We love mobile apps, sometimes a little bit too much. Mention the word “apps” to most people and they will automatically think social media (Facebook), photography (Instagram), games (Angry Birds) and even dating (Tinder). Unfortunately, words like addictive and distraction have also been associated to the term. However, there is another side to apps that may change all that. A new crop of developers and companies are using apps to not just connect to with others or to be entertained, but to help people.
These health apps utilize the functionalities within the phone itself or by pairing with a wearable device (think heart rate monitors and personal trackers) to provide users with information, data, videos and images regarding their health and wellness. We got in touch with four companies found within our directory of mobile app developers (feel free to browse this list, who knows, you may find the team to help develop your mobile app) and picked their brains regarding the health app market: E2logy, Konstant Infosolutions, Agicent and Appinventiv.
Main characteristics of a health app
An app is an app. Or is it? This is a person’s health we’re talking about here and great care should be taken in deciding which app to let into lives. So what sets a great, knowledgeable, legitimate and useful health app from the run of the mill app? Ease of use comes at the top of the list, followed by unparalleled tracking and recording, and finally the ability to share the information across several platforms.
Taking it to the next level, would be the ability to further share the information to healthcare professionals. Finally, give the user some peace of mind and encrypt their data. It is their health after all, and it is theirs to choose with whom they please and no one else.
Needless to say there are a number of health apps serving different purposes, but some of them have garnered far greater popularity than others. There are some key features that enhance the utility of such apps. Health app must be user friendly and come with instructions to manage different conditions effectively. Features that allow sharing of data with others are much appreciated by users.
Apps focusing on a specific disease or health aspect are more popular than generalized ones that emphasize on maintaining the overall health. A health app must be interactive that analyzes information fed by users, providing feedback. A multifunctional smart health app is what the users always look for.
Tracking, recording and presentation of health data; easy access to the same, suggestion on deviations, and recommendations on daily schedule, diets etc.
It’s a beginning of health revolution. There are so many health trackers available in the market, but without efficient software, no hardware has worth. Nowadays, people are encountering multiple health issues and hence, they are getting conscious about the health-giving, an exponential rise in health apps. The features need to embrace to develop right health and fitness app.
Healthcare industry is swiftly changing. And, due to recent advancements in technology, industry has completely revolutionised especially in terms of how we approach the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of ailment. This is just the beginning of revolution in healthcare industry. Mobility has been playing a crucial role in this journey. Healthcare related mobile apps are growing in number and becoming smarter, every passing day. Talking about this evolution, there are basically three waves:
Furthermore, here’re a few ways that shows how health app innovation is revolutionizing the gigantic health industry.
What features of the phone or wearable do health apps use to provide the best experience for the user?
The data that can be gathered and delivered is dependent not just on user input but on the device itself. The type of health apps consumer varies greatly from a person suffering from an illness to an aspiring triathlete and everything in between. The devices must be able to capture their data no matter the user. Whether it be the smartphone or a wearable, our mobile app developers weigh in on what they believe are the essential components of these devices to harvest and display the most essential data.
Mobile phones & wearables are working as hard as the user with health apps for their health and fitness problems. Smartphones are provided with internal sensors like accelerometer, digital compass, gyroscope, GPS, microphone, camera, etc. to monitor the well-being of their users.
From health apps and wearable gadgets to refined medical equipment, the information retrieved from the ground-breaking mobile technology has the potential to revolutionize how clinical research will be accompanied and therapies will be executed in the coming years. Since its inception, Mobile phone technologies have emerged as a pioneering technology to manage complex tasks by leveraging the following features, among others:
Health apps are being developed for a variety of devices and so far the iPhone has proved to be the best one for using such apps, followed by iPad. Android, Blackberry and Windows phones are far behind in this league. It’s evident that iOS serves as the best platform for using health apps. However, Android and Windows devices are also working hard to provide better user experience.
Motion sensor, accelerometers, heart rate meter, pulse meter...
How do health apps improve users' lives?
When measuring whether an app can impact users lives, you must be aware that there are factors that you can measure and those that you can’t. There are metrics for heart rate, weight, caloric intake and even the amount of volume in someone’s lungs. These can be recorded by the device and then neatly displayed on chart to determine whether there have been improvements or not. But, there are factors that can’t just be displayed on a pie chart, like happiness, empowerment to manage their own health and the like. There is also the other side of the healthcare equation to consider. If the data was made available to healthcare professionals, then the quality of care that they can provide their patients would greatly increase.
A study shows that 96% users think that Heath apps help them to improve the quality of life.
Through health apps, now, managing a healthy lifestyle and even chronic conditions is simpler, friendly and well-organized – while being available for both parties patients and providers.
For Healthcare Professionals
Helps in enhancing healthcare professional’s knowledge of patients' illnesses
Rapidly increasing the efficiency of patient treatment
Improving healthcare professional’s bond with their patients
Enable those patients to access medical help who are at rising-risk of developing fitness and health issuesFor Patients
Encouraging patients to become more responsible for their health & wellness conditions
Easy Monitoring of activities and workouts
Monitor their existing health conditions
Encouraging them to exercise with record keeper, tracker
Keep proper record of calorie intake
Monitor their weight loss
Sharing information composed by the mobile apps with their doctors and nurses
Remind them to properly take medication
They give handy tracking to users on their health data, and that can be further utilized to suggest them best course of actions, preventive care suggestions, or any serious concern alerts in time.
Which are the best health apps right now? And which one of them will keep evolving this year? Do you use that mobile app?
Just take a look at Apple’s App Store or Google Play under the “Health & Fitness” tab and you will be hit with a wave of apps that claim to do everything from track weight to track steps to track you sleep quality. But which ones are legit? Which are the best of the best? And which ones actually work? Our mobile app developers list the health apps to keep your eyes on and which you should download today. Also, they list the health apps that they themselves use on a daily basis.
There’s a storm of health apps in the market, from which it’s difficult to select the right one out. Although, we are mobile applications experts, we understand that what features need to embed in any health app. The best health apps are:
I think each and every mHealth app is trying to get easier and better as per the user’s demand. Yes, I have installed some of the apps and using Health apps for iPhones as well. They all are unique and high in their kind of apps.
iPhone stock health app, healthjournal by leafgate (Agicent created that), VimoFit (track my fitness), Nike Plus. I use VImoFit and Nike app.
Let’s take a look at a few health apps that can help end users achieve a healthy lifestyle:
In my point of view, MyFitnessPal Calorie Counter and Diet TrackerFitnet will evolve in due course of time, as it is too simple and user-friendly. This app also serves as a cutting-edge food diary, exercise monitor & Tracker and diet coach as well. And, yes, I have been using this app for a week now.
The popularity of health apps has encouraged a number of mobile app developers to make new and innovative apps for assisting fitness freaks. Among the plethora of apps, some stand out with their noteworthy characteristics.
Sleep Cycle: The main job of the app is to track your sleep pattern and to wake you up when you are in light sleep. This feels like waking up naturally and unlike waking up to the alarm, feeling groggy. With this app one can start the day feeling refreshed and energized.
Start: Dealing with depression is often a tough and time taking job. The search for appropriate medicine for an individual often continues for months. Start helps you to overcome the condition through depression tests and programs. It also tracks and allows sharing your progress and side effects of medicines with the medical professional who is treating you.
AliveCor: With the help of this app, your iPhone turns into an electrocardiogram. One can take cardiac measurements by pressing the device against the skin near heart. The app is quite useful for detecting irregular heart rhythms.
Power Nap App: As the name suggests, this app helps you to get a dose of energy in the middle of hectic days. It plays pleasant sound to help you sleep and gently wakes you up after some time with an alarm.
HealthTap: If you suspect that you are likely to develop a medical condition, instead of turning to Google, you can submit your query to the app. The app connects with a network of doctors and answers your question within a few hours. It has a sea of information regarding common medical problems which makes identifying symptoms and adopting the best remedy easier. The app also allows chatting with doctors through text or video.
Which is the best device to use a health app?
A health app is, in a way, only as good as the device it is being used with. When Google Glass first hit the scene, everyone thought that in a couple months’ time everyone would be wearing and tracking everything using the fancy eyewear. However, that was not to be the case as Google Glass lost appeal, traction and users. These days there are a myriad of smartphones and wearables (FitBits, Samsung Gear, Apple Watch, etc.) to pair with health apps. Here is what our top developers had to say about which device to use with health apps.
If we talk about healthcare, apps currently include three major categories: health and fitness trackers on mobile devices, watches and glasses. And, in each of these categories, there are many devices that are pivoting to solve the world’s biggest health challenges. Here are a few wearables from the past year that are applauded by users:
In recent years, we have seen variety of gadgets including Watches, Glasses, shoes, necklaces, earrings, clothing and many other bodily accessories that are being outfitted. But yet it’s difficult to say which is the best one to use. There is abundance of devices in healthcare industry. Almost daily, we got to see a new wearable device launched. I think it is too early to comment on the one that will become the big bang.
Yes, I remember that wearable innovation by Google. But it’s not like once you failed in one matter, you will not go in another way round and change the world with your innovations.
Nowadays, fitness bands are ongoing devices; you can see mostly in the hands of users using health and fitness apps. These wearable devices can track your diet, sleep, walk, heartbeats, etc. for the well-being of users. Most famous and features vibrant bands are - Jawbone, Fitbit, Misfit, Gramin, Move and more. There is not a point where these trackers will be going to stop.
Apple watch and iPhone.
Our health app development team focuses on specific features of the devices for providing best user experience. QR code reader is used to read the existing files of the users whereas Wi-Fi and Bluetooth printer are used to print the disease or treatments. The apps also use PDF file for revealing symptoms, diseases, and treatments.
Going with the trend, mobile industry is increasing its focus on wellbeing of the users and, consequently, more and more users are giving in to this concept. Numerous patients are accessing different health apps for dealing with different medical conditions, although the utility, efficacy, and safety of many of them have not been firmly established. Nevertheless, still many health apps are serving the purpose, at least, by alerting the patients about the severity of their condition. Blind belief on such technology is certainly not good but using them to monitor your health problems could definitely be helpful, as long as you remain aware of the need of visiting a doctor when the health app rings the alarm.
Fitness apps vs. health apps
Is it a fitness app or a health app? One is not necessarily separated from the other as fitness is a natural part of health. If you so wish you can lump it under the rising term “iHealth” which takes into account both fitness and health tracking, recording and interactions using a smartphone or wearable device.
Fitness is a part of our health. Health apps can monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, weight, calories, and fitness. Yes, we consider both falls under ihealth industry as ihealth apps and devices let you track, measure, save and share the vital health and fitness data to assist you in staying on the top of your health.
Health apps and fitness apps are in vogue these days and often the terms are used interchangeably, including all the apps that focus on improving health in some way or other. However, there’s marginal difference between the two. Health apps are concerned with specific medical conditions and help you to fight through it. There are apps to overcome depression. For insomniacs there are apps that measure sleep cycle and some also help to sleep.
Health apps also pour in plenty of information about common ailments and suggest ways to cure them or keep them in check. On the other hand, fitness apps help you to maintain a healthy state of being by motivating you to indulge in activities like running, meditating, having balanced diet, exercising and many more. Fitness apps looks after the overall health while health apps are more focused towards specific medical conditions.
Both are different, though slightly. While health apps are more concerned towards preventive health, vulnerability to diseases, suggestions on better life style, person’s health records (test data, allergy information etc); the fitness apps are more concerned towards tracking the physical activity of a person and mostly focused on taking a sedate lifestyle to active and an already active lifestyle to athletic one; they are also useful in real sports environment.
These days, the terms ‘health apps‘ and ‘fitness apps‘ are often used interchangeably. But there are significant differences between them. Let me explain.
‘Health apps’ are for monitoring the overall health status of a person. While ‘Fitness apps’ help in measuring and tracking the amount of physical capability and habits rather than measuring of well-being. The best fitness apps let you set your own goals and maintain a pace that's right for you. However, both fall under the category of iHealth industry.
Which subcategories would be included on ihealth apps?
iHealth can, in the end, be a broad topic or field. Just take a look at any Apple or Googles app inventory under their “Health & Fitness” section and a deluge of apps will be sent your way. Deciding which apps to use for which part of your health and wellness plan can be a little confusing. Good thing our mobile app developers are here to point out some apps that you can easily fit into your plan.
Primarily, there are two major categories that are included in the iHealth apps - Health and fitness apps. Here’re a few apps under both the categories:
EMR (Electronic medical records apps), preventive healthcare apps, medical engagement apps, general health awareness apps.
There are so many subcategories we could include in the categories of ihealth apps: Hypnotherapy, Aerobics, Cardio, Gym, Weight Loss, Yoga, Cycling, Meditations, Running, Dieting and Nutrition.
A wide-range of health apps are available at the app stores for subcategories as mentioned above. The name of health apps of subcategory followed by subcategories on ihealth apps.
Have you read the news about doctors prescribing mobile apps to patients?
A recent trend has made headlines lately as doctors have apparently prescribed their patients to download and use specific mobile apps for health and fitness. A couple questions were initially put into question: Is this ethical? Is this safe? Are they being paid by the app developers to push their apps onto patients? Technically, the iHealth sector is still fairly young and there is still a lot of legal and ethical grey areas, but our top developers help to shine a bit of light on the matter.
Health apps are not only emerging as a powerful tool for amateur health monitoring but the physicians are also recommending some of them for tracking health issues. But, although some of them have proved to be beneficial, some physicians have raised questions about the reliability of such apps. Certain add-on devices and apps sometimes lead to inaccuracies. Misleading results have been found in many cases which put health apps in an uncertain position in terms of accuracy. It’s clear that the results generated by health apps often suffer from anomalies and before prescribing any such apps it is important to investigate the quality of each feature of the app by evaluating user reviews as well as assessing them manually.
Yes, even doctors are amalgamating their services with technologies to get quick and precise results. As these apps can increase patient engagement in their treatment because of the ease and convenience offered to the users. Due to the efficiency of these apps, doctors can make a decision better and faster based on the concrete data which methodically tracked. They can share and send them further for advanced treatment.
In a health app survey by Accenture performed by Nielsen of 8000 people, 20% asked by doctors to use an app and wearables. Among them, more than 75%, followed through, and 80% said either they are already using it or would if their doctor asked to.
Yes, we have read the news about mobile apps being prescribed by doctors to patients. According to report compiled by Medical Economics, apps including iTriage, Glucose Companion, and Tummy Trends are among some of the Top mobile apps that doctors are now recommending to patients for monitoring and treatment.
However, this shift has both, pros and cons. But apps are definitely leading to increased efficiency.
We created one app for Australian market which skill specialists would prescribe to their patients as it would record the vulnerable skin conditions over time and doctors would use that to pull historical ino or current info.
How can health mobile apps be useful for patients' health?
When a doctor prescribes something to a patient it is with the intent and assumption that whatever it is will help the patient better their health and wellbeing. With that in mind, it is equally important to question whether prescribing an app will better a patient’s health and wellbeing, by simply asking how can it better their health?
They can better track their own health, can take preventive measures, can better engage with their doctor and doctors shall have all patient history handy and retrieval of data shall be easy, and so would be the overall treatment.
Mobile apps are helping patients in improving their health and fitness and prevent and manage diseases by:
Health app is helpful for monitoring healthcare analytics, checking electronic medical records and exchange health information for further assistance. Mobile health apps are efficient health information system to improve the overall health of patient experience.
There is an emerging trend of prescribing health apps by physicians and needless to say it has both pros and cons. Use of health apps by patients allows the clinicians to improve decision making with the help of long term, methodically tracked data. It also motivates patients to actively engage in activities that heal the ailments. But the use of mobile apps becomes detrimental when people start believing the apps blindly, overlooking the necessity of visiting physicians for treatment.
What process must the health app pass to certify their safety?
Most over-the-counter and prescribed medication has to pass strict testing and abide by equally strict regulations in order for them to be given to and safely taken by a consumer. If apps are also to be prescribed should they also face this kind of scrutiny as well? Our app developers all agree that some sort of standardization or regulation is necessary to maintain the physical and digital safety of the user.
A long process to verify that health and fitness apps are clinically appropriate and technically sound.
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) has set the standard for protecting sensitive patient data. Any company that deals with protected health information (PHI) must ensure that all the required physical, network, and process security measures are in place and followed. There are numerous entities that provide best processes to ensure that the apps are both - useful and compliant. Moreover, The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) is a well-versed authority on health data exchange. They have developed best practice guidelines and compliance standards that organizations should keep in mind while developing apps.
Similarly, Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) is an initiative driven by healthcare professionals that promotes the coordinated use of established standards to help technology systems communicate with one another effectively and securely. The group hosts annual “connectathons” across the world in which developers are invited to test solutions for compliant and secure interoperability.
Each health app needs to meet certain standards to get certified as safe and useful. Different agencies have their own procedure for certification; however, in general the procedure includes vigorous technical testing of the app to determine whether the app meets the standards for security, privacy, and operability. Following technical testing, the apps must undergo content review by appropriate medical professionals.
For instance, cardiology apps are reviewed by cardiologists and nutrition apps are reviewed by dietitians. The overall procedure of app certification is lengthy and includes several steps such as submission requirements, review, feedback, re-certification requirements, fees and many more. For apps that fail to qualify, resubmission opportunities are also given to the developers.
There must be unanimous standards created by now by world medical associations for the apps and websites, which every health app should adhere to before going live.
What kind of regulation problems do you face while developing a health mobile app?
If you don’t already know there are stringent Federal regulations in place for the protection of personal, medical and health data. If you need a refresher just Google HIPAA, HITECH and WEDI. There are steep fines for non-compliance and a number of healthcare, insurance and medical professionals have already lost millions or been forced into bankruptcy due to the fact that they were not able to keep patient data secure.
More than being a problem, the standards and regulations are in the larger interest for everyone. From the end user perspective, anyways, it becomes more important. And, if you see even people on the other side are end-users too. Hence, my perspective is that we should not see these standards and regulations as a problem – rather we should find out mechanism and set standard process and quality assurance that ensure that these regulations and rules are complied with.
One of the biggest challenges we faced while developing a mobile health app is an integration of app with medical devices via Bluetooth.
To meet the medical needs of users that could solve with health app through any wearable and fitness tracker.
Sudden change in customer behavior and a gap in fetching health data regularly will affect the output and leads to uninstallation.
User’s health data privacy is top concern and we respect that as well as world’s responsible citizen. The major compliance we had to adhere to was HiPPA if we talk specifically about USA.
How do health apps certify the data they are collecting is from the real user and not someone else?
It is difficult for an app that, in most cases, relies on the honesty and participation of the user to gather data to ensure that the information it is collecting or being fed is actually true. There is no one there to count sit up reps or to check whether the user did or did not have a late evening snack. There are limited ways, but no app is perfect.
Using modern authentication methodologies, like finger touch, motion sensors, eye scanning etc.
Health apps need to be very alert and careful while picking data from a real user. The developer needs to integrate authentication systems to get data from real users. Like Email authentication, Login securities, Users health ID and password.
It depends on app to app. Like in one of our apps, we used to verify the data of patients before giving access to details of the patients. Besides, there are other ways to validate and verify data, too.
Do you think people is more likely to pay for a health app rather than for a social or game mobile app?
With so many great apps currently on the market it would be interesting to see if iHealth has a chance at dethroning social or gaming apps when it comes to paid content. It all depends on consumer demand. The current trend points to an unlikely outcome but who knows; people change, priorities change and technologies change.
Well, it depends on many factors including demographics and consumer needs. Some factors suggest that Health app is a necessity. Moreover, these are different categories of apps, have disparate needs and objectives.
In application revolution, healthcare application is the next move to take health and fitness care to further with smart technologies, including devices and mHealth (mobile health applications). Yes, I think users will pay for a health app as they are engaging in health apps as much as they are in a social, game or any other type of app.
People would pay, but the benefits should be tangible and use cases must be highly real; it can only be done if apps are made considering the mass usage instead of making only for a certain class of people.
Which health apps have you developed?
Our app developers give us their experience in working with health apps. Which have they worked on? Which have they brought to market? And the hard earned lessons that they learnt along the way.
We did healthjournal App, revemed claim processing tools (www.revemed), GloEMR (An Electronic medical records app).
We learned about the sensitivity of user’s health data, compliances like HiPPA, disclosures of processes to Department of Health and Human services (DHHS), patient access (as per 45 CFR 164.524 of the Privacy Regulations) and related laws.
We have worked on multiple health apps including health and fitness tracking and monitoring apps, apps for healthcare providers. We have also worked apps that are supported on Apple watch. While, we cannot disclose the app names, we would like to tell that it has been an excellent experience to work on such cutting edge technologies. We are expecting more such apps in our pipeline, soon.
Being an expert mobile app developer, our company e2logy has also explored the field of health and fitness apps. We have developed an excellent app for the health examination of children named IMCI. Details about the symptoms can be fed to the app and the app reveals the disease and the appropriate treatment for that.
Our app iCircuit Training is a fitness app that helps the users with more than 50 different exercises to stay fit and fine, acting like one’s personal trainer at home.
Safe Runner is another app which is just like a personal safety alarm. It monitors your progress while exercising and allows you to activate the alarm whenever you feel unsafe. This helps you to notify your partner about your location. While developing an app a lot of things require consideration. Proper logic and information regarding why the app is required is of prime importance. Our app developers also need the details about the symptoms of specific diseases. Sometimes similar symptoms indicate different diseases and such possibilities shouldn’t be overlooked.
Health apps are on the boom in mobile applications. And we are taking the advantage at this stage to cater the best health apps to users or patients as well as doctors.
The apps we developed are:
The truth is that apps are here to stay. But they need not be a bad thing. Indeed, apps such as those in the iHealth or Health & Fitness sector have the potential to greatly benefit our lives. New changes in technology, general thinking and in the healthcare sector are opening the gateway to the possibilities that health apps can give us. But there are things that should not be missed in the push for innovation. The primary being to keep the safety (both physical and digital) of the patient the highest priority. Make sure that the app, devices and healthcare practitioners that would prescribe them are held to the highest of standards. And finally, keep patient’s data safe. The user is already worrying about their health and wellbeing; it would be best not to give them yet another thing to worry about.
But can you imagine a world in which everyday people, people who may have very little medical or scientific knowledge, are empowered to act on their health and wellness on a scale unheard of in human history. That is the true potential of health apps. That is what developers and companies should be working towards. The good news is that iHealth has already taken its first steps. It is growing, it is learning and it has a bright future ahead of it.
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