Thanks to increasing healthcare costs and the wide availability of devices like smartphones, smartwatches and different IoT sensors, demand for digital care is rapidly on the rise. Through healthcare mobile app development, innovators were able to greatly increase cost-efficiency of healthcare service delivery, and help answer this growing demand.
However, there is still much to be done, and plenty of room for new innovation. According to Grand View Research, the global home healthcare market size was valued at USD 281.8 billion in 2019, and is expected to have an average growth rate of 7.9% over the next decade.
A rapidly growing population forces governments to constantly expand public health care systems. This means that healthcare expenses will also continuously increase throughout the foreseeable future.
In order to make health services more accessible to patients everywhere, innovators must find a way to make them more scalable and less fixed in time and space.
According to a 2019 research conducted by Deloitte, the key factors driving innovation in healthcare are:
Thankfully, new technological advancements make it possible to answer the most pressing challenges in this sector. One of the most effective tools here is data management, which has evolved from just storage to drawing insights. This helps medical professionals make better-informed decisions and increase diagnostic precision.
However, newly emerged security challenges may prolong the innovation process. When it comes to digital health, privacy is one of the most discussed concerns among patients and healthcare professionals as well. Keeping personally identifiable health information safe must be a top priority during every healthcare mobile app development project.
Mobile health requires the use of strong encryption and authentication processes to ensure the security of these data.
These types of applications help physicians determine which disease or condition explains patients’ symptoms and signs. Patients can use these apps themselves without having to set up a doctor’s appointment.
After asking a series of symptom-related questions, the diagnostic app uses great amounts of data from electronic health records (EHR) to compare the new information to other, similar cases and provide a diagnosis. Technologies like Natural Language Processing allow these questions to be read and answered more intuitively, making the whole process feel much more natural for patients.
Of course, using an app doesn’t substitute a full diagnosis provided by an experienced professional using specialized medical equipment. In more severe cases, diagnostic apps usually recommend patients to go see a doctor as soon as possible. Nevertheless, dealing with routine queries using AI-backed messaging and voice systems can help organizations decrease physicians’ workload and realize cost savings.
Cloud computing is an appealing choice for healthcare organizations trying to build out, run and maintain infrastructure for patient record-keeping needs. Public cloud systems are more suitable for providing generic health information. On the other hand, private cloud systems can be used for more security-sensitive cases, like pharmacy orders, patient bills and physician inquiries.
HIPAA compliance is one of the biggest issues in this environment. Organizations often don’t fully embrace cloud computing because of the strict health information security regulations.
Peer-to-peer systems with shared digital ledgers promise great possibilities for healthcare organizations. The increased security, portability and integrity of patient data will make creating, modifying and distributing healthcare information much more efficient. Blockchain technology also allows healthcare providers to always have access to patient health records, through a shared system that is used by everyone, while still complying with HIPAA and GDPR regulations.
Collecting and storing patient health data has been possible for a decades now. However, analyzing these massive pools of accumulated information and drawing actionable conclusions has proven to be a challenge. More recent advances in data science will allow experts to feed patient information (personal and family medical history, previous test results etc.) into AI-based systems to draw relevant conclusions for their effective treatment.
IoMT has emerged as the combination of IoT development and telehealth technologies. It mainly includes wearable devices such as smartwatches, ECG and EKG monitors, smart scales and others. By providing consumers with devices that communicate with each other, and are easy to use, they are able to accurately and consistently monitor their own heart rate, blood pressure, body weight, and other vital health information. The results can also be forwarded to their local physician for further analysis.
From educating new students to planning procedures, or foster post-surgery improvement for patients, Augmented and Virtual Reality applications show a lot of promise. With their help, professionals are able to place patients in more enhanced and simulated environments without having to use physical therapy. While monitoring these sessions, data can also be gathered to assist therapists in devising customized treatment for each patient.
Also, more focus is being placed on developing so-called Smart Health Communities – groups of public, nonprofit, and commercial organizations – who’s goal is to prevent disease and improve people’s well-being, while operating outside traditional healthcare systems.
To achieve this, they are making use of the previously mentioned innovations in data-fueled technologies like AI, NLP, Internet of Things, AR and VR.
K Health develops a mobile app that uses AI to deliver personalized primary care for patients faster and cheaper. The company is comprised of doctors and developers who are passionate about using advanced machine learning techniques to turn clinical health data into knowledge that can help patients better manage their health.
Sensely’s avatar and chatbot-based platforms assist insurance plan members and patients with the insurance services and healthcare resources they need, whenever they need it. The company has developed separate chatbot applications specifically for insurers, employers and pharmacies as well.
The importance of caring for people’s mental health has gained a lot of attention over the past few decades. Advances in healthcare mobile app development also provided some great tools for online therapy and aiding mental stability. The main goal of innovators in this sector is to provide anonymous, easily accessible and affordable mental care for anyone, anywhere.
Talkspace is an online therapy startup that offers affordable and confidential therapy with a network of professional and licensed therapists. With online messaging therapy, users have access to a licensed, professional therapist, without having to schedule an appointment.
Headspace is a digital health platform that provides guided meditation sessions and mindfulness training. The company’s content can be accessed online, or via the Headspace mobile app.
Fitbit is developing wireless wearable sensors that automatically track data about a person’s activities, such as calories burned, sleep quality, steps and distance.
Their trackers collect activity data automatically while it is worn by the user all day. The collected data is wirelessly uploaded to a website where the wearer can see their data and track their progress toward personal goals. Other than trackers, the company also produces smartwatches, smart scales and other accessories.
Flatiron Health is a healthcare technology and services company focused on accelerating cancer research and improving patient care. They connect community oncologists, academics, hospitals, life science researchers and regulators on a shared cloud-based platform.
Their platform enables cancer researchers and care providers to learn from the experience of a large number cancer patients.
Oxford VR’s highly immersive VR therapy, provides patients with treatments that are: faster and more effective than traditional therapy sessions, significantly lower cost to health providers and loved by users.
Their focus is on developing clinically validated, cost-effective, user-centered treatments with significant impact on patients, the health system and wider economy.
In order to be able to answer the growing demand for accessible and accurate healthcare services, organizations must continue to explore emerging, innovative tools and technologies.
The possibilities offered by the technological advances listed in this article are still only partially explored. Apart from achieving great financial results, innovators also have the opportunity to help improve people’s well-being and quality of life on a global scale.
Utilizing the potential of data science, AI, cloud computing and other emerging technologies is certainly a challenge. This is why we offer our help as development partners to healthcare organizations and HealthTech startups all around the world.
If you have a project in mind, feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation session.