6 mHealth Apps to Watch: Bringing Patient Needs to the Forefront of Healthcare

Technology innovation in the healthcare industry continues to expand at an unprecedented rate, and over the last ten years, we’ve seen these advances making headway into healthcare.

A combination of telehealth, ehealth, and mobile health (mhealth) mean patients are increasingly engaged with their own healthcare, and doctors have ever-better tools to make healthcare faster, easier, and more efficient.

We’ve profiled 6 mhealth projects, and looked forward to where digital healthcare is going.

1. WellDoc Communications

WellDoc Communications is the organization behind DiabetesManager, designed to help diabetes patients manage their disease themselves. This reduces doctor visits and gives independence back to long-term patients, in addition mitigating rising health costs. Programs and companies like WellDoc will become critical to our healthcare system, given that 30% of Ontario’s population will be senior by 2035.

2. MomentStrong

MomentStong is an app to help you lead a healthier lifestyle by facilitating behavioural change. It works by sending you encouraging messages right when you are especially vulnerable. For example, if you crave cigarettes every day at 3, it will send you a picture of the damage caused to lungs by ongoing smoking. What we really like about this is that it’s not just a tracker of change – it’s actively working to break habits and form new, healthier ones.

3. Breathe

Breathe is an asthma self-management app still under construction with the University Health Network, TELUS Health Solutions, and the Ontario Lung Association, among others. Essentially, it’s a program that will give asthma sufferers access to their own health records, as well as a suite of management and educational tools. And while it’s not available yet, it represents a broader shift in the healthcare world towards users; by giving patients more access to health information, it facilitates self-management and reduces strain on healthcare professionals.

4. PatientSafe

PatientSafe represents the doctor-side prong of mHealth proliferation. It’s a mobile point-of-care solution that synchronizes data, procedures, and communication among various clinicians. Its goal is to streamline workflow and ensure that medical professionals are working with the most up-to-date information at their fingertips. You might remember it from last week’s UX Files.

5. Heart and Stoke eTools

Our clients at the Heart and Stroke Foundation continue to develop their eTools Suite – online tools and application to help and encourage people to have healthier hearts and lead healthier lives. These include risk assessments, weight loss programs, and the 30 Day Challenge, an iPhone app that works to lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.

6. DocbookMD

The medical version of Instagram, DocbookMD lets physicians share images and notes with each other, including patient histories, x-rays, and lab results. It also has pharmacological and physiological search functions, for those pesky House-esque cases that come in.  So much better than tripping over embarrassing rash-related selfies mixed into your photo stream!

The future

mHealth offers a user-centric approach that gives patients the opportunity to engage in their own healthcare, bringing UI and user experience design principles into the medical world. Centralized health systems will continue to move to the fore, and as a result dashboards and data visualization will be critical to displaying essential information.

All in all, we can look forward to a more accessible, streamlined, and usable healthcare system.