Technology-enabled care (TEC); the umbrella term for telecare, telehealth, telemedicine, mHealth, digital health and eHealth services, enables patients, carers and healthcare professionals to access data and information more easily and has the potential to transform the way patient health is managed, quality and outcomes of care.
With the NHS funding gap forecast to reach £30 billion and the rise in chronic condition expected to cost £5 billion per year by 2018 (Deloitte), the need for cost effective healthcare is increasing. Research published by GSMA, in partnership with consultancy PwC, estimates that mobile health could reduce healthcare costs by up to $400 billion across developed countries by 2017.
Mobile apps could be the answer
In the UK alone, around 75% of the population access health information online, 70% of the adult population owns a smartphone, with the over 55 age group recording the highest growth rate (Deloitte). With more than 100,000 health apps available from various app stores to assist healthcare professionals, carers and patients; healthcare app services are projected to reach £15bn by 2017 (Research2Guidance).
How are apps currently being used in healthcare?
Mobile health apps can be broken into two categories: wellness and medical, designed to be used primarily by the consumer and patient, and medical, used by healthcare providers.
Thousands of health apps are available on the market, from those that measure activity levels such as the Fitbit, to others that can measure heart rate, blood pressure and glucose levels.
And it’s not just about self-care apps, with many being launched to support healthcare professionals, such as those to share medical images amongst colleagues or look up drug information. At HMA, we’re currently working with the NHS on a research project to bring a new app to aid clinicians when prescribing blood components at a patient’s bedside. Once complete, the app will be used to assess behaviour change in prescribing blood transfusions with the aim to make them safer and encourage the use of evidence based practice. Read more here
How to make an app successful
Carry out research. What are your goals for your app/do you need a mobile app?
Before you start, think carefully about why you’re developing an app. If you’re just looking to create a website that works seamlessly on mobile, you could just create a responsive website. Don’t rush into building an up simply because you feel you need to have one.
Carry out competitor analysis – what’s already available? Are you reinventing the wheel?
With thousands of apps already available, it’s become increasingly difficult for apps to be discovered and downloaded so it’s important that before you start building, you know what’s already out there and how your app solves an unmet problem
Who needs to be involved in the design and development to inform the app?
Always remember the end user as if they’re not at the centre of the design and development process, it’s unlikely that the app will generate much success.
At HMA we have been working in partnership with the University of Sheffield’s Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare (CATCH) on a mobile healthcare app to support self-management and independent living. The app’s design and development was underpinned by a strong evidence base and user-centred design approach, including Patient and Public Involvement research. This partnership was recently recognised with an ‘Innovation in Healthcare’ award at the Enterprise, Innovation and Impact awards on 11th September 2014.
Digital healthcare marketing strategy
Recent research has found that 90 per cent of mobile apps are abandoned within the first year (Digital Marketing Magazine), therefore, promoting your app is key. Once launched, make sure you have a digital marketing healthcare strategy in place to reach your target audience on social media, SEO, email and the website.
Once your healthcare app has been launched, consider how you will track engagement. At HMA, we are able to utilise tracking tools to analyse device type, platform, sessions, user journey, usage and much more.
At HMA, we’re experts in Android, iPhone and iPad application development, as well as HTML5 cross platform solutions and with a strong focus on user engagement, our talented team of creative designers and developers will work closely with you to understand your business and objectives to create a beautifully designed app that not only reflects your brand but is useful and personalised to your customers and achieves effectiveness.
We handle all elements in-house from strategy, research, design, development, build, programming, testing and deployment so if you’re looking for a clever way to engage with customers, let our team of creative and technical experts bring your mobile app vision to a reality.
All of our apps are of the highest quality and this is underpinned by our Quality Management System, recertified for ISO 9001:2008 in March 2014, reassuring our clients that our commitment to quality and process ensures the delivery of consistent, high quality services.