training apps. As it was said before, everyone has to train and test their knowledge, especially when talking about such essential and non-trivial things as First Aid. No one can know for sure if there ever will be a need for such skills or when they will come in handy. But it is better to be prepared. This is why it is highly important not only to successfully the first aid courses but to train all the time.
Our company believes that the development and improvement of healthcare applications are a high priority nowadays. This is why we have created the foregoing list of possible features to think over if they fit your representation of health apps for mobile devices. Moreover, we would be glad to take part in the creation of such health apps, that not just bring a great user experience, but can make our world a little healthier.
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