Mobile Apps in Healthcare Marketing 101

Just as the use of social media platforms in healthcare is evolving, mobile apps in healthcare are becoming more prevalent. And while some mobile apps provide easy and efficient ways to manage health goals and research treatment options, they should not be used for all aspects of the doctor-patient relationship.

According to Dr. Joe Kvedar, founder and director of the Center for Connected Health, which develops healthcare options outside traditional settings via technology-enabled solutions, there are two major parts to the patient-doctor relationship. The first is the technical component, which involves gathering information and recommending a plan. This step can be (and is being!) transformed with mobile options. However, the emotional component, such as “life-changing” medical discussions, should be done in person. Apps (or emails, social networks or text messages, for that matter) cannot and should not replace face-to-face consultations in these instances.

Another important factor in perfecting mobile apps for healthcare? FDA compliance. More regulatory agencies are getting involved to make sure apps comply with FDA guidelines. Providers, healthcare systems and hospitals must ensure that all aspects of their apps are compliant. This includes the information the app gives out, as well as the way the app handles patient information. According to a recent Mashable article, there are up to 200,000 apps in the Apple app store currently provide health resources, but many of those apps offer information, recommendations or services that are not 100 percent factual.

Further, there are certain tasks that even today’s mobile technologies simply cannot do. So, healthcare providers, be sure to warn your patients of the false-promises in some of these apps. Among the “Types of Health Apps You Should Avoid” are

1. Spot Checkers – Apps that claim the ability to spot melanoma moles.
2. Insulin Dose Calculators – Apps that calculate appropriate insulin dose.
3. Treatment Testers/Apps that Cure – Apps that say they treat or cure any type of disease.

How should healthcare services approach the mobile world? With a guiding partner. Talk to us to determine if/how a mobile app might be a powerful addition to your marketing and communications arsenal.

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