A health insurance app is a mobile application that connects a patient to their electronic health record. Mobile devices have been an important part of the way that the health industry operates since the invention of the Blackberry, and mobile health apps are simply the next step in this technological evolution. By incorporating mobile health apps, many practices are able to change the way patients view and interact with the medical process. With greater access to information and more control over their treatment plans, patients are able to take an active role that would have been impossible without mobile technology.
Streamlined Doctor-Patient Communication
Although doctor-patient communication is an essential part of the medical process, it’s frequently a source of frustration and confusion. Medical professionals simply do not have time to answer every question, but patients do not have another reliable source of information. This dilemma often results in missed phone calls, long hold times, and unnecessary return visits just to confirm information from a previous appointment.
Medical health apps can bridge this gap and provide patients the answers they’ve been looking for. Patients can immediately solve their problems, and medical professionals can use the time that would have been spent answering questions to care for even more patients in need.
Access Health Information
As defined by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, an electronic health record is a platform that allows everyone involved in the medical process to access records related to a patient’s treatment. This may include lab results, medical notes, and diagnoses from previous visits.
The key element of an EHR is that patients have access to their own medical information. This provides a sense of control over the medical process that helps many patients accept and adhere to the treatments that have been prescribed.
In the medical industry, the benefits of digital appointment-setting cannot be understated. Most EHRs that are attached to a practice allow patients to schedule, alter, or cancel appointments from within the app. As long as the app is integrated with the practice’s internal calendar, all that is required on the part of support staff is a brief confirmation call in the days leading up to the actual appointment. This saves time and ensures that patients can actually receive care in a way that suits their own schedule.
Medical practices frequently provide health information in the form of brochures and printed documents. If this information is misplaced, it could result in a patient failing to follow the requirements of their treatment plan.
Medical health apps often include access to a database of information related to patient care. Patients can easily view documents and medical information associated with their own treatment. This simple document-sharing feature makes each app a valuable resource for both patients and support staff.
Upload Diagnostic Photos
The concept of remote medical diagnosis is slowly gaining in popularity as a way for doctors to advise to patients who cannot make it to the practice’s physical location. Many mobile health apps allow patients to take photos and upload them for their doctors to review. If the photo quality is good, the doctor can often make an instant recommendation and help the patient decide whether to seek further medical attention.
One of the benefits of EHRs is that these photos can be stored for later reference. If the medical condition progresses, doctors can look back on the original diagnostic photos to compare the prevalence of symptoms.
Chat with Medical Professionals
Some people simply prefer to communicate over text than by phone. This may be because of time constraints, social anxiety, or even disabilities that prevent standard voice communication.
The best EHRs offer patients the ability to chat with a practice’s support staff from directly within the application. This customer service feature is a convenient way to provide quick answers and medical support. Chats can also be paused by either the professionals or the patient and re-opened when both parties are available for communication.
Treatment Adherence and Wellness Plans
Tracking and planning features are simple to implement and massively beneficial for the patients who use them. Many mobile health apps treat these features as standard elements that help patients feel more in control of their health.
Forgetting to take a pill is a common occurrence, but it can also be thoroughly disruptive to a patient’s health. Many EHRs offer a simple medication reminder system that helps patients stay on track. Push notifications will ensure that patients take their pills at the recommended times; the apps can even be programmed to help patients manage multiple different medications at once.
Switching to a new dietary plan isn’t always easy. Mobile applications are excellent tools for both nutritionists and patients in their quest to make health-related lifestyle changes.
These apps often include both dietary reminders and tracking capabilities. Patients can record their recent meals and review the nutritional content of those food items. Then, the app can make recommendations based on the meal plan prescribed by their doctor.
From exercise to meditation, many treatment plans involve small lifestyle shifts that are surprisingly difficult to adhere to. As with dietary changes, simple reminders and tracking plans can help patients improve their habits and reach a state of overall wellness.
Some health apps include local information related to fitness and wellness classes. Patients may be able to find resources near their location, view class schedules, and even sign up for classes from within the app itself.
One simple feature that many health apps offer is a patient-exclusive journal to record their rehabilitation process. Whether they’re going through physical therapy or recovering from substance abuse, these journals help patients track their progress and understand the mental effects of their treatment plan.
Some apps allow doctors to review these entries and use them to make treatment decisions. Whether they’re private or shared with professionals, ease of implementation has made journals a common feature of health insurance apps.
All of the features used in modern medical health applications and electronic health records are standard aspects of mobile technology. Document uploads, digital communication, notification-based reminders, and tracking features are simple to program and easy to use. When used together, these features help both patients and doctors have more control over diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.