When most industries assess the impact of mobile apps on their business operations, they use the term “disruption.” It’s a concise way of describing how recent technological innovations have upended the status quo. (The normal way of doing things is disrupted by radical, tech-enabled approaches).
While you occasionally find the term “disruption” applied to healthcare, more often, you hear a different word bandied around: transformation.
While it might sound trivial to nitpick over words, the semantics matter in this case. The way healthcare operated before mobile apps was a process honed and improved over centuries – not always perfect, but constantly striving toward a better, more humanistic standard of care. Mobile apps, therefore, do not really disrupt the daily operations of healthcare providers, as much as they transform and enhance the existing commitment to care.
And how, exactly, are mobile healthcare (mHealth) apps enhancing patient care? This article reviews a few notable healthcare transformations facilitated by innovative app development. To leverage the latest technology in your healthcare business, find app development companies in Toronto with experience building mHealth solutions.
A central tenet in modern healthcare has been the emphasis on accessibility. How can providers of all kinds (homecare, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, etc.) remove “barriers to care” to ensure that everyone receives the treatment they need?
One way to increase accessibility – and decrease barriers to care –is to give patients a virtual appointment option. Virtual appointments rose dramatically in the pandemic’s opening months, acquainting people with the concept of telehealth. Even now, two years on, the virtual appointment use is 38x what it was pre-pandemic.
Another way healthcare providers have improved accessibility is through patient management solutions. Clinics, hospitals and mental health practitioners have used mobile apps to optimize their appointment scheduling, providing patients with a frictionless way to make and alter appointments.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
Innovative mobile app developers have successfully incorporated augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) features into mobile health apps in a couple of ways.
For instance, VR has proven effective in certain exposure therapy settings as a safe way to identify and treat anxiety disorders like PTSD. Medical practitioners like surgeons have also used AR and VR technology for training, allowing them to practice and perform complicated surgeries in a controlled, ethical environment.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a network of physical devices fitted with software and sensors that can, essentially, “communicate” with one another. As they apply to healthcare, IoT devices generally refer to wearable health trackers.
IoT-enabled wearables benefit patient care in several ways. They help improve treatment outcomes by enabling practitioners to access real-time information. They decrease the cost of patient monitoring for both practitioners and patients. They’ve proven indispensable in scenarios where frequent monitoring is necessary, like high-risk pregnancies. And IoT-enabled devices enable people to approach their health more proactively (as opposed to reactively), adjusting their lifestyle based on self-monitoring.
These are just a few ways that mobile app innovations are transforming patient care. As you can see, these innovations are far from “disruptive.” Instead, they improve the care process for providers and patients, ensuring easier access and higher standards of care.