Advantages of Using Mobile Apps in the Healthcare Industry
The use of mobile apps in the healthcare industry has transformed many traditional ways of practice. Smartphones have become a common use object in hospitals and for individuals. This leads to a visible increase in the development of mobile healthcare apps, specifically for mental healthcare concerns. Healthcare apps are particularly popular for mental health-related issues. There are a number of mobile application out there to target mental health issues.
Several apps are now available for individuals to look after certain healthcare needs. Moreover, there are mobile apps available for healthcare professionals to perform many important tasks. These tasks include communication and consultancy, reference and information collection, patient management and monitoring, and medical education and training.
However, despite all of the benefits of healthcare apps, a better understanding of practices related to the use of mobile healthcare apps needs to be done. This is to ensure the proper use of these useful tools in the healthcare industry and the individuals.
Mobile Apps and Mental Healthcare
Smartphone-based mental health apps represent a unique opportunity to expand the availability of quality mental health treatment. The number of mobile health apps focused on mental health has rapidly increased. A WHO survey done in 2015 revealed that mobile healthcare apps has 29% focus on mental health diagnosis, treatment, and support.
Contribution of Mobile Apps in the Treatment of Depression and Anxiety
Depression treatment options may not result in complete alleviation of symptoms. It often fail to address post-treatment subclinical or residual depression symptoms. Mobile apps that use cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness training, mood monitoring, and cognitive skills training to treat depressive symptoms are gaining momentum.
Studies suggest that using apps to alleviate symptoms and self-manage depression significantly reduced patients’ depressive symptoms compared to control conditions. It is also observed that smartphone-based therapies produce the utmost benefits for people with mild to moderate depression rather than the major one.
Studies also suggest that the use of mobile apps to deliver relaxation training, cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness has attained attention as a supplement to in-person therapy. It can reduce anxiety symptoms that may lie below the bar for proper clinical treatment. Moreover, anxiety-focused mobile apps reduce anxiety symptoms when integrated with internet-based or face-to-face therapies. Also, replacing outpatient patient-therapist sessions with a mobile app resulted in no significant loss of treatment efficacy.
How Healthcare Apps Impact on Mental Health Improvement
Health care apps has shown to bring visible improvement in this sector. However, to be effective and address major challenges, mental health apps must be carefully designed with evidence-based solutions. The following characteristics determine the quality of a high-efficacy mental health app. They must be integrated by mobile app developers during the app development process:
- High Patient Engagement – Healthcare mobile app users usually do it on their own will without medical recommendation. Hence, they get naturally engaged with the mobile app and activities in it. Healthcare mobile apps typically improve patient engagement through real-time engagement, gamified interactions, and usage reminders.
- Simple User Interface (UI) – Apps that are developed on behavior change focus on the simple, engaging, intuitive user interface. This brings faster results in behavior change. Patients suffering from anxiety or depression are often observed with impaired working memory. Apps which target this type of people are designed to create a low cognitive load on mind and an increased capacity of learning. An app with a simple user interface reduces cognitive load and increases learning capacity. Features responsible for reducing cognitive load typically includes reduced sentence length, use of images, and simple and non-clinical language.
- Self-monitoring Features – Healthcare apps usually ask users to self-monitor their mood. They do this by reporting their moods, behavior changes, thoughts, and action every so often to monitor anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. This is how mental healthcare apps enable the user to identify their own emotions. Studies suggest that the ability to identify and understand one’s own emotions, improve coping skills and has observed to reduce symptoms of mental illness.
Mobile apps have recently contributed to bringing improvements in the healthcare industry. Provided the lack of mental healthcare access in many areas of the world and particularly in the rural areas, mobile apps have emerged as a significant healthcare tool to bridge this gap of mental health treatment. With the emergence of technology and mobile app development, the delivery and accessibility of mental health treatment are poised. There is also a need to ensure a mixed deployment of rules, science, and effective design.
Guest Writer Bio
Zubair Hassan is a digital enthusiast who loves to write on various trends, including Tech, Software Development, AI, and Personal Development. He is a passionate blogger and loves to read and write. He currently works at mobile application development companies in Dallas that offers top-notch mobile app development services to clients across the globe.