Since smartphones became essential aspects of everyday American life, mobile apps have transformed and improved countless industries. Mobile app innovations for the healthcare industry, however, were relatively slow to develop by comparison. Though much has changed in recent years, and mobile apps are increasingly poised to revolutionize the healthcare industry.

The first signal that a seismic shift was occurring in the healthcare industry came via the news that Kaiser Permanente made the entirety of its industry-leading electronic healthcare system available to 9 million members by way of an Android app. As the largest medical organization in the nation, it did not take long for Kaiser Permanente to enjoy 95,000 downloads. Its app has been downloaded more than 1 million times since its release in 2012.

Once Kaiser Permanente embraced the benefits of mobile apps, other medical organizations were quick to follow suit. Here are five ways your healthcare facility can improve by embracing the proven benefits of mobile apps.

1. Mobile Apps Improve a Patient’s Access to Care

Thanks to mobile technology, there is really no need for patients to receive care based upon their doctor’s location. With mobile apps, patients who live in rural areas or even halfway around the world will not be limited to the medical care in their immediate physical vicinity. Not only does this improve the nature of doctor “visits,” it also can become an incredible weapon in the war against poverty and limited healthcare access.

Similarly, and perhaps more practically for most Americans, it is incredibly convenient to meet with a doctor from the comfort of your own home. For those dealing with a chronic disease or ailment, simply getting to the doctor’s office can be a burdensome endeavor. Mobile apps completely alleviate this burden, all while providing quality care.

2. Mobile Apps Can be an Invaluable Ally in the Fight Against Fraud

Medicare fraud is an unfortunate reality of traditional healthcare, but apps can be used to cut down on this abuse. Billions of dollars are lost each year through Medicare fraud, and there are a number of tools available in digital apps to substantially reduce these troubling figures.

Digital apps are quite capable of tracking people’s locations and transactions, and it will likely not be long until apps are capable of verifying claims data with location data and time information provided by digital apps.

3. Patient Safety is Enhanced by a Quality Healthcare App

A quality healthcare app benefits patient safety. To name just one example, elderly and chronically ill patients can avoid having to make dangerous and risky trips to a doctor’s office.

Additionally, digital apps can provide patients with the necessary tools to better manage their own health. For example, traditional hospital visits send patients away with packets of information. In all likelihood, too few patients actually take the time to go through this bundle of advice. A digital app can condense this paper waste into only the “must know” advice related to the patient’s specific medical needs, as compared to a generic information packet.

Apps can also set alarms or reminders for when to take medication and monitor patient side effects. Then, this information can be effortlessly passed to a healthcare provider, ensuring the patient and provider are on the same page.

4. Mobile Apps Overcome Traditional Barriers to Patient Engagement

Plenty of patients bristle at visiting a doctor due to the long wait times, unnecessary delays or even the hassle of scheduling an appointment. Digital apps eliminate these frustrations, and there are plenty of other engagement barriers an app can remove.

Imagine an app that keeps track of when you take pills, automatically prompting you to choose whether you want to pick up your next prescription or have it mailed to you. In these ways, apps are uniquely suited to make life easier, creating happier patients in the process.

5. Mobile Apps Will Continue to Create New Business Opportunities

Finally, the data collection capabilities of apps will provide the healthcare industry with new business models and opportunities. The rise of digital apps will require health providers to think of creative ways to manage data and patient care in a coordinated way.

Clever healthcare providers will get ahead of these developments to uncover new ways in which digital apps may be profitably utilized.

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Chris Pautsch is Founder and CEO of KeyLimeTie. KeyLimeTie is a full-service design, development and digital strategy agency, helping clients communicate more effectively and intimately with their customers through interactive marketing channels.

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