In today’s NHS, the use of mobile apps has become increasingly prevalent, to the point where many patients now make use of apps that offer them information at their fingertips, while doctors can use similar apps to locate vital data relating to patients. Everything from tracking symptoms through to deciding on the next course of action can be done using such apps, making them an improvement on traditional systems, which are often inefficient and costly to both doctor and patient.
An examination of the App Store will show you a number of apps that have been created with this purpose in mind, plus many clinics and hospitals commission specialised app developers to create software that is suitable for particular tasks. Imobisoft’s Virtual Clinic app is one such example, though in this case the app can be scaled and customized for other uses.
The ubiquitous nature of tablet computers and smartphones make such apps an attractive prospect, but there are still some issues that need to be confronted. Chief amongst these is the potential for information overload.
Poorly-designed apps may lead users on a convoluted chase before they can find the information they require. The potential of apps and the technology behind them to store untold amounts of data can also be their downfall, as bad user interfaces and efforts to cram as much as possible into an app can lead to it becoming unwieldy and confusing. In essence, for a healthcare mobile app to be successful it needs to be able to burrow down into the data and only produce the information that is most relevant to the user. While access to additional information may be encouraged, it should be secondary to the main purpose of the app.
Another key concern, particularly amongst patients, is that this increased use of mobile apps cuts down on the personal interaction time that doctors have with their patients.
While this may be true in some respects, the key here is to consider context and circumstances. Using an app during diagnosis may not be the recommended course of action, however, both patient and doctor are likely to prefer to use an app to track patient progress dynamically, rather than force the patient to come in for appointments every week or two. In many cases these appointments do not lead to changes in the medical regimen for the patient, meaning they constitute wasted time.
Again, the key is ensuring the app serves a purpose, while also recognizing when personal interaction is required.
The most obvious solution for physicians and the key decision makers is to work with an NHS mobile healthcare app development specialist to ensure the apps they have developed meet the actual requirements of both doctors and patients.
Drilling down into what is really needed from the most recent advances in technology should take precedence over implementing it for the sake of using it. This way, each app that is added to the marketplace or developed for an organization can actually have a purpose.