The Ultimate Mobile App for…Healthcare

Doctor using mobile phone

Doctor using mobile phone

“The Ultimate Mobile App for…” is a blog series that will highlight the top three features and characteristics of mobile apps for specific industries and uses. We’ll take a look at the users most likely to engage with the mobile app then identify the key components that the app should have to be useful and successful.

We’ve looked at the sports industry and the real estate sector, then highlighted key features for first responders. Today we’ll talk about important characteristics for healthcare apps.

Target Customers: Healthcare Providers

There are a plethora of healthcare mobile apps that address a broad range of issues. Many apps help everyday folks track their glucose levels, manage their weight, and monitor other vital bodily functions to stay healthy. But for this post, we’re going to focus on apps that help healthcare providers, such as doctors and nurses, improve the way they treat patients.

Mobile technology is just now making its way into the workflows of healthcare providers, but its importance in hospitals and clinics is increasing because of the ease of data collection and communication that mobile apps facilitate. Thorn Technologies has developed mobile apps for clients that include Dr. First and Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design to help these companies monitor their patients and communicate effectively.

Top Three Features and Characteristics for Healthcare Mobile Apps

1) HIPAA compliance

Patient data and provider communications must be kept private and secure, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) outlines strict standards that providers, insurers and employers have to maintain for electronic health care transactions.

Thus, HIPAA compliance is an absolute must for healthcare mobile apps, and the developer or product manager must be familiar with the security and privacy requirements that the law demands. Without HIPAA compliance, the app will be a non-starter.

2) Clean user interface with big buttons

Healthcare providers frequently wear latex safety gloves to prevent contamination between themselves and patients, which decreases their accuracy when using the mobile phone’s touchscreen. The app developer or designer needs to take this into account and design the user interface with:

  • Larger buttons and icons so the provider doesn’t accidentally “fat finger” the app.
  • A minimum amount of screens to allow the provider to achieve the desired task with the fewest amount of taps.

App developers need to understand the environment in which healthcare providers work and design apps to help these workers complete their tasks as efficiently as possible.

3) Easy communication and data transfer

Healthcare providers often work in teams to treat patients. It’s common for doctors, nurses and pharmacists to analyze patient data together to formulate a treatment protocol, so easy sharing of this data is a very important characteristic for a mobile app to have.

A large amount of patient data can be difficult to view on a mobile device, so many times this data can be delivered in report form via email or synched to a server for others to view on a different device. Regardless of the delivery method, facilitating easy patient data transfer is of utmost importance to many healthcare mobile apps.

Communication is a big part of this teamwork, and with providers treating many patients at different sites, ease of communicating with team members via mobile messaging is critical. We helped DrFirst build a communications app for healthcare professionals, which allows them to:

  • Send secure, HIPAA-compliant text messages
  • Create secure one-on-one or group chats
  • Attach rich media, such as photos, lab results, and audio or video files, to their chats

Healthcare is one of the industries that can benefit the most from technology and providers are now understanding the impact of mobile and implementing these solutions. Mobile technology can help doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals treat patients effectively and efficiently by facilitating data capture, transfer, and analysis, and making communications easier.

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