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Developing hospital mobile applications aim to educate patients

Hospitals are looking to use mobile health applications to give their patients a more detailed look into their facilities.

When the Internet gained wide popularity, every hospital tried to build a website that could inform patients about their services, facilities and providers. More functionality has since been added to hospital websites -- such as online bill pay, scheduling and personal health records -- and there is now interest in deploying hospital mobile applications to complement these websites.

The following hospital mobile app features would be popular among patients:

Directory services: For most patients, it can be challenging to find their way around some of today's large hospital campuses. Visiting a specialist or a physician at a large hospital facility can lead to missed appointments, delays and frustration. Access to a hospital mobile application that locates a department, physician or building would be a great tool for patients and visitors.

Functions of mobile health apps

Physicians support mHealth apps

Healthcare apps regulated as medical devices

Patients, physicians can connect through mobile apps

Self-service:  The ability to request medication refills, securely message their provider, book appointments, review lab results and pay their balance gives patients incentive to access their information electronically. Not only do these functions improve patient satisfaction scores, but they also present tremendous cost savings for hospitals, as they reduce incoming call volume and the need for 24/7 call centers.

Educational content: Facilities such as Kaiser Permanente and the Mayo Clinic have been providing patients with mobile educational content, allowing them to view material regarding a specific condition or procedure offered by a hospital.

Tracking and monitoring services: There are a number of health institutes that are offering mobile apps that track weight, cholesterol, pain levels, medications, glucose levels and other health metrics that can be utilized by healthcare providers. Use of data from these apps isn't yet widely used by hospitals.

With the increasing competition in the healthcare marketplace, and the need to encourage a strong and more engaged relationship with patients, hospitals are recognizing the value of mobile apps. The chance for hospitals to reduce hospital readmissions, improve patient satisfaction scores and collect patient information are strong incentives to pursue a comprehensive mobile app.

Reda Chouffani is vice president of development with Biz Technology Solutions Inc., which provides software design, development and deployment services for the healthcare industry. Let us know what you think about the story; email or contact @SearchHealthIT on Twitter.

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