Connected health apps are driving change across the healthcare industry. The transition to value-based outcomes, an aging population, and new mobile and wearable technologies are driving mHealth apps to the forefront.

Advances in connected health technologies hold great promise that healthcare can be delivered in smarter, simpler, and more cost effective ways. Mobile technologies can foster patient engagement, enhance care team communication, reduce cost of delivery, and improve the health care experience for both patients and their providers.

The key is figuring out which connected health apps to tackle first. This blog outlines a few of the key use cases that are showing positive impact. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it provides several great places to start.

All of these use cases can be delivered via Kinvey’s HIPAA compliant mobile application development platform.

CONNECTED HEALTH Connected Health: Chronic disease management 

Management of chronic diseases consumes about 70% of healthcare costs. New connected health mobile apps are empowering patients to actively manage their condition. These apps are a great resource for patients to track their progress, educate themselves, regularly complete health surveys, receive medication reminders, and communicate with their providers. All of this results in fewer visits to the hospital, a healthier, more purpose-driven lifestyle, more reliable medication adherence, and better patient outcomes. Accenture conducted an analysis of early connected health monitoring apps and found that, on average, use of a condition-specific app resulted in a 15-20% reduction in hospital days and 30% fewer ER visits. What our webinar on Patient Reported Outcome applications to learn more.

Connected Health: ResearchKit-based apps 

The Food and Drug Administration requires evidence of safety, effectiveness, and proof that benefits outweigh risks before approving drugs, devices, vaccines, and therapies.  Recruiting research participants has been a challenge, but the large number of iPhone users means that connected health apps built using Apple’s ResearchKit can make it easier to enroll participants and conduct studies. More data gives researchers the ability to gain insights and discover correlations that were not possible before. ResearchKit provides an open source framework for building research-related apps. Kinvey has recently released our KinveyResearchKit SDK to help you deliver your connected health apps even faster.

CONNECTED HEALTHConnected Health: Wayfinding apps

Navigating the hallways and buildings of a complex hospital campus can add an extra layer of anxiety to an already stressful experience for patients, their families, and their friends. In the past, designers have incorporated specific furnishings, color schemes, and other design elements with traditional signage to guide people through healthcare facilities. Now there is a new generation of technology-driven wayfinding tools being added to the mix that use location-based navigation to help guide visitors to their destinations. Maps show a user’s location and provide directions to desired services.

Connected Health: Discharge communications and readmission avoidance

In fiscal 2016, Medicare penalties will hit 2,665 out of 3,400 U.S. hospitals subject to the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program. Nearly one in five Medicare patients that are discharged from the hospital returns there within 30 days, and between 50 percent and 75 percent of those readmissions are considered preventable. Readmissions are a major problem in U.S. healthcare today. Mobile apps can deliver quick ROI. Key use cases include pre-op/post-op instructions with patient feelings surveys, and discharge summaries with specific medication and care instructions.

CONNECTED HEALTHConnected Health: Scheduling and prescription management

Reducing no-shows and the burden of administrative tasks while increasing revenue by empowering patients is an attractive prospect. Providing patients the ability to book, cancel, or change appointments, request prescription refills via a mobile app, and receive paperless patient intake with automatic eligibility checks can positively impact provider practices and patient satisfaction.

Connected Health: Patient access to medical records

Everyone has the federally guaranteed right to see and get a copy of their medical records from healthcare providers including doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and nursing homes. The problem is that there are many different data sources and incompatible protocols that make creating this view difficult. But new mobile platforms that integrate and aggregate various sources now make it easier for hospitals to provide a mobile app that allows them to comply with this rule to give patients access to their medical records in one view.

CONNECTED HEALTHConnected Health: Express care

Express care apps enable patients to connect online with their physician via a secure app from the comfort of their home or work using their mobile device or desktop. Instead of going into the office for a follow up visit, patients can connect with their provider live and online using a computer, tablet, or smartphone. It’s hard to carve out the time to travel, park, and wait for an appointment with a provider – an express care app can save patients 2-3 hours per visit.

Connected Health: Physician referral, directory, and second opinion

Out-of-network referrals lead to loss of revenue and loss of control over information exchange. Mobile apps can reduce leakage and streamline the referral process by providing a directory of physicians with profiles, photos, credentials, research publication, patient ratings, addresses, and directions. Users can search for physicians by zip code, gender, medical specialty, and insurance providers and request an appointment directly from the app. Patients can request an online second opinion and an app can prepare the patient’s medical records, imaging, and test results for online review – significantly cutting the request/response time.

CONNECTED HEALTHConnected Health: Physician access to patient clinical data anywhere, anytime

Apps that free caregivers from their offices or workstations by providing access to health records from anywhere are proving to be highly valuable. These apps can also include access to lab results and medical imaging to allow providers to view images and make medical diagnoses. Physicians are freed from the need to carry a bulky laptop with saved records or manage access to multiple systems to have their patient information in front of them when they need it – Information such as EHR data, lab and test results, medication lists, clinical notes, OB Wheel, vital signs and I/O, and allergies.

That wraps it up for this post. However, there are a lot of other connected health use cases on our HIPAA Compliant app cloud providing Backend as a Service for your mobile, web and IoT app needs.  If you have one and you want to share, please let me know by commenting below and feel free to contact us to learn more.