The Future of Health Apps
Chances are, you’re reading this on your Apple or Android smartphone. If you happen to be using your laptop or desktop computer, your smartphone is probably sitting nearby on a desk or table, just within reach.
In the next few minutes, you’re going to pick up your digital BFF (unless it’s already cradled in your hand) and use it to send a text message, add a colleague to your LinkedIn network, or see if the UPS guy has delivered your new slippers at your doorstep. Why? Because your entire existence revolves around your smartphone! And that’s exactly why every industry—including healthcare—should be seizing the opportunity.
Is Healthcare Behind the Curve?
When it comes to the smartphone revolution, the healthcare industry is falling way behind. Many of the healthcare apps on the market have not been well received by consumers, and much of the tech and functionality is not on par with what other industries are offering consumers.
“Consumers want their healthcare to be as convenient as buying something with one click on Amazon, or snapping a pic to deposit a check with their Chase app,” remarked Brent Shoji, TRAFFIK Executive Director. “Other industries have already laid the technology foundation with consumers, so now is the time for healthcare providers to show up on the scene with some really impressive offerings. I think what the healthcare industry needs right now are some really smart apps that reduce inefficiencies in the system and improve health outcomes, coupled with marketing strategies that raise awareness about what these apps can do for consumers.”
A Page from the Apple Playbook
“With Apple spearheading a new initiative to make medical records available on their Health app, consumers are primed to let healthcare become the next item on their list of things to let in to their smartphone life,” said Shane Kimsey, TRAFFIK Health’s Director of Health Operations. “Apple has a way of making everything extremely simple and intuitive, and my guess is that reading and understanding your medical records could soon become as straightforward as pairing your EarPods. The healthcare industry would be smart to emulate Apple when it comes to simplicity and ease of use. Consumers don’t want to jump through hoops to have a virtual appointment with their doctor. As long as the process is as pain-free as using Facetime or iMessage, user adoption has the potential to grow in a big way.”
The Way Forward
HIPAA guidelines and other government regulations have historically made things difficult for the healthcare industry to enact progress swiftly. Privacy has always been and will always be a concern, just as there will always be hackers and data miners looking to uproot the path to a better future.
Nevertheless, the smartphone revolution is here to stay. As long as consumers generally feel safe and secure, they’ve proven that they’re willing to take certain risks in the name of convenience. Given the convergence of smartphone technology, the need for better and more efficient care, and a desire by consumers for solutions that will make their lives easier and better, the conditions are right for apps to be widely embraced in the healthcare space.