Smart phones and mobile devices have become so much more than means of communication and on-the-go entertainment. It’s easier than ever to access information on a need-to-know basis. Ever-evolving technology has also made health and wellness information more accessible, enabling patients to take a more active role in their own healthcare.

Patient apps dedicated to health and wellness are becoming increasingly available for download. With these tools in the palm of your hand, information is just a tap of the screen away. If you’re under the weather, it only takes a few seconds to match your symptoms with an illness, find a new doctor in your area, and read prescription drug reviews from people who have already used them. Patients with life-altering diseases or chronic conditions can benefit from guidance between doctor visits, and tools that help monitor symptoms and track wellness on a regular basis.

Though their full potential has yet to be realized, well-designed healthcare apps are revolutionizing the dynamic between patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. A study by IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics predicts that, over time, apps will progress from being recommended on an ad hoc basis by individual physicians to systematic use in healthcare, and will ultimately become fully integrated in healthcare management.

What is pivotal to healthcare apps becoming more mainstream? The evidence: healthcare apps create positive changes in behavior and actually improve patient health; and payers and providers are recognizing that they can play a very important role in healthcare management.  For example, calorie counting wellness apps actually help users achieve weight loss, while apps for multiple myeloma patients help them monitor their condition on a daily basis, so that they can share pertinent information with their healthcare team, and doctors can adjust treatments and prescriptions appropriately.

Not only are patient apps the future of healthcare, they have the power to enhance the value patients and physicians place on pharmaceutical brands. When an app delivers a positive patient experience, it becomes a resource that enables them to take on more active roles in their own healthcare—and be more compliant. A successful patient app keeps patients on the right path, positively impacting their health.  The ability to track symptoms, set reminders, and monitor progress helps patients adhere to prescribed treatment regimens, and ensures that multiple prescriptions are safely managed.

Patient apps can also help doctors provide more efficient, cost-effective care, and support reimbursement. Apps that can be monitored remotely by caregivers enhance the dialogue between patients and their physicians, resulting in more targeted and efficient care.  With every well-designed app and resulting positive patient experience, healthcare comes closer to reliance on technologically advanced digital apps as viable solutions that support patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals throughout the treatment of everyday illnesses, and even management of those that require a lifelong regimen.

Targeting the right demographic is significant to mobile app success, and aligning your brand with an agency that knows how to tailor a digital app to the right patient and make it intuitive to meet their needs is just as important as the digital capabilities they have to offer.  As the study points out, elderly patients with multiple chronic diseases make up the greatest area of spend in healthcare. While this demographic tends to be less technologically savvy, their smartphone use is on the rise and designing apps with their needs in mind is essential to penetrating this market.

If you’re interested in developing a cutting-edge patient app that will elevate the patient experience and enhance the value and connection with your brand, contact Jon Male: jmale@realityrx.coor Bob Karczewski:

To learn more about REALITYRx communication digital capabilities—view our case studies located under the RRx work tab of the home page.

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