With limited time to consult, diagnose and treat an increasing number of patients, doctors are turning to smartphones and medical apps to provide better treatment for those under their care.
These apps must be grounded in sound medical science, of course, and it’s essential that they go through exhaustive testing and refinement before being released through app stores.
If you’re considering using an app as part of the daily routine at your practice, read on for information on top features of medical apps used by doctors to help guide your decision.
An app that includes comprehensive drug reference information will be invaluable to any working doctor. It will need to include warnings about contraindications with other prescription medications as well as over-the-counter drugs and herbal remedies.
In addition, the app should provide guidance about foods that are forbidden, such as grapefruit or licorice, which can interfere with drug metabolism.
Medical Literature Research
Since doctors are so busy moving from patient to patient, they often have limited time to keep up with the latest research from peer-reviewed medical journals.
An app that provides access to the medical literature gives physicians flexibility so they can take advantage of idle moments to look into some new information published by their peer, or look up something while with a patient.
Access to the Practice’s Electronic Health Record System
Many modern medical practices rely on electronic health record or EHR software to keep track of each patient’s digital chart.
Doctors who are on rounds at an affiliated hospital or who are otherwise out of the office can still connect with the EHR while on the go if they have an app that communicate with this data (typically stored in the cloud for easier access). The National Institutes for Health reported that access to EHR data is a primary motivation for physicians to use a mobile device.
Needless to say, this information is highly sensitive and is protected by HIPAA regulations regarding patient privacy, so the app must have robust encryption and other security features before a physician would consider using it.
The ability to quickly generate a prescription electronically for immediate transmission to the patient’s pharmacy is invaluable. Doctors want this so their patients can get their medication without delay.
Secure Messaging Between Staff and Patients
Medical practices often will want to set up a patient portal to facilitate communication between patients and the staff. A medical app that allows for secure messaging between care giver and care receiver is more efficient than relying on people waiting on hold on the phone to leave a message at the practice.
Evidence-Based Decision Making
The faster and more accurately a doctor can come to a decision about what is wrong with a patient and how to address it, the better the outcome. This is a top feature for medical apps because it can improve in making a differential diagnosis.
The promise of augmented reality is a world overlaid with a wide range of information to help users navigate through complex systems, whether a city street in a foreign country or a computer-generated model of the human brain.
Augmented reality in a medical app provides a number of benefits. Doctors and students training to be doctors will be able to visualize the body with dynamic 3D models, noted ReferralMD.
Consider the DoctorMole app, which was created to help physicians assess skin moles by aiming their smartphone camera at the patient’s skin. Its augmented reality is supported by an algorithm that integrates criteria according to the Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter and Risk (ABCDE) approach. The app helps the doctor determine a mole’s malignancy more easily, according to MedCityNews.
In the melting pot of cultures that is America, not everyone can speak or write in English. This presents a major problem for doctors who do not understand a sick patient, since asking questions is an important part of the differential diagnosis.
If a doctor cannot readily communicate with a patient because no human translator is currently available on the scene, treatment can be hampered. This is why translation is a top feature for medical apps for doctors, for written and spoken communications. A medical app for doctors with multiple language options and the ability to access more languages on the fly will be immensely valuable.
Data mining is revolutionizing how people do work in a wide range of industries, from financial to military, and medicine is no exception. The brute force crunching through the numbers along with sophisticated programming to parse all the data can lead to previously unimaginable abilities to discover important patterns and trends.
To that end, FDNA of Boston developed its Face2Gene platform. According to Fortune, doctors can use a mobile app to upload a photo of a patient with a mysterious disease. The FDNA platform uses AI and data mining to scour through its database of photos of diseased patients to help identify the malady.
Data mining that includes access to real-time information would be very useful in a medical app, because it can accomplish tasks such as helping identify the spread of a disease outbreak as it threatens the local community or discovering a strange constellation of injuries or illnesses that center around a particular demographic or location.
Patient Connectivity and Status Tracking
Monitoring patient status from remote will be easier with the right mobile app. For example, at the Temple University’s Temple Lung Center, researchers developed an app called “COPD Co-Pilot.”
Patients download the app and are prompted to use their smartphone to report in once a day about their symptoms, such as wheezing or breathlessness, taking airflow readings from their lungs with a hand-held meter, noted the Wall Street Journal.
Nurses and doctors use the app to receive this timely information to stay aware of which patients might need immediate intervention (and which patients didn’t check in that day.) When telemetry and telemedicine combine in the form of a smartphone app supported by various sensors taking data from patients, doctors will be able to provide better care, even if they cannot be in the same room as those they are diagnosing.
Get The Medical App Features You Need To Be Successful & Efficient
You may have already tried a few apps based on recommendations from fellow healthcare practitioners or that you discovered while searching.
Keep in mind that app developers seeking the widest possible user base will tend to include only the most pressing features that they can determine from their end user research. This means they have to compromise and get by with apps that don’t completely meet their requirements.
If you’re looking for a medical app that will help improve job performance and provide better treatment for your patients, you should consider developing your own solution by partnering with a team of mobile application developers that understand the medical space and how it interfaces with the latest in software and technology.
You can also contact us online or call 804-823-5825 with any questions or for more information.