Why build an app for patients with chronic disease? Is there any sense in it provided there are dozens of medical apps already in the market? Are there any economic reasons to build another one?
Electronic health (or eHealth) and Mobile health (or mHealth) are gaining traction today as the US healthcare system needs additional tools to solve the problems it is facing. Those problems are not new – they have been known for some 60 years already.
The Problems of the US Healthcare System
The U.S. spends more per capita on health services than any other country in the world. According to the Statista portal data, in 2000, national health expenditure per capita came to $4,881, and in 2017 this figure increased to more than $10 300. At that the Population Reference Bureau says that the number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to more than 98 million by 2060, and “the 65-and-older age group’s share of the total population will rise to nearly 24 percent from 15 percent”.
It should be also mentioned that the share of people with chronic diseases also rises. 133 million Americans – 45% of the population – have at least one chronic disease. Chronic diseases, as well as costing lives and reducing the quality of life, are also increasing demand for healthcare and driving up costs.
The lack of healthcare professionals and nurses is also a critical issue of the healthcare system in the US. Demand for physicians grows faster than supply and this means patient having difficulties while getting high-quality care and the hospitals are at risk of mistakes and misdiagnoses as well as of organizational failures. Nurses are also the workforce in high demand. They are the cornerstone of health service provided by the American healthcare system. According to Sigma, in the US hospitals, 126,000 nursing positions remain unfilled, while 90 percent of long-term care facilities don't have enough nurses to provide even the most basic care. The growing shortfall of doctors and nurses will create more problems as time passes. And for sure every tool making their work easier and more efficient will be beneficial for the system from top to bottom.
A New App for Chronic Disease Management – Is It Worth Powder and Shot?
As we already mentioned chronic disease management is a real challenge in today’s healthcare. Many chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and chronic lung disease need to maintain daily self-management routines and manage complex interactions with the healthcare system in order to control symptoms and avoid complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data says that “86 percent of the nation’s $2.7 trillion annual health care expenditures are for people with chronic and mental health conditions. Though these costs can be reduced by means of early prevention and use of effective chronic disease management tools.
One of those tools are medical apps, the ones for specialized medical devices used by hospitals and the ones designed for common use smartphones or tablets for home and self-care monitoring helping doctors, nurses, and patients and their families to prevent adverse effects of a disease.
There is already a large variety of medical apps for health care professionals (HCP) and for patients. They help to keep track of personal health, recovery, medication dosing, monitoring, as well as doctor consultation making the doctor-patient interaction more convenient and less expensive.
Healthcare app types as stated by Thinkmobiles include:
Educational apps for students and healthcare professionals (anatomy, safety precautions, such as the right way to wash hands, etc., including augmented reality apps)
Educational apps for patients with chronic conditions (training patients to measure blood pressure, sugar level, etc.)
Apps to monitor chronic conditions (diabetes, blood pressure, cancer, etc.)
General health test, fitness, wellness apps, cardio apps (healthy lifestyle apps)
Women’s health apps (pregnancy, calendar, feeding, etc.)
Weight loss apps, diet apps (trackers, exercises, etc.)
Mental health apps (for disorders, stress relief)
Sleep apps (relaxing music and sounds)
Nursing apps (scheduling, tracking, medical records)
Doctor on-demand apps (doctor appointment, online consulting, doctor booking)
Diagnosis apps for preventive purposes, medical reference apps, symptom checkers
Medical record apps (EMR)
Social networking apps.
$60 Billion is the forecast for healthcare app market by 2020 and you can become a part of this market to provide better care for your patients and to empower you healthcare specialists with a tool making their work more efficient.
How Apps Can Help Manage Chronic Diseases
The IT technology allows hospital and doctors to use digital tools helping their patients with chronic disease to take better care of themselves. Chronic diseases cause 7 of 10 deaths in the US and constitute 86% of healthcare costs. The chronic ailments causing the biggest part of those deaths include diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease. Prevention and treatment of chronic conditions is an expensive and time-consuming issue, though daily self-management can help patients keep their daily regimes, take medications correctly and monitor their vitals at home eliminating the need of expensive visits to the hospital. This means fewer costs both for patients and hospitals.
Almost everyone has a mobile phone or a tablet which can be used to track the state of the person and help to get the information about a person’s disease. In addition, many people feel more comfortable when interacting with digital technology than with a live doctor or nurse. This is another reason to use medical apps for chronic disease management.
5 Steps to Create a Chronic Illness Assistant App
If you decided to develop medical apps for chronic disease management, we’d like to give you some advice.
1. Before the development itself, you have to define what app you really need. Here we speak about the app functionality – you have to decide should it be a simple symptom checker or a complex chronic illness assistant app (such as a virtual nurse). The functionality requirements will translate into the app development cost.
2. Note that you must have a treatment plan behind your app, so you’ll need to cooperate with healthcare professionals to develop it.
3. Remember about compliance. The healthcare system has definite standards applied to medical apps.
4. Find an IT partner who will be able to deliver you the product satisfying your requirements. This partner must not only develop the app but also ensure QA, testing, and support of your app.
5. Remember you’ll have to support and update your app in accordance with the market changes and the needs of your patients.
If you’re looking for an experienced app developer, we are already here. Archer Software is a premier software development company, partnering for success with over than 200 start-ups and enterprises across various areas of the economy, including healthcare. Find our full healthcare-related portfolio here. Fill the form to discuss the details of your future project. Our managers will contact you instantly and will help you with the estimate for your app.