Patient Apps for Improved Healthcare: From Novelty to Mainstream

This is the first study of its kind to look at the current state of consumer mobile apps in healthcare—the range of apps available and their functionality, the barriers that exist to their broad use, and what is needed to move apps to a more significant role in improved and cost-effective healthcare systems.

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The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics report includes analysis of the 40,000+ healthcare apps available for download from the U.S. Apple iTunes app store and an assessment of the potential value they provide throughout a patient's journey. It clearly demonstrated that, to date, most efforts in app development have been in the overall wellness category with diet and exercise apps accounting for the majority available. An assessment finds that healthcare apps available today have both limited and simple functionality—the majority do little more than provide information.

Featured Videos

Below, IMS Institute Executive Director Murray Aitken discusses three key findings in this report. Click here to view additional videos from this report. 

Key Findings

Assessment of Consumer Healthcare App Functionality

Categorization of apps based on whether they:

  • Inform: Provide information in a variety of formats (text, photo, video)
  • Instruct: Provide instructions to the user
  • Record: Capture user entered data
  • Display: Graphically display user entered data/output user entered data
  • Guide: Provide guidance based on user entered information (ie., recommend a physician consultation or course of treatment)
  • Remind/Alert: Provide reminders to the user
  • Communicate: Provide communication with HCP/patients and/or provide links to social networks

The Patient Journey

An entire continuum of healthcare needs can be addressed via apps, broadly in two main focusareas for healthcare organizations across the patient journey:

  • Changing consumer/patient behavior in areas that affect health, particularly exercise and diet
  • Improving the implementation of prescribed treatment regimens

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