How mobile applications are changing the healthcare industry

The purpose of technology is to aid us in such a way that our lives become easier. In the 21st century, this idea has manifested in the form of mobile applications. Saying that there is an app for just about anything would be much too redundant. Just as individuals resort to using apps to make our daily lives smoother, industries have begun to do so as well.

Healthcare is one of the most crucial parts of our lives. For a prosperous society, it is important that all people – irrespective of their differences – have access to adequate healthcare. Mobile applications have begun to play an increasingly important role in the way the industry is functioning. Its effects are beneficial not just for the people seeking medical assistance, but also for the stakeholders of the industry itself, including doctors, hospitals and the pharmaceutical agencies.

The overarching benefit of relying on applications is efficiency. For patients, this means better resources to find healthcare professionals and book appointments, track progress, and access medication. For medical administrators and hospitals, this means improving their response systems and quality of patient care. Let us look at these aspects more closely.

The smartphone has found a way to be indispensable to our pockets, and through personal use it has evolved to being the right hand man of nearly every clinician and patient in recent years. It offers varied opportunities to redefine healthcare and how mobile apps can be used as a point of contact between patients, doctors, pharmacists and other medical technicians. Mobile Health or mHealth is a key technology that can help reduce healthcare costs in the terms of infrastructure, travel, imaging and also proves to be a sustainable option. mHealth also serves as a bridge between the above factors to help maximum patient engagement. Moreover, these apps also help patients take more responsibility for their own health and check in with their points of contact efficiently.

Statistics tell us that there are about 165,000 published mHealth apps available. These apps help patients to use their phones to track the most basic of things like the number of steps to diet and calorie information. They also monitor your heart rate, manage diabetes, enable you to access all your medical test and imaging in one place. But according to experts, this is just the tip of the iceberg that is the revolution in healthcare technology.

Our lives have become easier because of apps. Similarly, industries – on a large scale level – have also looked towards utilizing apps to increase quality and efficiency of work. An important development for the healthcare industry, because EVERYONE needs it. Who is this everyone, do you ask

-Doctors, nurses, medical administrators, entire hospitals – for increasing efficiency, quality of patient care.
-Patients – for ease of access to book appointments, track progress, etc.

mHealth has been instrumental in making strides in the following areas of Healthcare:

  1. Emergency response systems
  2. Patient care, accountability and tracking
  3. Access to medicare from remote locations
  4. Curating information to promote general awareness about health issues
  5. Personal – health management

Healthcare applications become more important when we look at it in the context of Covid-19. The global pandemic has raised several important issues and exposed gaping holes in many healthcare systems of the world. Lack of beds, inadequate testing, overload of data and managing supplies. All of this becomes impossible to execute manually on such a large scale. This is why there is a necessity to develop scalable and simple apps that can withstand the load of a sudden spurt in data.
Appstute understands the growing relevance of Healthcare applications and the need to mobilise them to enable medical access for everyone. An app like this with immense responsibility needs to be carefully built and various factors have to be kept in mind. Here are two accounts of healthcare applications that we have built.

  1. Radionome

Radionome reached out to Appstute to help build a healthcare app which would quicken the process of diagnosis. Instead of every patient running from pillar to post, all the imaging data (scans, tests, etc) would be available in one place.

What was the problem?
The patient data was not easily available through siloed health systems and a lot of time was spent in copying and loading the imaging study data and then sharing it in a HIPAA compliant manner. Usually this resulted in loss or mismanagement of data and hours lost in just copying data.

How will the app help?
The MRI and CT scan data is shared on CD/DVD. As most of us know, CD/DVD drives are a little outdated and the machines that are available today are not compliant to CD-DVD systems. Another problem with them is that they get corrupted over a few years and the data gets lost.
Radionome enables the user to upload all their medical data (scans, tests, routine checkup documents, etc) to the cloud and have lifetime access to it. This data can then be easily shared with specialised doctors, or a second doctor for a referral because it’s easy to access without you having to install anything.

What considerations were made while developing the web application?
The application needs to be HIPAA compliant.
HIPAA verification
Server-less solution
Simple to use.
Minimum infrastructure cost. Since the MRI and CT scan data was huge, we had to make sure that the server cost be minimal. The app architecture was key.
We chose a platform that assured high availability and scalability, which was ‘Google Cloud Platform’.
Lean team.
We had to take into account a host of other factors such as capacity planning, DevOps, Support, Identity management, Data Audit, Data classification and Privacy management.

2. EHR for a USA based Hospital

Appstute developed an iPad based EHR app enabling doctors to add/update and delete medical records of a patient. The key factor to make the application seamless in performance was the necessity to make it scalable and smart. Any action on the application cannot take more than 2-3 seconds and to make this possible, we came up with an online/offline architecture wherein all data first got stored in the database and then moved to the server in the background. A 4 way protocol was implemented because of which the data is safe and secure. This application got rid of paperwork, allowed doctors and health care professionals to voice record the treatment, draw or write that further got stored as an image, etc. .

3. Knocdoc

Knocdoc is a simple application for video tele consultation. Developed during the Covid-19 crisis, we enabled this app to be white-labelled in the short span of a week to aid the doctors start online consultation with minimal infrastructure cost.

To conclude, healthcare applications can result in convenience, efficiency and efficacy of data collection and storage. In the long run, these might completely replace manual systems of recording data, which might be susceptible to being misplaced or damaged. Although we cannot take healthcare apps as the panacea for the medical industry development, they certainly add to a digital innovation movement that will result in improved healthcare and healthcare systems.

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