Hospital app development is surging in 2022. If the trend continues at its current pace, the global market for healthcare apps could swell to an astounding $211.8 billion by 2028.
What’s influencing decisions by hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices to build apps? There are a few factors in play.
One of the biggest drivers is undoubtedly the emergence and continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forever changed how patients visit and interact with hospitals and receive care from doctors and nurses.
In an article detailing the use of telehealth during the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that “during the first quarter of 2020, the number of telehealth visits increased by 50%, compared with the same period in 2019, with a 154% increase in visits noted in surveillance week 13 in 2020, compared with the same period in 2019.”
The same article from the CDC also reported that “an estimated 41%–42% of U.S. adults reported having delayed or avoided seeking care during the pandemic because of concerns about COVID-19.”
But the pandemic isn’t the only factor driving app development among hospitals and clinics.
Another factor could relate to millennials and the preferences they have when it comes to how they receive care and interact with care providers. Millennials increasingly want telehealth options rather than the traditional primary care model that Generation Xers and baby boomers still favor.
One survey found that 40% of millennials think that telemedicine is an extremely or very important option when it comes to deciding where to seek care. Knowing that millennials now outnumber baby boomers, hospitals are undoubtedly eager to serve and build loyalty with this large, aging demographic.
Still, there are many other factors that could be unpacked. Wearable technology, low barrier software development tools, and overworked nurses are also factors leading hospitals to embark on a journey to develop software applications.
Want to embark on your own hospital app development journey? Here are 8 types of apps your hospital or clinic could build this year to meet the needs of employees and patients:
Telehealth spiked in popularity during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. While usage has somewhat stabilized since then, it’s much more popular now than it was before the pandemic.
Telehealth refers to the practice of accessing healthcare services or meeting with care providers through the use of computers and mobile devices.
According to a Mckinsey report published in summer 2021, “telehealth use has increased 38X from the pre-COVID-19 baseline.”
The report also shared data points that illustrate sentiments from both patients and providers about telehealth:
On the patient side, the report shared that “around 40 percent of surveyed consumers stated that they believe they will continue to use telehealth going forward—up from 11 percent of consumers using telehealth prior to COVID-19.”
On the provider side, the report found that “as of April 2021, 84 percent of physicians were offering virtual visits and 57 percent would prefer to continue offering virtual care.”
Whether building a telehealth app is the right next step depends on the type of patients you encounter and the specialties that exist at your hospital. Some specialties, like psychiatry, substance abuse treatment, and nutrition advisement, are easier to offer through telehealth than others.
Hospitals are struggling to keep nurses on staff, possibly due in part to the extra strain put on nurses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Bloomberg article recently shared that the U.S. will likely see an average of 194,500 unfilled nurses jobs through 2030.
To help solve staffing shortages and alleviate overworked nurses, many hospitals have developed and launched scheduling apps for staff.
These apps allow hospitals to schedule nurses more efficiently, manage unexpected changes, and communicate faster with team members.
With scheduling apps in place, nurses get on-demand access to view the schedule, submit shift change requests, and trade shifts with other nurses looking to pick up shifts.
A scheduling app could help you boost staff productivity and happiness. Need help creating one for your hospital? Tell us what you need.
Wayfinding apps help patients navigate through physical spaces at hospitals when trying to receive care, find a department, or visit a friend or family member.
Hospitals can be expansive and difficult to navigate, especially for patients who are visiting for the very first time.
A hospital wayfinding app uses GPS and hospital maps to show patients or visitors exactly where they are and what route they need to take.
Hospitals that introduce wayfinding applications, like Mercy Health did in 2017, can reduce staff interruptions, ensure patients arrive at appointments on time, accelerate patient throughput, and improve the overall patient experience.
Messaging and communication apps are also popular among hospitals and clinics looking to engage with patients, improve the experience, and provide faster updates from doctors and nurses.
Messaging apps are HIPAA-compliant and include features like instant messaging, appointment reminders, appointment scheduling, and appointment follow-up instructions. Some also include the ability to upload photos and videos and make phone calls.
You may find, however, that your needs are more unique than these third-party software companies can provide. If that’s the case, then building your own custom patient messaging app might be the best option for you.
In 2021, popular meditation startup Headspace merged with on-demand mental health service provider Ginger to form what’s now known as Headspace Health. Its mission is to transform mental healthcare by leaning into content and telehealth services.
According to an IMARC report, “the global mental health market reached a value of US$ 402.4 Billion in 2021.”
Consumers are increasingly looking for solutions that help them improve their mental health and wellbeing.
To serve that need, more hospitals are developing applications that offer the right mix of mental health and wellness content and consultation for patients.
These mental health and wellness apps provide educational resources like articles, videos, and audio presentations that consumers can use to improve their own health.
Some apps also connect patients in need to doctors, psychiatrists, and other care providers available within a hospital or care network.
Building a mental health and wellness education app can help you differentiate from other hospitals and provide more value to the patients who come through your door looking for help.
Hospitals are also developing apps for pregnant parents. These apps are also educational, providing parents with weekly updates about baby development, articles about birthing a child, information about the hospital, journaling capabilities, and helpful resources for new parents.
Some apps, like this one offered by Valley Health and this one from Memorial Healthcare System, also connect mothers to services they might need during pregnancy or right after the baby has been born.
Apps that cater to a specific subgroup of patients like these can go a long way when it comes to showing people what makes your hospital different from other options in your area.
One of the biggest overhauls hospitals can make has to do with how medical records are stored, shared, and accessed. Medical records and healthcare data apps streamline the traditional processes usually found in hospitals.
For patients, these types of apps offer instant, secure access to medical records and patient history (PHI), vaccine history, general health information, lab records, medication records, historical vitals, findings from check-ups and closer examinations, access to and management of records for your spouse and children, and the ability to share information out with schools or other doctors.
For providers, these types of patient portal apps offer a secure compliant way for doctors to share information with patients and with each other in order to streamline processes, offer more visibility, and improve care. Some apps will also include hospital payment and invoicing capabilities, eSignatures, and secure API integrations with other provider tools.
Medication and prescription tracking apps are also becoming more popular among consumers. These are apps that give patients access to information about the medications that have been prescribed by a doctor.
For patients, some apps offer the ability to get reminders or push notifications on your phone when it’s time to take or refill your medication. Others offer educational resources to help understand what the medication you’re taking is supposed to be doing for you and how it might interact with other medications you take.
Medication apps give doctors the ability to view, manage, and electronically prescribe medications for patients. They may also include access to complete patient health history, allergy alerts, and refill requests.
Developing a hospital app is one thing, but patient adoption is a whole other challenge you should be prepared to encounter.
How can you ensure that your doctors, nurses, and patients engage with the app you’ve spent so much time, energy, and money building? Keep the following tips in mind:
Tip #1: Survey doctors, nurses, and patients before you begin. Take time to understand what their needs are and where the biggest opportunities may be to improve processes, engagement, and experience.
Tip #2: Make your app user-friendly. Focus on the primary needs of your intended audience. Ask yourself: what actions do you need them to take and what is the simplest way you can lead them toward those actions? How can you simplify steps and information? What are the accessibility requirements you need to take into account?
Tip #3: Promote your app. Spend time promoting and educating people about your app in the weeks and months leading up to launch day and once it’s officially live. Help people understand why it exists, how it can help, and where to go if they need more information about it.
Tip #4: Ease security concerns. Help reluctant patients understand that your app is fully compliant and that their personal health information and communication with doctors are being stored and managed securely.
Crowdbotics provides managed app development to help healthcare providers build patient-facing, vendor-specific, or administrative tools.
Our custom software solutions for hospitals and independent physicians can improve operations, simplify billing, and deliver better patient outcomes.
Ready to tell us about your project? Visit our Healthcare Application Development page to get started.
April 14, 2022