Digitalized Healthcare
Improving Home Healthcare with Mobile Solutions
“How software and mobile apps help patients thrive in the comfort of their own home.”

The home-healthcare industry is entering an entirely new spectrum of patient-friendly offerings by expanding mobile healthcare platforms. In terms of meeting new standards of care and expectation, the trend is catching the attention of both providers and patients alike. The clinical market-share driven by an expanded suite of mobile home health solutions, is on the verge of completely redefining home healthcare. Given the enormous growth in the past decade, is it safe to say the demand is being met with aggressive optimism on the side of healthcare developers. The numbers speak volumes and indicate the healthcare industry is headed for a massive shift towards patient-centric offerings and care strategies.

“Experts forecast that the healthcare app development market will more than likely hit $102.43 billion by the end of 2022 and increase to USD 639.4 Billion by 2026.”

Patient driven expectations also contributes to the mobile healthcare market. With fingertip access made possible by smartphone technology, there is large focus on convenience. Mobile healthcare apps are designed to operate on most popular platforms (Apple, Android) and some integrate seamlessly with wearable devices as well. Healthcare providers across the nation are rolling out mobile-friendly patient portals where they can send messages, order prescriptions, schedule appointments, and view lab results. Approximately 350,000+ digital mobile healthcare apps are available for download in the present market.

Mobile Healthcare Apps vs. Wellness Apps

More interesting, is the diversity seen within the mobile home healthcare offerings. Patient education is key here as is partnering with individual physicians to better determine what will work best for each patient. Not always clear to the patient consumers, there are key differences between a wellness centered app and a health-driven application.

A health app is designated by the FDA as a mobile software that diagnoses, tracks, or assists in the treating of a disease or condition. Examples of common mobile health apps include:

  • Diabetic Monitoring
  • Medical Imaging
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Diagnostic
  • Stroke Monitoring
  • Ophthalmology
  • EKG Monitoring
  • Cardiac Pacemaker Monitoring

A wellness app by contrast is a mobile software application designed to enhance or track the health of the user. A wellness-centered application is designed to address multiple facets of one's overall health experience. Examples of wellness centered apps include:

  • Meditation
  • Sleep and Wake Cycle Monitoring
  • Focus Training
  • Fitness Training
  • Food Intake and Monitoring
  • Relaxation Tools
  • Nutritional Guidance
  • Fertility and Menstruation Tracking
  • Vital Sign Monitoring (heartrate, pulse, blood pressure, temperature)

Benefits of Mobile Healthcare Apps

In the recent decade, the tide is steadily shifting towards precision medicine, a more personalized approach to treating patients. Studies reveal that giving patients mobile healthcare tools gave them a sense of greater control over the health. When used for the purpose of better managing their conditions, mobile technology is shown to dramatically improve patient outcomes.
The use of mobile healthcare apps highlights many lifechanging benefits such as: Convenience is a chief motivator for many mobile health app users. By creating user-friendly mobile health care apps, developers are bridging the gap between older and younger consumers. Additionally, COVID-19 gave patients, who might of otherwise be on the fence, a reason to become mobile health early-adopters.

Improved Communications might be one of the hidden gems as far as mobile healthcare is concerned. From the stance of both provider and patient, having a direct mode of messaging in real time enhances communication efforts. Anyone who has ever tried to get a hold of their doctor on a Friday afternoon knows this well – it just simply provides an avenue for doctors to convey non-emergency information to patients. Approximately 6/10 patient portal users exchanged secure messages with their health care provider in 2020 – a 10-percentage point increase from 2017. (Source:

Informational HUB or portal access provides benefits for both patients and providers and helps reduce mistakes. Both provider and patients can easily check lab results, last visits, immunization records, medications, adverse reactions, and more. Developers ensure that patient information is HIPAA compliant and mobile-friendly for easy viewing.

Methods individuals use to access their patient portal, 2020

Source: HINTS 5, Cycle 4 (2020) Notes: Denominator represents individuals who accessed their patient portal at least once within the past year. Individuals who access their portal at least once in the past year are referred to as “patient portal users”.

Improved Patient Health Awareness is a key instrument towards improving patient outcomes. The monitoring capabilities provided by some of the more sophisticated mobile healthcare apps offers real-time personal health assessments. Patients can then take this information and make more informed choices. Awareness of any risk factors coupled with educational efforts are shown to dramatically reduce advanced health complications in patients.

Actualized Data for Providers is equally as important as patient awareness. Physicians can determine if a course of treatment is appropriate or even effective based upon the data provided by mobile healthcare apps. 90% of physicians use smartphones to access electronic health records and information, communicate with peers, or manage their schedule.

Cost Reduction is something that hospital stakeholders are using towards hospital budgeting efforts – especially following the pandemic. A report, The Digital Revolution Comes to US Healthcare by Goldman Sachs, cited that virtual health offerings can generate approximately $300 billion in healthcare savings. Studies also show the biggest cost savings are seen in the avoidance of hospital readmission and reduced stay times. Clinical trials using mobile technology indicated a 15%-20% reduction in hospital stays and as much as 30% fewer emergency room visits.

Mobile Healthcare Apps Eases Some of the Challenges Experienced by Vulnerable Populations

Simply put, vulnerable populations struggle for access to quality healthcare. However, telemedicine offers a viable alternative to facilitate basic levels of care. With mobile healthcare apps in place, providers can monitor at-risk patients more effectively. Whether the reasons are because of transportation issues, language fluency, or a lack of financial resources, mobile healthcare apps are meeting that need in a virtual sense. On a positive note, there seems to be a willingness to participate and take part in virtual monitoring efforts by affected patient communities. “Medical boards and medical associations were hesitant about embracing telehealth; physicians were concerned about diminishing the relationship they have with patients. But the experiences with telehealth during the last couple of years have been reassuring, and telehealth increasingly has become one of the ways physicians interact with patients,” says Roy Schoenberg, CEO of American Well, one of the leading telehealth companies in the US.

For elderly patients, or those with compromised immune systems, mobile healthcare apps prove to be a safety conscious solution as well. Ultimately, mobile health app monitoring can give providers an opportunity to navigate tricky health situations before they have a chance to become more exaggerated.

Genomic Science and Mobile Health Care Apps

One of the more exciting mobile health developments are those that link DNA findings to mobile healthcare technologies. DNA testing companies offer genetic health information that ties directly into managing one's personal health. The genomic information provides a detailed assessment of risk for certain diseases and recommends tests, nutritional suggestions, and other avenues to bring a more comprehensive health picture into view. Doctors are readily embracing this type of technology because it remedies endless troubleshooting, saves diagnostic time and resources, and places every possible resource in place to better improve patient health and quality of life.

Through the lens of enhanced remote monitoring capabilities (wearables), patient data points can provide many useful clues relative to diagnosing chronic diseases and conditions. Seemingly minor details such as sleep habits, allergic reactions, and alcohol consumption can all steer doctors on a more accurate diagnostic path. Seen as win-win, the medical community welcomes this direction towards precision-based medicine.

The Future of Mobile Healthcare Applications

Health app developers in many regards are just scratching the surface of what's possible in this space. Following post-pandemic success and many key takeaways, the mobile healthcare industry is poised to revolutionize many areas where only a physical doctors visit would satisfy. Research shows that patients want expanded functionality; meaning they want more than the ability to merely schedule appointments, reorder prescriptions, and virtually meet with their doctors.

Patient data suggest that many emergencies hospital visits could have been handled with a phone call or virtual visit. Though this has been met with apprehension on the part of healthcare administrators, this is a hotbed clinical area where we may see enhanced mobile interaction. Emergency mobile health care apps such as Quick EM are shown to be very popular in the medical school arenas. Doctors routinely use their smartphones to reference data and in emergency situations; this is especially true for interns and practitioners.

Speculations of smartphone enabled apps with capabilities of determining the risk of mole malignancy, or computerized blood vessel assessments are representative of some of the amazing developments rumored to be on the horizon. We can also expect increased measures in patient safety and anti-medical fraud. The use of third-party app partners places a heightened risk of HIPAA violations, so it makes sense for these vulnerabilities to be addressed in some capacity.

Finding a Balance Between Telehealth and In-Person Patient Visits

Most in the clinical space fully acknowledge, mobile health care are not a one size fits all dynamic. Seemingly even mobile app developers recognize a great need for user adaptation and growth in this space. App user data indicates most of the healthcare apps have less than 10,000 downloads. There are more than 400,000 healthcare apps available in the app stores, but very few of them have succeeded. This statistic translates to the fact that a balance is still being negotiated by consumers and providers alike.

While the pandemic may have given consumers a reason to gravitate to learn more about what’s available, the user paradigm shift isn’t necessarily a given. Mobile app developers will have to work hard to find out exactly what will drive more patients to use their apps and then in turn make sure the app can fulfill that need. The big exclamation point is that mobile healthcare apps have the potential to saving lives and that is deserving of whatever efforts are made in this ever-evolving space.

EXPERT REVIEW OF MEDICAL DEVICES, 2016VOL. 13, NO. 9, 823–830© 2016 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis GroupThis is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (,which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way

Inbal Nahum-Shani, PhD, Shawna N Smith, PhD, Bonnie J Spring, PhD, Linda M Collins, PhD, Katie Witkiewitz, PhD, Ambuj Tewari, PhD, Susan A Murphy, PhD, Just-in-Time Adaptive Interventions (JITAIs) in Mobile Health: Key Components and Design Principles for Ongoing Health Behavior Support, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Volume 52, Issue 6, June 2018, Pages 446–462,

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