The usage of mobile apps in healthcare, MedTech, and eHealth has skyrocketed in the past 5 years. According to Liquid-State, in 2018 there were over 318,000 mobile healthcare apps available for patients, and approximately 200 new healthcare apps being built each day. This number is staggering, and we can assume that this number has increased substantially since the Covid-19 pandemic.
You are probably starting to question how healthcare workers are supposed to navigate through them all to safely recommend and even prescribe these apps to patients.
It’s definitely not an easy task. But don’t you worry, we have done the investigation for you! We will give you a background on healthcare apps, share insights on what patients look for in an app, and then share the 8 best healthcare apps for patients.
What are healthcare apps?
Health and wellness apps fall under the category of healthcare. Even though both are very similar, they do have very distinct differences.
A wellness app is a mobile software that enhances or tracks the overall health of the user. These apps can address mental, physical, social, environmental, or even spiritual factors that relate to overall health.
Benefits of Healthcare Apps
As you may already realize, mobile healthcare app development has become instrumental for healthcare providers to be able to meet the ever-changing needs of their patients and stay ahead of competitors. Those providers that team up with digital experts to strategically design and build quality mobile experiences will enhance patient loyalty — which will positively impact their current and future revenue.
Digital health trends reveal that patients are turning to their smartphones more than ever for health advice, video call examinations, prescriptions, and to track their overall health. Healthcare apps provide undeniable convenience that patients value. The innovations in mobile healthcare technology offer patients reduced costs, immediate access to individualized care, and the opportunity to have more control over their health.
In the digital age, we have, what feels like, the world at our fingertips. We have access to endless information and data. Mobile healthcare apps for patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease provide data that change their lives for the better. Access to apps that track their daily numbers and progress allows patients and physicians to better identify treatments. This is only a small example of the list of benefits these apps have for users and healthcare providers alike.
What do patients want in a healthcare app?
Although mobile healthcare apps are intended to improve the quality of care for patients, the majority of them fail to match their expectations.
“Simply having a mobile app is not enough,” said Brian Kalis, managing director in Accenture’s Health practice. “Apps are failing to engage patients by not aligning their functionality and user experience with what consumers expect and need. Consumers want ubiquitous access to products and services as part of their customer experience, and those who become disillusioned with a provider’s mobile services – or a lack thereof – could look elsewhere for services.”
According to the app usage data, most of the healthcare apps have less than 10,000 downloads. This is an extraordinarily low number in comparison to all of the mobile healthcare apps available for download.
It’s obvious that there is endless opportunity for growth in eHealth, the healthcare app development market is expected to hit $102.43 billion by the end of 2022. In order for providers to grow with the industry, they need to identify pain points and pivot to create life-changing experiences for app-users.
Here at Rootstrap, we are expert medtech app developers. We’re passionate about creating healthcare apps that cater to patients and address the inefficiencies in the healthcare system.
We have found these are the top features patients look for in healthcare apps:
- Functionality: Easy to Use
In general, apps that require a lot of time to figure out quickly lose users. The sign-in process should be smooth and simple. It’s great to have unique functionalities in the app, but the basic features should be easily accessible to the end-users.
If it’s a health app, patients look for functionality that helps them save time on booking, changing, or canceling a doctor’s appointment.
If it’s a wellness app, patients look for functionality that helps them quickly track information, review data, and the option to share information with a health practitioner if necessary.
Apps should feel the same for Android and iPhone users. Patients look for healthcare apps that work well for iOS and Android users alike. Healthcare providers should look for eHealth app developers that can create reliable solutions for patients — no matter what mobile phone they choose to have.
- Accessibility: Clear Information with Actionable Steps for All Users
The healthcare app needs to provide clear and actionable information for all users. What we mean by this is that many apps fail to take patients with disabilities into consideration. It is important to cater to the needs of all potential users and provide reasonable and helpful functions.
Patients usually download healthcare apps to learn more about their condition, the causes, and take action based on the available opportunities. It’s important that apps provide interactive tools to keep users engaged and feel that they are receiving individualized care.
- Easy Communication with Professionals
According to AJMC, studies show that nearly 75% of doctors, ER, and urgent care visits could be handled via phone or video. It was also calculated that the average time for an in-person visit was 121 minutes. Many impromptu visits are basic and don’t need an in-person evaluation.
Apps can save patients and practitioners incredible amounts of time if built correctly. Telehealth services need to provide the same or better experiences than conventional in-person doctor-patient interactions.
According to the Journal of Medical Internet Research, social features in healthcare apps enhanced patients’ ability to commit to treatment plans and healthier habits. Online communities provide a space to interact with others going through similar situations. Fostering a positive and helpful community for end-users will yield a great return on investment for all.
Social features in healthcare apps allow users to connect and share messages of hope. This space is essential for those who have received an upsetting medical diagnosis and engaging with others can provide them with inspiration and strength during their road to recovery.
8 Best Healthcare Apps for Patients
We have identified the 8 best healthcare apps for patients. These apps are not only meeting patient expectations, but exceeding them.
Generis is on a mission to help people improve their lives by understanding their genes. This innovative healthcare app is powered by an individual’s DNA. At first glance you realize that the interface is easy to use and aesthetically beautiful which may be why patients love it.
Generis provides DNA-based advice, fitness recommendations, food, nutrition, and supplement recommendations, and more. This healthcare app aims to help users understand their genes while providing safe, accurate, and actionable steps. The goal is to empower users through education to be the best version of themselves.
For the most use of this healthcare app, Generis can retrieve DNA data from 23 and ME and Ancestry.com. App users without DNA data from 23 and ME and Ancestry.com can still receive recommendations based on goals and lifestyle inputs.
You might be wondering, why does DNA matter?
According to Generis, some bodies burn different sources of energy more efficiently than others, and other bodies respond to different workouts by burning more energy. Rather than trial and error or just guesswork, Generis found the formula to make the best-personalized recommendations for users.
Their genetics experts have hand-selected over 50+ genetic markers that have a proven impact on the wellness trait. Every claim that Generis makes is backed by scientific evidence in peer-reviewed journals.
Teladoc connects patients to a board-certified doctor 24/7 through the convenience of phone or video visits. This app provides patients with quick and easy communication with doctors who are ready to listen and resolve their issues.
If medically necessary, doctors can also quickly prescribe medication and connect with the pharmacy of choice. Teladoc integrates Apple HealthKit to enhance user experience. This seamless integration enables providers to form a better diagnosis and import the patient’s most recent medical details.
This app has over 227,000 ratings and 4.8 stars. Patients love the convenience and overall ease of use of Teladoc.
This mobile healthcare app is a trailblazer in counseling. BetterHelp allows patients to have quick, inexpensive, easy access to mental health professionals. BetterHelp is a convenient way to get professional help from licensed therapists and counselors online.
With over 14,000 positive reviews, patients enjoy individualized private care through video chat and messaging. The reviews highlight patients who feel more satisfied with their online therapy sessions than with previous in-person therapy experiences. Online counseling provides a safe space for all.
There are over 3000 trained, experienced and accredited counselors covering a wide range of areas — from depression and anxiety to family and couples therapy. This mobile healthcare app individualizes the experience and connects patients with counselors who best meet their needs. They also have group webinar offerings fostering community and support for patients.
MDacne provides users immediate access to Dermatologists. Gone are the days patients had to wait months for their Dermatologist appointment. MDacne is said to be the future of acne treatments. In less than 5 minutes, they are able to provide a treatment based on the user’s skin. The app is incredibly easy to use and has a wonderful interface.
MDacne has advanced tech that monitors skin, sets treatment reminders, initiates chats with Dermatologists, and provides recommendations that actually work. If patients are off-put by chemical treatments, they also shares natural remedies to help with the most frustrating acne issues like scarring, or redness.
How does it work?
- Patients answer some questions about their skin.
- Patients take a photo.
- Within minutes, the app assesses the skin.
- Recommends treatment that can be crafted just for the user and sent to their doorstep.
This app has over 200k positive ratings. With the rise of prescribed medical Marijuana to cure various health conditions — Leafly has become the one-stop-shop for cannabis information. This healthcare app connects patients with doctors, clinics, and dispensaries in just a click.
Leafly’s purpose is to shed some light on the previously controversial plant. Their community empowers and educates fellow users about the thousands of strains. They provide safe and actionable steps backed up by lab-sourced data.
This healthcare app’s motto is to “make diabetes suck less!” MySugr allows patients to track their blood sugar, carbs, bolus and estimated HbA1c all at a glance. Users say that MySugr has transformed their lives. Logging their data daily has allowed them to have better control over their condition. Doctors are also allowed to review the data to better treat patients.
This easy to use app also provides users with motivating challenges and feedback to help cope with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is difficult to cope with and this app has been an important ally to many.
7. EyeCare Live
EyeCare Live allows you to connect with your own eye doctor through the convenience of your smartphone. It is not recommended to use this app if you are experiencing serious conditions. This healthcare app works best for patients experiencing dry eyes, red eyes, allergy eyes, or questions about contact lenses.
First, you are connected to a doctor where you are asked to record your condition through pictures or videos of affected eyes. Within minutes, your doctor is able to see you through high definition video to better understand and help resolve your condition.
Physician house calls were a common practice dating back to the 1930’s, and it’s popularity fell increasingly in the 20th century. Heal is determined to bring physician house calls back. Due to the COVID pandemic, Heal provides peace of mind, allowing patients to avoid exposure to contagious viruses at the doctor’s office or urgent care. With over 3k positive ratings, Heal is climbing to the top as one of the best healthcare apps of 2021.
With Heal, patients are realizing that at home visits enable doctors to get a holistic view of what could be influencing their health, by observing their environment and overall lifestyle. This holistic view allows doctors to provide better care and recommendations for their patients.
Heal is currently only available to 102 million Americans in the following states: New Jersey, California, Maryland, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, North Carolina, New York, Virginia, Washington, and Washington, D.C. For patients with insurance, visits usually cost as much as a regular copay. For patients without insurance, patients pay $159 per visit.
The Future of Healthcare Apps
Healthcare professionals are working diligently to transform their services and provide patients with the care and convenience desired. The innovative realm of mobile healthcare app development will continue to grow and improve. These apps are not always perfect but are currently providing users the care they need, when they need it.
It is important for users to understand that these apps still do not completely replace in-person annual check-ups and patients should still physically report to professionals when necessary. However, as we’ve seen with the Coronavirus and similar epidemics internationally, unexpected current events can quickly prove technologies to be critical. During the US stay-at-home orders in spring of 2020, use of virtual doctor visits went up 50% or more. The same trend held true for other hard-to-disrupt industries, such as online education, which saw an overall traffic increase of 234%.
Nonetheless, these apps have transformed the lives of many for the better and will continue to.
Frequently Asked Questions
Fitbit and Garmin are the industry incumbents in the fitness tracking space at this time. Outside general health and wellbeing fitness tracking, there are also a variety of companies focused on niche health wearable markets, such as fall alert devices for elderly and hospice patients.
Outside traditional insurance and health networks, there are a variety of startups focused on easing the friction for consumers with common health issues like the cold or rashes, who need fast care at an affordable price. Lemonaid, MDLIVE, and Doctor on Demand are good examples of this type of service currently growing quickly in the telemedicine market.
Apps like Doctor on Demand commonly offer insurance-free consultations with MDs for as low as $75 per call. Most apps pricing will vary depending on your insurance status and the type of service required. For example, psychiatric sessions will normally cost upwards of $175 into the mid-hundreds, while basic consultations will normally be well below $100.
Some of the best healthcare apps for 2021 are:
● Generis – DNA & Nutrition
● Teladoc – 24/7 Access to a Doctor
● Better Help – Online Counseling
● MDacne – Custom Acne Treatment
● Leafly – Cannabis Community
● MySugr – Diabetes Tracker Log
● EyeCare Live
● Heal – Physician house calls are back
See how top healthcare app developers are able to bring these ideas to life.