The mobile app innovations coming from the health system industry today are focused on empowering patients to orient themselves better, customizing their own health plans, syncing the healthcare provider system with patient needs, and facilitating a more efficient, smarter overall relationship between provider and patient.
With all of the exciting progress, hospital giants are increasing their funding for digital health projects, centering on patient app trends. Usher in the age of mHealth!
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2015-2016 Patient App Trends
According to MobiHealthNews, “It’s been about four years since healthcare providers began to seriously consider mobile applications as a new channel for communicating with their patients.” Now, heading into 2016 there are over 500 hospital-branded smartphone apps anticipated for Google Play Store and the Apple AppStore, patient app trends in hospitals will likely see full-adoption within the next five to ten years.
General Patient App
The first jump into the pool isn’t the elegant swan dive; it’s always the one that’s easier to do and gets the most splash for the effort: The Cannonball. That’s what hospitals are doing in today’s mobile app pool. These general hospital apps are more about just jumping into the mobile apps game, than breaking into new frontiers.
In many ways these apps look like a mobile app version of the hospital’s website, complete with general info., address, phone directory, directions to the facility, etc.. But, why would hospitals spend the extra money building an app if it just comes out looking like a website? While apps may resemble a mobile website, for intuitive navigation, what distinguishes them is that they come complete with special interactive features like: streaming ER wait times, interactive virtual tours, tap-to-email & tap-to-call functions, etc.
Physician Referral Apps
For years, physicians have been faced with the difficult task of referring patients to a specialist based on a complex criteria that usually ends in frustration for the physician and patient.
A physician referral app is a good example of a branded hospital app that is a sensible alternative to physicians fumbling through Google search results and usually coming up short. A physician referral app can rapidly generate, in only one-tap, a search for physicians by zip code, gender, medical specialty, insurance provider, etc.; and then request the appointment that patient’s need.
Anyone who has been to a hospital knows it can be a place of dizzying proportions, full of sterile white look-alike halls winding for miles. The hospital halls are buzzing with fast walking medical personnel who often have no time to offer directions, so a mobile hospital app that helps patients find their way around has become a huge hospital apps trend. We call them hospital wayfinding apps.
For more information about hospital apps strategy and branding, download our eBook, Hospital Branding with Mobile Apps – the Definitive Guide for Healthcare Marketers, which presents seven quick and proven use cases for branded hospital apps, as well as the best practices for building your hospital’s patient app portfolio.