Health information has gotten more accessible digitally. As modern policies and technology put the patient in the driver’s seat, companies across the healthcare industry have an opportunity to respond with direct and personalized service options through mobile apps.

One-hundred and thirty-three million Americans, 45 percent of the population, have at least one chronic disease. Healthcare for many people is about more than yearly check-up appointments. It encompasses daily decisions, medicine and procedures that all add up to the best possible health outcome.

Moving from mass communication to customized apps that combine a doctor’s expertise, a patient’s needs, and streamline clumsy paper processes will connect healthcare organizations to the patients they serve in unprecedented ways.

Continuity of Care

The most continuous and personalized care can be coordinated through an app. Connectivity means a patient with an urgent condition can notify their doctor’s office immediately, submit a photo, get feedback and even get a prescription without having to go to the ER. Time of day or night doesn’t hinder care.

Through an app patients and doctors both have access to patient history, previous tests, x-rays and results that can be easily reviewed before an appointment. HIPPA and confidentiality documents can be signed from a smartphone screen and stored in the app for future reference, quality assurance and compliance.

An app can help a patient access insurance information including in network physicians, deductibles, co-pays and relevant claims allowing the patient to know exactly what to expect financially.

With the integration of many of today’s smartphone and tablet features, the possibilities for improving the healthcare experience for patients are endless. Geo-location services set up in the app can help guide a patient to a medical office or department that is hard to find as well as alert staff that patients are on their way so they are prepared to greet them and take over care.

Patients who leave the doctor’s office can have reminders set for medications, follow-up appointments, or how to care for dressings, stitches or surgery sites. Communication between an office and patient can be continuous and coordinated. Everyday reminders after an appointment to take medication, important information about what to expect from a procedure, even the ability to notate reactions to medications, side effects, and changes in mood or behavior done in an app decreases chances of negative reactions and increases chances of successful treatment.

Employee Engagement

Healthcare facilities are only as good as the healthcare professionals they hire and train. According to studies by Deloitte and McKinsey Global Institute, productivity improves by up to 25 percent when employees are connected and engage, and one of the key tools for connection and engagement is the mobile app.

Keeping employees up to date on policies and standards, tracking employee behaviors that are important to treatment and sending reminders of licensure updates can keep one of the most important assets to any healthcare facility operating at 100 percent. Doing so through an app means immediate knowledge of who has completed trainings and who needs to update their file.

Push notifications can remind employees instead of HR spending time running around the clinic asking for tasks to be completed. Checklists and tests set up within an app can help new employees get up to speed faster than lengthy training programs. Embracing the possibilities of customized apps can lead to the improvement of every aspect of human resources.

In the patient room, employees who can quickly and easily access patient information through an app on a tablet are able to spend more time focused on the patient instead of sifting through paper charts. Easy input of information within that same app means everyone gets needed updates on patient status so the proper next steps can be initiated. Larger facilities who use apps to track patient care can quickly identify bottlenecks, work to improve processes and see efficiency and productivity improvements.

With well-designed and easily updated apps, hospitals and clinics can control information and apply analytics to achieve their productivity targets while simultaneously improving patient care.

Medical Support Services

The healthcare industry cannot be discussed without including pharmaceuticals, support companies and insurance. All medical offices have regular interactions with outside companies that can be streamlined and improved through an app. Everything from reporting to reordering, sales to maintenance, can be made easier.

The biomedical salesperson who arrives with an app that gracefully walks through the possibilities of their product, who can complete a sales transaction right at the break room table and who can receive reorders with just the push of a button is not only improving a tedious process, but building a lasting impression.

Styker equipped its sales team with an app that brought together important white papers, detailed and interactive medical illustrations and product demos. The results were a 78 percent usage rate by salespeople, a savings of $3.9 million in printing, storage and distribution costs, and a huge decrease in time to market for their biomedical products. The Stryker app provides the training and sales tools that their teams need to communicate with medical professionals.

Mobile apps, Customize the Patient Experience with Mobile Apps

The insurance adjustor who can select the right pathway to explain policies for either a patient or a clinic within the same app, saves hassle, time and makes what is sometimes convoluted and complex simple and more engaging. Setting up recurring payments on the spot, entering historical information and getting someone covered in a matter of minutes instead of days or weeks is nothing but beneficial to the salesperson, their company and those they cover.

When Medtronic moved to an app that brought the most up to date information to its sales team, they were able to secure their competitive edge in the market. Medtronic’s app can be updated quickly to reach thousands of employees handling thousands of assets. They can now spend more time selling, and have better close rates – exactly what most support companies need.

The possibilities in the healthcare industry, the pharmaceutical industry and the medical insurance industry are vast when it comes to connectivity and access. Improving on every step of the patient process – from initial call to insurance claim – is what is possible with the right app design.

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Lahary Ravuri is passionate about mobile technologies and the role mobile plays in connecting people, products and services. She serves as group manager of product marketing for Adobe Experience Manager Mobile, responsible for business growth and go-to-market strategy for Adobe’s enterprise mobile apps business. For more than 15 years Lahary worked with application lifecycle management solutions in various product management, engineering and marketing roles. Prior to Adobe, Lahary held product and strategic marketing roles at Kony, HP, IBM and other technology start ups in Silicon Valley. Lahary holds an MBA from UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business and an M.S. from San Jose State University.

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