It’s 2 AM and your child is burning up with a fever. As a parent, you are doing whatever you can to cool them down, and bring them some comfort. You wish you could call someone for advice, but the world is sound asleep around you. Your smartphone is sitting there beside you, though. On your phone is the app for your local hospital, downloaded after your last check-up. You open the app, desperate for any kind of information that can help your child. You go to the treatment and conditions section, and you easily find the fever section, which reveals how to ease the fever. As you draw a bath for your child, you go back to the app and request an appointment with your doctor. A few hours later, after you and your child finally get a little sleep, the sun rises, and your phone rings. It’s your hospital confirming your appointment for the afternoon. You breathe a small sigh of relief, thankful for the hospital and their app that helped you through the crisis.
In today’s mobile world, several hospitals are taking the initiative to empower patients with mobile apps as tools to take control of their health. The scenario we just shared, for example, used a small sampling of the innovative, useful features from UCLA Health’s new mobile hospital app. Yet not all have embraced the full power of mobile hospital apps.
The Myth of mHealth?
According to this year’s HIMSS Analytics survey, only 35% of healthcare providers offer a mobile app, and, while this number is growing, many are still skeptical over the power of mobile. A recent study by McKinsey & Company even declared the game-changing power of mobile health to be a myth, and said that patients don’t want innovative features and apps as part of their healthcare. Leaving aside the fact that 38% of smartphone users find their devices ‘essential’ for finding health and medical information, and nearly 100 million Americans used their devices to find such information in 2013, the number one trusted source for medical information is the patient’s provider. Any hospital, which is able to connect doctors with their patients and provide valuable mobile resources, is likely to find that a useful hospital app can, indeed, be a game changer.
The Innovative Approach of UCLA Health
Let’s look once again at the UCLA’s app. In addition to providing users with a trove of information regarding treatment and conditions and the ability to request appointments, the UCLA Health app shows the locations, distances and directions to all of their facilities, provides contact information for everyone from doctors to the billing and insurance department, and delivers news and updates from throughout the health system. Further, the app allows doctors to find specialists and doctors and easily refer patients throughout the UCLA health system. In connecting doctors and patients with instant mobile information and communication, UCLA delivered an amazing tool for both parties and showed the innovation and progress that made them one of the top 5 hospitals in the country.
Overcoming Barriers to Mobile Hospital Apps
Many of the best hospitals are following suit, delivering patient engagement apps and mobile treatment tools for everything from cancer care to pregnancy, and general wellness. It is clear to see how these apps can benefit both patient and hospital alike. So what is holding up the other 65% of providers? Cost is the number one factor. Mobile apps can be expensive to produce, both in money and time. Healthcare is expensive and IT departments are swamped already. With such a strain on resources, how do hospitals deliver valuable mHealth apps to their consumers? Many have faced this question and turned to MobileSmith for the answer. As an online app development platform, MobileSmith helps hospitals deliver amazing branded apps full of useful tools and resources, and save thousands of dollars in development costs. Further, with no coding required, they avoid placing yet another burden on their IT department. Bringing doctors and patients together, via mobile hospital apps, is indeed a game-changing opportunity for hospitals, and, with the meteoric rise of the smartphone, one that these providers can simply not afford to pass up.