As value-based care initiatives continue to drive healthcare decisions, it’s no surprise that mobile applications are being used by providers and payers as a way to connect with patients and connect silos within the healthcare community.
But as mobile apps on smartphones are commonplace for many consumers, it can be overwhelming to decipher what apps are the most useful. There are more than 318,000 healthcare mobile apps available to download, according to a report by IQVIA Institute.
At this point of market saturation, mobile apps in the healthcare space are expected by patients and consumers, says Benjamin Kanter, MD, FCCP, chief medical information officer of Vocera, a healthcare technology company with more than 20 years of experience in developing mobile apps and digital communications, in San Jose, California.
“The real question is how can we improve our clinical and operational efficiency? And you can't do that without a modern communication and collaboration platform,” Kanter says. “I would suggest that executives should not differentiate between the applications that help them communicate from the applications that also help them process, mobilize, and act on data.”
Though many consumer-facing healthcare apps have become more robust in their data collection by using cloud and machine learning technology, executives still have to wade through apps’ capabilities in order to find the ones that are the most effective, says Paul Cerrato, MA, author of Protecting Patient Information and the coauthor of Realizing the Promise of Precision Medicine.
“Physicians and healthcare organizations that are making financial decisions have to find those apps that are really well supported by the evidence, not just conceptually well-supported but in terms of actual experiments to show that these apps work,” Cerrato says.
Static apps that offer just education and information aren’t as useful as those that can help patients with specific health issues, Cerrato says.
“If you have a patient who wants more out of his or her healthcare app, then you have to start thinking about investing in interactive programs,” he adds.