Since an estimated 81 percent of Americans already own a smartphone, many healthcare delivery professionals are exploring ways to reach their patients through apps. Doximity, one of the most used telemedicine app by physicians, is a perfect example. Popular consumer mobile apps are also making their way into healthcare. Patients can report correct exercise information, attend appointments and choose the right doctor. More healthcare leaders are looking to everyday technology to help improve the quality of care offered in their organizations, especially as the COVID-19 crisis has changed the way we use technology to interact. In fact, odds are good that many of your patients already use these tools to manage other aspects of their lives. Here are some of the most notable ways that popular mobile apps are modernizing healthcare delivery.
For elderly and low-income patients, finding transportation to your facility may be a significant hurdle. While federal Medicaid services spend an estimated $3 billion per year on transportation costs, ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft propose that they can deliver your patients to their appointments faster and cheaper.
Particularly exciting is a pilot program from Uber, which allows hospital coordinators to access a single patient portal and coordinate rides while viewing patient records. If the program is a success, you could soon schedule rides for patients when you make their next appointment. Being able to provide this service could also increase overall patient compliance for your prescribed treatment plans.
Before trying a new restaurant, many consumers check its Yelp reviews. And, research suggests that they’re just as likely to check your practice’s reviews before making a medical appointment. A study from the University of Pennsylvania found that Yelp reviews offered better facility information for hospitals than the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey conducted by the federal government. Yelp is also embracing this trend; it has partnered with ProPublica to provide more information about health facilities to consumers, including ER wait times.
In addition to your Yelp rating, you may want to check out what patients think about your organization’s patient care standard on ZocDoc, Google Reviews or one of a dozen or more sites that publish medical reviews.
You may be able to get better health information about your patients from their personal fitness devices. It is estimated that 15 percent of Americans own a Fitbit, and it’s not the only brand on the market. Fitbit, Jawbone and other personal trackers help monitor the amount of exercise a person gets each week.
For adults, the recommended dose of moderate exercise per week is 150 minutes, and being able to track your patients’ day-to-day activity can help you determine if they need help reaching this standard.
Fitbit found that 72 percent of new users in 2015 were still using the device by year’s end. And, although scientists caution that Fitbit’s information can vary widely, these devices are still a way of starting a dialogue with your patients about their activity level and other exercise habits. Even if personal fitness device use doesn’t cause your patients to exercise more, it can definitely help them understand exactly how much exercise they are getting (or not getting) each day.
Encouraging your patients to use smartphone apps to take charge of their health is just one way to support awareness of overall wellness. Unlike specialized health equipment, mobile apps are inexpensive and multipurpose, which increases the likelihood your patients will use them regularly. Therefore, embracing popular mobile apps can improve healthcare delivery.