Mobile Health Apps to the Rescue!

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There are tons of amazing apps out there, but an app that can actually save lives? Sounds kind of sci-fi, but it’s already happening.

A mobile health app called PulsePoint recently saved a 63 year old man from a heart attack. The app works by notifying CPR-trained individuals about nearby medical emergencies.

Pretty cool huh?

That’s just one of many awesome ideas to recently hit the streets. The mobile health industry boom is just getting started! Analysts at research2guidance are predicting that mobile health market revenue will reach $26 billion by 2017. It’s also estimated that 50% of smartphone users will download mobile health apps in the next 2 years.

Did your heart rate just go up? It should have.  This is a big deal especially with the Apple Watch being released.  Health apps are blowing up!

The trend is catching on because both doctors and patients see the benefits of mobile health apps. A recent survey from Healthcare Informatics showed that almost 50% of doctors are planning to introduce mobile apps to their practice in the next 5 years. Many patients are already using health apps to lose weight, track exercise, and monitor chronic health conditions.

All this means is that there are BIG opportunities for developers right now. It’s a new and exciting area in the app world. What does it take to be successful? Here are some tips that will help you get started.

Find a great health related concept

People searching for mobile health apps usually have a specific health concern in mind. That’s why the most successful apps address big problems in the market. You can design the best user interface in the world, but if your app doesn’t help people, it probably won’t be considered useful.

Popular health apps do more than just collect data. Whether your app is for patients, providers, or payers, your app has to deliver relevant messages to the end-user. For example, Diamedic monitors glucose levels AND gives patients the ability to calculate corrective and mealtime insulin doses.

Get expert advice

After deciding to build a mobile health app, you might need to consult a doctor or subject matter expert. If you’re not personally active in a specific industry, it’s easy to miss important details. Input from a person in-the-know will help ensure that your app is accurate, useful, and on point.

It’s a good idea to find assistance in the early stages of the development process. An expert can help you create an app that offers value to end-users. Early involvement can also eliminate the need for big, expensive changes down the road.

Focus on usability

As with any app, usability should be a top priority. Great design strikes the balance between form and function. Top health apps take advantage of the features that users expect from well designed mobile apps.

Data entry and access should be efficient and intuitive. Visualization can help communicate complex ideas with clarity and precision. Be sure to test your app to make sure that it works properly on multiple devices, including tablets, smartphones, and wearables.

Don’t forget about security

Data security is an important concern among users and developers. Mobile health apps can collect sensitive personal and medical information. By downloading and using your app, people are trusting you to keep their data safe.

In-app security features like PINs, passwords, and timeouts will help protect user data. Today’s connected devices can present major network security risks. Developers have to balance the need for social and cloud-based features with security and privacy.

Follow regulatory specifications

Healthcare is generally a highly regulated space. If your app claims to diagnose, treat, or prevent medical conditions, you might need to get FDA clearance. Even the most awesome health apps need to meet FDA requirements when necessary.

Understanding which apps require review can help you avoid unwanted FDA attention and negative customer reviews. You can find the current guidelines for mobile medical applications here. If you’re working on a mobile health app, it’s a good idea to keep up with latest news about any proposed changes to the guidelines.

Connectivity with other apps

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Most mobile health apps don’t interact with other applications. But connectivity can enhance features and offer new value to users. Anything you can do to make your app more useful will help increase user retention.

For example, take a look at the integration between MyFitnessPal and RunKeeper. These two apps help users understand how their diet and exercise habits work together. It’s easy to see how this integration makes both apps more valuable.

Grab the opportunity

Growth in the mobile health market has created a huge opportunity for developers. The growing trend in wearables like the Apple Watch has fueled interest from consumers. Developers who create useful apps that meet regulatory requirements will have a big advantage in 2015.

If you’re thinking about building a mobile health app, what are your main challenges? Share your thoughts in the comments.

COMMENTS

  • Mark April 24, 2015

    Wow! Awesome stuff Melissa. I was an EMT for 8 years and worked on an ambulance. I can’t imagine what having this kind of technology would have done ‘back then.’

    I have yet to develop a healthcare app, but I’ve noticed a HUGE spike in baby apps especially monitoring… I know I could develop an affordable and highly useful baby monitoring app, I just need to DO IT! If anyone out there has a code I could use for my idea, drop a line 🙂

  • Melissa+Wood+Reed April 24, 2015

    Hi Mark, you should definitely go for it! I could see that being really useful.

  • Anna December 28, 2016

    Thank you Melissa for such an incredible post. It’s really great when the phone or watch can save live. It’s unbelievable. I often use some different of fitness applications. And with my heavy schedule, I always forget to drink a glass of water, but applications always remind me of it. this is a godsend. Track my pulse and maintain medical history is one thing. It seems to me that even this kind of applications https://itechcraft.com/custom-healthcare-solutions/ can’t be adequately protected. But what if a more complex application fails? Does it dangerous for human?

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