Posted on December 16, 2015 in – Health, Industries

Health Communication Apps Improve Patient Engagement

16Dec
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Technology is incrementally shifting the doctor-patient relationship into the digital age. This is truly the case for apps. Apps can enable doctors to directly engage with patients even when outside the consulting room. But what factors do companies need to consider when developing a health communication app to drive patient engagement?

Patient engagement is the primary concern of most healthcare professionals. It is achieved when healthcare providers and patients come together to work towards improved health outcomes. Therefore, healthcare organisations can leverage the latest innovations and technology to promote health awareness and positive habits for patients. App creation can be an effective way to drive positive patient engagement as health communication apps enable doctors and patients to effectively communicate in a medical setting.

So, when deciding whether or not to develop a health communication app you have to consider the following factors.

 

Digital Integration in Health

First of all, it is essential to realise how digital habits are changing in the health industry. Physical records are starting to disappear as the industry becomes paperless. Doctors now work between multiple personal devices throughout their workday. Patients conduct extensive research even before seeing their doctor. These trends all have implications on patient engagement in the digital age.

A health communication app can enable doctors to communicate complex medical information with patients. For example, if the patient were to download the app on the doctor’s recommendation – healthcare professionals can publish personalised information directly to the patient’s device. In turn this would drive patient engagement as the user becomes better educated about their personal health in an easy to use format. With both doctors and patients becoming more tech savvy, it’s clear to see how publishing health information as an app can enhance patient engagement.

Related: Read more about the Digital Habits of Healthcare Professionals

 

Potential of Health Communication Apps

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Photo courtesy of Luis Llerena

The possibilities with health communication apps are endless. Over the past few years, health tech innovation has grown as many developers focus on products, which empower users to track and monitor their own health. Take Apple for example. Earlier this year, they held a “Special Event” with a section dedicated entirely to healthcare innovation. The presentation featured health apps such as patient appointment schedules and heart rate monitoring as well as Apple Watch integration.

Although, majority of current health apps are targeted at improving consumers’ health, there is potential for clinical use by healthcare professionals. For example, communicating treatment plans with patients directly on their personal device via an app. With the technological focus moving towards health, mobile engagement with patients appears to be the next logical step. Furthermore, the ability to track key analytics within the app, doctors can now monitor whether the patient is engaging with the information regularly.

 

Sustaining Professional Accountability

For years, the Internet has connected users with online outlets like WebMD to find out more about their personal health prior to seeing a doctor. Now, users are even creating their own health data through their mobile devices and wearable technology such as monitoring their heart rate with apps.So how can healthcare professionals embrace app technology whilst sustaining their professional accountability?

The key is to ensure that the app integration is enhancing the patient’s experience and not distracting them from their health. However this can be difficult to pinpoint. Ultimately, health communication apps should inform and educate the user on how they could improve their health on an ongoing basis. Furthermore many healthcare professionals argue that at the end of the day nothing could replace the real life one-to-one meetings between doctors and their patients. Therefore, a health communication should focus on enhancing this dynamic rather than replacing it.

 

Confidentiality Concerns

Unfortunately, many developers neglect to consider the user’s privacy and information security when creating health apps. This is a concern for doctors and patients alike. Apps that deal directly with patient records and experiences can be open to third party users depending on the relevant privacy policy. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the ethical and legal implications of implementing a health app as part of the doctor-patient relationship. Luckily, apps created with Liquid State apps do not deal with health patient records but instead allow companies to publish relevant and interactive content directly to the doctor or patient’s devices. Therefore, understanding this distinction in app creation and app content management will allow your organisation to create an effective health communication app.

Health communication apps created with Liquid State products can allow organisations to deliver relevant and personalised content directly to healthcare professionals’ devices. Liquid State app creation and app content management system requires no coding and instead allows you to focus on the content. 

Featured image courtesy of Wildred Iven