Make it Appen https://www.makeitappen.com.au Creating Patient Centred Mobile Apps Wed, 16 Jan 2019 08:05:17 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.3 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G and now 5G! What does this mean for apps? https://www.makeitappen.com.au/1g-2g-3g-4g-and-now-5g-what-does-this-mean-for-apps/ https://www.makeitappen.com.au/1g-2g-3g-4g-and-now-5g-what-does-this-mean-for-apps/#respond Thu, 14 Jun 2018 02:04:02 +0000 https://www.makeitappen.com.au/?p=2975 What are these ‘G’ things? ‘G’ stands for Generation of the mobile network. As improvements are made and a new generation is rolled out, the number increases. What is the difference between 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5? A higher number means faster speed, newer technology and improved efficiency, with more data (information) being able…

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What are these ‘G’ things?

‘G’ stands for Generation of the mobile network. As improvements are made and a new generation is rolled out, the number increases.

What is the difference between 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5?

A higher number means faster speed, newer technology and improved efficiency, with more data (information) being able to be transferred across the wireless network in a shorter period of time.

In summary:

  • 1G – Original analogue phones with calls only
  • 2G – Text messages able to be sent
  • 3G – Mobile Data transfer introduced
  • 4G – Mobile Data is the focus

When is 5G coming to Australia?

Currently most areas of Australia have either 3G or 4G. It is expected 5G will be available in Australia in 2020. There is still a lot of testing to do to make sure it is reliable and how it will affect things like the battery life of your mobile phone.

What will it mean for apps?

5G will reduce latency (the time taken for the internet to recognise a command, i.e. from your app), by up to 60x faster. This will allow for a lot more things to happen, seemingly at once. Your apps will be lightening faster. For example, an entire film will be able to be downloaded in less than a minute. Updating databases will seem instantaneous.

5G will also open up the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT). The IoT is the network of physical devices, such as home appliances, vehicles, etc. and how they interact with electronics and software, including apps, sensors and connectivity with these physical devices.

What’s next?

With 5G still a few years away it will be a while before 6G (or by then it could be called something else) is a reality. Who knows what 6G will look like, technology is moving so fast. Maybe virtual innovations such as holograms will become our everyday norm.

 

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What do UI and UX mean? https://www.makeitappen.com.au/what-do-ui-and-ux-mean/ https://www.makeitappen.com.au/what-do-ui-and-ux-mean/#respond Mon, 28 May 2018 06:19:05 +0000 https://www.makeitappen.com.au/?p=2963 For a start, what is UI? UI is short for user interface. This is the look and feel of the on-screen menu system and layout of the app, including how it works, the colour scheme and how it responds to user interaction (button presses, etc.). It can be referred to as Graphical User Interface (GUI).…

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For a start, what is UI?

UI is short for user interface. This is the look and feel of the on-screen menu system and layout of the app, including how it works, the colour scheme and how it responds to user interaction (button presses, etc.). It can be referred to as Graphical User Interface (GUI).

What is UX?

UX is short for user experience. This involves the emotions and attitudes the user experiences when using the app. It may include ease of use and efficiency, but it’s more than that; it’s the user’s subjective opinion. For example, a physical bike would be the UI, but the exhilaration of riding it would be the UX.

What other words are there that will help me to understand design language?

Below are a few of the words that crop up quite often. Obviously, the list could be endless, I have chosen just a few to give you a start.

Bezel: Bezels are the borders between a screen and a phone’s frame. Many of the latest smartphones have ultra-narrow bezels, ones that almost seem to have disappeared. Narrowing the bezel allows for bigger screen real estate, especially on smaller phones.

Mobile Typography: is about the display of the written word on mobile devices. It’s a very important part of design. It’s more than the selection of a font. It takes into consideration how the font is displayed, the shape, spacing, colour, contrast and position.

Animation: is a dynamic medium in which images are manipulated to make it appear that it is moving. You may have shared a GIF file on messenger. It consists of multiple images (‘frames’) that are played in sequence, resulting in an animated clip or short movie. In the mobile app environment, animations are used for such things as visual feedback, moving circles, changing pages (such as sliding in an out), or just for fun.

Above the fold: The region of the mobile app that is visible without scrolling.

Prototype: A preliminary model of an app used to demonstrate or test the user experience and various task flows.

Paper prototyping: A sketch of the mobile app design on paper to simulate the app, often done prior to developing computer-generated prototypes.

 

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What is an app? https://www.makeitappen.com.au/what-is-an-app/ https://www.makeitappen.com.au/what-is-an-app/#respond Mon, 14 May 2018 06:57:44 +0000 https://www.makeitappen.com.au/?p=2955 What is the definition of an app and how is it different to software? An app is a small software program. The word ‘app’ is short for the term ‘application’. The full-length word ‘application’ is generally used when referring to a software program you would find on your desktop computer, such as Microsoft Word, MYOB…

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What is the definition of an app and how is it different to software?

An app is a small software program. The word ‘app’ is short for the term ‘application’. The full-length word ‘application’ is generally used when referring to a software program you would find on your desktop computer, such as Microsoft Word, MYOB or Outlook. The shortened version – app – is normally used to refer to a software program that is quite specific in its purpose and is found on your smartphone or tablet. Software programs found online, such as Google Calendar, can also be referred to as apps.

How long have they been around?

Apps have been around, in a rudimentary form, since 1997. However, they only burst onto the mobile phone scene in their current visual format (square icons) with the introduction of the iPhone and its touch screen and intuitive design, in January 2007. If you have an iPhone or other ‘smartphone’, you would have bought it with apps already installed. Some you may already be familiar with are:

  • A clock app that enables you to set an alarm
  • A weather app that checks the weather forecast in your city and beyond
  • An email app that allows you to send and receive emails.

How can I access an app?

As mentioned, your smartphone or tablet will already come with some apps installed, but if you wish to install additional apps onto your device, then you would access them from the app stores. The type of device you own will dictate which store you will need to access the app from. For an iPhone this would be the Apple App Store and for Android Phones such as Samsung, you would access the apps from Google Play. Your device will already come with an app for the app store required by your phone already installed. Just click on the icon to open the store. You may need to create an account if you haven’t already done so.

How much does an app cost?

Some apps are free, whilst other have a one-off fee or a subscription (i.e. annual or monthly fee). They can vary in price from 99 cents to many dollars. Apps on the Apple App Store tend to be a bit more expensive than on Google Play.

If the app is a paid app, you may also have to purchase the app for each different device, i.e. smartphone and table. This is not always the case.

What apps are already available for health care?

There is a plethora of general fitness and diet apps out in the app world, but if looking for something more specific in relation to healthcare, some of these are not so easy to come by.

I am not talking about apps such as patient management systems that are utilised by healthcare organisations (e.g. hospitals), but the apps a healthcare professional can use personally to improve what they do, or to recommend to patients. Below I have listed a few ideas that you could search for.

Healthcare professional use:

  • Drug calculators
  • Medication reference, i.e. MIMS
  • Dictionary – Nursing, Allied Health
  • Palliative Care
  • CPR

Patient use:

  • Medication reminder
  • Asthma management
  • Diabetic recipe book
  • Pain Management, i.e. Beatpain
  • First aid

This is by no means exhaustive, it is just a teaser to get you going. In the search section of the app store try typing in what interests you and see what appears. If there is nothing, then you might like to consider creating it.

 

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Is clinical mobility all it’s cracked up to be? https://www.makeitappen.com.au/is-clinical-mobility-all-its-cracked-up-to-be/ https://www.makeitappen.com.au/is-clinical-mobility-all-its-cracked-up-to-be/#respond Mon, 07 May 2018 14:50:04 +0000 https://www.makeitappen.com.au/?p=2950 By 2022, it’s predicted that over 96% of nurses, doctors and pharmacists will be using bedside or point of care mobile devices. This movement is referred to as ‘clinical mobility’ and it has been prophesied that it will produce the following: Improved patient outcomes Increased staff workflow efficiency Reduced cost of patient care Compliance with…

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By 2022, it’s predicted that over 96% of nurses, doctors and pharmacists will be using bedside or point of care mobile devices. This movement is referred to as ‘clinical mobility’ and it has been prophesied that it will produce the following:

  • Improved patient outcomes
  • Increased staff workflow efficiency
  • Reduced cost of patient care
  • Compliance with laws and regulations and keeping up to date with new changes
  • Decreased medication and other medical errors.

As with any change, it’s often not as simple as introducing technology to help solve our hospital’s problems. Increased IT will also produce the following areas of concern:

  • Changes in processes and systems
  • Protecting privacy
  • Managing multiple devices
  • Education of health care professionals
  • Downtime, slow internet or no internet
  • Limited uptake by consumers
  • Lack of budget to maintain and update devices
  • Digital distrust.

In some cases, the electronic process can take longer than the paper-based or current manual system, especially when it’s first introduced. In the hospital system it will primarily be up to three groups of people to make the introduction of any sort of technology a success or failure:

  • Nurses
  • IT Professionals
  • Patients.

Role of the IT professional

Nurses, by far, out-number any other profession in the healthcare system so, if they are not on board, adequately supported with education and change management strategies, then it’s likely the new technology will fail. The IT professional’s role will become even more complicated as the number of devices they have to support increases exponentially. They’ll have to manage intrusions, privacy, updates and downtime.

Embracing technology

Young, tech-savvy patients are already embracing technology, but not all the older people are (this is not to assume they are not. I’m 57 and an app developer and was offended the other day when someone asked me if I had an email address). It’s this older group that’s the highest user of health services, but only just over 50% own a mobile phone. They also tend to not trust health information technology and information, and that trust becomes more important as they get older.

All these points, and more, need to be considered as we move forward towards clinical mobility. As with anything, it’s usually not as simple as we think it will be.

References

Tomi Ahonen Almanac 2017 Mobile Telecoms Industry Review www.tomiahonen.com

Future of healthcare – 2022 Hospital Vision Study 2018 www.zebra.com
Acceptance and Use of Health Information Technology by Community-Dwelling Elders
2014 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4144164/#S14title

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51 Ideas for an app to improve patient care https://www.makeitappen.com.au/51-ideas-for-an-app-to-improve-patient-care/ https://www.makeitappen.com.au/51-ideas-for-an-app-to-improve-patient-care/#respond Mon, 30 Apr 2018 05:36:12 +0000 https://www.makeitappen.com.au/?p=2943 One of the dilemmas healthcare practitioners come to me with is they have no idea what sort of things an app can do. So, here is a list of 51 ideas for an app to improve patient care. Note: This is by no means a definitive list, the options are endless. I have categorised the…

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One of the dilemmas healthcare practitioners come to me with is they have no idea what sort of things an app can do. So, here is a list of 51 ideas for an app to improve patient care. Note: This is by no means a definitive list, the options are endless. I have categorised the different types of ideas for easier reference.

Apps can inform

Some examples of information provided to patients/clients that could be replaced or complemented by an app include:

  1. What is palliative care?
  2. What to bring to hospital.
  3. Breathing exercises.
  4. Your short-stay surgery.

Apps can provide checklists

  5. What to bring to hospital for an extended stay.
  6. What to have at home to prepare for the arrival of a baby.
  7. A list of daily exercises for strengthening a broken leg.

A checklist app would enable users to tick off items easily by touching the screen, or perhaps it could alert a user when to complete an item or activity on the checklist.

Apps can instruct

Instruction apps instruct people on how to do things. Often prescriptive, they can include images and videos to further explain how to undertake a process.

  8. How to get a person in and out of a car.
  9. How to transfer a person from bed to a chair.
10. How to give an injection.
11. How to change the syringe on a syringe driver.
12. How to draw up insulin.
13. How to calculate a morphine dose.
14. How to get from point A to point B in hospital.
15. How to change a dressing.
16. How to wash hands correctly.
17. How to maintain an antiseptic technique.
18. How to bathe a baby.
19. How to use a nebuliser.
20. How to use an inhaler.
21. How to sit a person up in bed.
22. How to prevent pressure ulcers.
23. How to maintain mouth health.
24. How to minimise the effect of nausea and vomiting when undergoing chemotherapy.
25. How to push a wheelchair.
26. How to get a wheelchair up and down a step/gutter safely.
27. How to give a sponge bath.
28. How to encourage voiding.
29. How to prevent deep vein thrombosis whilst resting in bed.
30. How to know when someone has died.
31. How to prevent musculoskeletal disorders when caring for others.
32. How to look after your plaster cast/back slab.

Apps can guide

There are also many types of apps that could answer questions that begin with: What do I do when _________ occurs? Here are 12 ideas to get your brain ticking:

33. What do I do when someone dies?
34. What do I do when the syringe driver doesn’t seem to be working?
35. What do I do when someone has not opened their bowels for 3 days?
36. What do I do when someone tells me they are having suicidal thoughts?
37. What do I do when I don’t know who to call?
38. What do I do when my loved one is admitted to hospital?
39. What do I do when the person I’m caring for is not eating?
40. What can I do to take care of myself when all my energy is drained by looking after somebody else?
41. What do I do if I miss an insulin dose?
42. What do I do if I have forgotten my inhaler?
43. What do I do if my baby does not settle?
44. What do I do if I can no longer look after my husband at home?

Apps can communicate

Why are smartphones and tablet apps so great for communication? One word; mobility. Apps are so much more mobile than a desktop computer or laptop. A smartphone or tablet can sit on a bedside table; its camera can be positioned at many different angles; it can be used to communicate with the healthcare professional from wherever the patient is.

Remind and alert

45. Pressure area alert: Alerts a caregiver if a patient has not changed position within a certain period.
46. Deep breaths: If a patient is bed-bound, an alert could be set up to remind him/her to take deep breaths or do leg exercises each hour, with instructions on how this is best done. These instructions could be written or in video format. The app may even have an audio component that could time the breaths (Breathe in: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, breathe out: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5), and be set to repeat at designated intervals.
47. Save the date: Apps can be used to remind patients for things like getting a vaccination, going to the optometrist, getting an annual bowel test, scheduling a mammogram or cervical cancer screening, etc.
48. Blood sugar levels: Alerts can remind patients with diabetes when to take insulin or check blood sugar levels. This could also be incorporated into a monitoring app that records blood sugar readings and alerts the doctor or nurse if they are above/below a certain range. This could be especially useful for children recently diagnosed with diabetes who may not properly understand how important monitoring their blood sugar is. As digital natives who have had access to this type of technology from birth, they should feel comfortable using it.
49. Pre-surgery prep: There could be an app that reminds surgical patients to pre-shower or commence fasting.

More complicated apps might allow for alerts that connect with people outside the health institution-patient relationship. For example:

50. If someone has not moved or hasn’t got out of bed by a certain time each day, a neighbour, son or daughter, sibling, or nurse can be alerted so they can visit and ensure everything is okay.
51. As a person withdraws into themselves during a bout of depression, the number of times they communicate via text message each day may also diminish. An alert could be set to notify a key person that the depressed individual has not texted for a certain number of hours or days.

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Different phones, different platforms https://www.makeitappen.com.au/different-phones-different-platforms/ https://www.makeitappen.com.au/different-phones-different-platforms/#respond Wed, 25 Apr 2018 01:09:48 +0000 https://www.makeitappen.com.au/?p=2936 Different phones. Do they need different apps? Apart from some subtle differences such as which has a better camera and so on, for the user, the major brands of smartphones and tablets are essentially the same. However, different brands are built on different platforms, i.e. different phones, different platforms. An app’s platform isn’t a physical…

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Different phones. Do they need different apps?

Apart from some subtle differences such as which has a better camera and so on, for the user, the major brands of smartphones and tablets are essentially the same. However, different brands are built on different platforms, i.e. different phones, different platforms. An app’s platform isn’t a physical thing like a scaffold; it’s part of the software and affects what your app can do and how it does it. This makes the choice of platform central to the development of your app.

Smartphone and tablet brands

The three-main smartphone and tablet brands in Australia and their associated platforms are:

  • iPhone (or iPad)
    – uses the iOS platform, an operating system used for mobile devices, manufactured by Apple Inc.
  • Samsung
    – uses the Android platform, an open source operating system.
  • Nokia and Microsoft
    – uses the Windows operating system.

Operating System (OS)

The OS supports the smartphone’s (computer’s) most basic functions. Without it, the phone can’t do anything. Among other things, the OS is needed to run apps.

The most important thing you need to know when deciding about platforms, is that an app built for one platform (with a specific OS) cannot be used on a device using a different platform. If you want your app to work with multiple devices you may need to develop a different version for each platform and device. This is not intended to scare you off developing an app, making you think it will take twice the work or double the money – most likely, it will not – but I want to be sure you are properly informed and know the right questions to ask your developer.

You will also need to take your platform into consideration when you think about how you will distribute your app; who will be using it and what sort of smartphone or tablet they own. Users of iPhone and Android have different spending habits, demographics and geographic backgrounds. These may all affect the platform you choose and who you want to host your app.

If you are building an app for a healthcare outcome and not merely looking to create an app that will make a billion dollars, it’s not critical that you cover every possible combination of device and operating system – just do the best you can. If you aren’t sure which device or platform your patients will most likely use, ask them – it’s really that simple. Do a short survey by drawing up a simple list of options and tick off the one they use. If they use two devices, then tick off two squares. I have created a simple template, listing the main devices and platforms, for you to use, if you wish.

Link to template

In choosing a platform for your app, there are further considerations beyond who uses what and why. If you compare apps on the App Store (Apple) and Google Play (Android), you will generally find that Apple apps tend to be sleeker and have a higher design quality. That’s because these apps have to conform to Apple’s ‘Human Interface Guidelines’. These guidelines walk a developer through the process of making a highly intuitive app experience and ensure a standard look and feel, all with the goal of improving the experience of the user. Android and Microsoft have also developed their own set of design guidelines, although they are not as prescriptive as Apple’s. If you want your app to be accepted by Apple, you’ll need to adhere closely to their Human Interface Guidelines. You don’t need to know all the ins and outs (just being familiar with them will help), but make sure your app developer does.

You should also note that Android is an open source OS, which means that anyone can use it and modify it. As a result, many brands do. So, when developing for the Android OS, your app will be available on devices manufactured by many different brands, whereas if you develop an app on the Apple OS you are dealing with just one brand – Apple – and your app can only be used on Apple devices. In fact, in 2012 there were about 4,000 unique devices running on the Android OS, manufactured by around 600 different companies. In 2013, the number was around 12,000 devices. This means you (or your developer) may have to test on many more devices and size screens when developing an Android app.

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Age and app use https://www.makeitappen.com.au/age-and-app-use/ https://www.makeitappen.com.au/age-and-app-use/#respond Tue, 17 Apr 2018 21:52:35 +0000 https://www.makeitappen.com.au/?p=2929 You have an idea for an app you think will improve the care of your patients/clients, but what you want to know is will it achieve what you think it will. Will your clients even use it? The answer is: it depends. The main thing to consider is the age of your patients or the…

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You have an idea for an app you think will improve the care of your patients/clients, but what you want to know is will it achieve what you think it will. Will your clients even use it? The answer is: it depends. The main thing to consider is the age of your patients or the age of those caring for your patients. Age and app use is intrinsically entwined.

Technology cohorts

Consumers of technology can be roughly categorised as follows:

Post-War Cohort (1928–1945): 73–90 years old in 2018 (also known as the Silent Generation)

  • Rarely use technology.

Baby Boomers (1946–1965): 53–72 years old in 2018

  • Slower on the uptake of mobile technology but its use is becoming more prevalent—tablets tend to be the device of choice as they are easier to read.

Generation X (1966–1976): 42–52 years old in 2018

  • Use both tablets and smartphones.

Generation Y or Millennials (1977–1994): 24–41 years old in 2018

  • Avid users of technology—more likely to have a smartphone than a tablet.

Generation Z (1995–2012): 6–23 years old in 2018

  • Smartphone natives. Smartphones are part of their daily lives. They can use them before they can talk or even walk. Swiping is second nature to them. Wearable technology will also be a part of their lives.

The biggest group of healthcare recipients in Australia is the over fifty-five age group, but this is also the age group who use technology the least and is less likely to use an app. This could be one of the reasons why healthcare apps have not yet become as popular as other types of apps.

If this is your clientele then an app is probably not a good idea, but you may find the carers of these elderly people do use smartphones and tablets/iPads. Something to consider.

But remember, this situation will change. Not only will technology use eventually break through to the older generations; as the years go by, the generations who expect information to be provided on an app will begin to experience increased healthcare needs.

Statistics relating to age and app use

If your clientele is twenty something new mothers, then their phone is usually less than an arm’s length away and they access their phones more than 150 times a day. They are ready.

At present, less than two per cent of Australian hospitals/healthcare providers are using this type of technology, it is just a ripple. Yet, a recent survey found that forty-six per cent of healthcare professionals planned to use a healthcare app in 2017.

In 2017, the mobile health market reached over 3.4 billion smartphone users and these users will be expecting an app from their healthcare providers. This, combined with the ageing population and the focus on looking after patients in the community, means that apps will not only be expected, they will be required.

This wave of change has started to gather momentum and it is expected that in the next five years, health apps will become integrated into most healthcare processes.

Therefore, look at the age group of your clients and ask them whether they would find an app beneficial.

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Why aren’t healthcare professionals creating apps? https://www.makeitappen.com.au/why-arent-healthcare-professionals-creating-apps/ https://www.makeitappen.com.au/why-arent-healthcare-professionals-creating-apps/#respond Wed, 11 Apr 2018 01:29:14 +0000 https://www.makeitappen.com.au/?p=2911 Number of smartphone users in Australia Most people have their smartphone or tablet near them at all times – the typical user accesses his/her phone an average of 150 times each day. By having an app such as BeatPain on their device, the user can access information, if or when they require it, without having…

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Number of smartphone users in Australia

Most people have their smartphone or tablet near them at all times – the typical user accesses his/her phone an average of 150 times each day. By having an app such as BeatPain on their device, the user can access information, if or when they require it, without having to search online or find that sheet of paper they know they have put ‘somewhere’. So, why aren’t healthcare professionals creating apps?

As users of smartphones and tablets become more accustomed to finding the information they need on their devices, they will increasingly rely on healthcare professionals to provide them with an app. So why aren’t they?

I know that the development of apps in Australian Health Care is not yet a burgeoning field, in fact it’s in its infancy, especially those apps focused on patient care and used by the patient and not the clinician.

So why aren’t healthcare professionals creating apps?

So why aren’t healthcare professionals offering an app to improve patient care to the extent that smartphone and tablet users might expect? I have asked clinicians I know in private practice why they have not considered an app and these are the reasons they have given me:

  •  It has never crossed their mind that an app could be useful;
  • They don’t know which apps would be useful;
  • They would like ideas for an app they could use in their practice;
  • They may have thought about an app but didn’t know where to start;
  • They’re not really sure what apps are or what they can do;
  • They’ve considered an app but thought it too expensive to build;
  • They’re not sure an app would benefit their patients any more than the practices they currently have;
  • They don’t think there’s a need;
  • They feel their clients would not be interested in using an app;
  • Their clients don’t own/know how to use a smartphone or tablet.

In my experience in creating apps, I have found a content-based app can complement – or be an alternative to – paper-based information.

Finding the right developer will step the healthcare worker through the process, instilling them with the knowledge, confidence and tools to ensure they get the app they planned.

Apps can be more cost-effective than printed and paper-based information, as there are no ongoing printing costs and no wasted printed handouts when your information becomes out of date. This information can be updated regularly on an app.

Ideas for the use of an app are all around us. Ask your clients what they would like to see in an app?

Survey

It would be great to know what the real reasons for not creating an app are.

If you have time, it would be appreciated if you could complete a very short survey below. Australian residents will (if they wish) receive a free hard-copy of my book: ‘Planning and designing an app to enhance patient care – a guide for health care professionals’, for completing the survey.  Thanks.

 

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Yes, let me know when you have written a blog about creating healthcare apps

 

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How can an App Improve Patient Care https://www.makeitappen.com.au/how-can-an-app-improve-patient-care/ https://www.makeitappen.com.au/how-can-an-app-improve-patient-care/#respond Tue, 03 Apr 2018 03:52:42 +0000 https://www.makeitappen.com.au/?p=2901 I often get asked, how can an app improve patient care? I find it hard to answer, not because they can’t improve patient care, but that there are infinite ways they can. It’s important to remember an app is not the entire solution, it is part of a complete care package. In no way does…

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I often get asked, how can an app improve patient care? I find it hard to answer, not because they can’t improve patient care, but that there are infinite ways they can. It’s important to remember an app is not the entire solution, it is part of a complete care package. In no way does building an app by itself improve patient care, it is how that app supports the rest of the care the patient receives that is important. An app may not even be part of the solution, it may even cause further problems. For example, some people may not have a smartphone or an iPad, or may find it easier to use pen and paper.

Progress

As a healthcare practitioner, and in consultation with your clients, only you can decide if an app is worth being part of the care of your patient. You need to ask, ‘How can an app improve my patients’ care?’.

In 2010, Apple was awarded a trademark for the phrase, ‘There’s an App for that’.
The following year, the word ‘app’ was named word of the year by the American Dialect Society.

In the past, app development has lagged in the healthcare space, but is now an emerging trend. The number of health apps published on the two leading platforms, iOS and Android, has more than doubled in the past two-and-a-half years.

The majority of these apps target chronically ill patients and health and fitness and, tend to be owned by developers or commercial organisations, not hospitals or healthcare practitioners. However, in my view, it is best if health information comes directly from a patient’s caregiver. The reasons will soon become clear.

Example

Let me tell you a story. I’ll start by introducing you to Kate:

Kate is a nurse and is on her way out to visit Peter, a young farmer who is dying of cancer and lives a ninety-minute drive away. Due to lack of time and staff, Kate can only visit Peter once a month.

Kate is taking some brochures with her about pain control, but she knows they are out of date. She is waiting for new ones from the printer.

When she arrives, Peter tells her he has been googling options for pain relief; but Kate discovers the information he has sourced may do him more harm than good. He has found an over the counter drug that, when taken with his current medication, could cause kidney failure.

Kate also discovers that Peter has had severe pain for ten days. When asked why he didn’t call, he says he didn’t want to bother Kate; he knew she would be here this week.

Kate knows Peter deserves better care, leading her to experience that awful, pervasive feeling that she is not providing the best care for him.

Similar stories are prevalent throughout the healthcare sector. Patients, carers and healthcare professionals all feel the frustrations identified above, including:

  • Lack of resources
  • Incorrect information being sourced by the patient/carer
  • Delayed treatment.

Solve all your frustrations with an app

As late as the 1990s or 2000s, there was no realistic solution to these frustrations, other than providing more manpower. But with my experience in both technology and health, I know it is now possible to help solve every single one of these frustrations…with an app. An app can provide correct information, real-time feedback, videos, emergency help buttons, and clear lines of communication.

Looking at Peter and Kate’s situation, an app that had the correct information about pain control would have enabled Peter to source and try different options to help relieve his pain, giving him control, without the risk of sourcing incorrect information.

This same app could allow Peter to enter his level of pain each day, with functionality that automatically alerts Kate if his pain reaches a certain level. Kate could then follow up with a phone call, providing further guidance to relieve his pain. This would ensure:

  • Better use of resources
  • Correct information
  • Treatment advice being given when needed.

Apps contain vital information in one easily accessible spot

When a healthcare worker offers an app to a specific target group, it ensures the correct information is available to that group when it’s needed. In addition, apps can gather all the vital information a patient might need in one easily accessible spot. An example of this is an app Make it APPen recently created. This app, BeatPain, was the brain child of Angela Hawkes, an Occupational Therapist who put together, into an app, a rehabilitation program for people with chronic pain, that steps them through a week by week project.

Most people have their smartphone or tablet near them at all times—the typical user accesses his or her phone an average of 150 times each day. By having an app such as BeatPain on their device, the user can access information if, or when, they require it, without having to search online or find that sheet of paper they know they have put ‘somewhere’.

Reliance on healthcare professionals to provide apps

As users of smartphones and tablets become more accustomed to finding the information they need on their devices, they will increasingly rely on healthcare professionals to provide them with an app. So, is it time for you to ask yourself, how can an app improve patient care for my clients?

Let me know about future blogs

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Yes, let me know when you have written a blog about creating healthcare apps

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Writing Readable Content for Mobile Healthcare Apps https://www.makeitappen.com.au/writing-readable-content-for-mobile-healthcare-apps/ https://www.makeitappen.com.au/writing-readable-content-for-mobile-healthcare-apps/#respond Tue, 27 Mar 2018 11:04:40 +0000 https://www.makeitappen.com.au/?p=2876 You may not have even considered writing content for mobile healthcare apps. Writing content as a healthcare provider is challenging enough. Healthcare providers,  currently provide patients/clients with brochures, booklets and how-to guides. You want them to have the best information available, but time and time again you are faced with the following problems: You have…

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You may not have even considered writing content for mobile healthcare apps. Writing content as a healthcare provider is challenging enough. Healthcare providers,  currently provide patients/clients with brochures, booklets and how-to guides. You want them to have the best information available, but time and time again you are faced with the following problems:

  • You have run out of brochures
  • The brochures you have are out of date
  • Your clients are always losing the information you have provided.

You ask yourself if there is a better way and you realise a mobile app can help solve every one of these problems:

  • An app is always available for download so you will never run out of printed material
  • Apps can be updatable, ensuring your clients have the most up-to-date information
  • An app is on a client’s phone which is often no further than an arm’s reach away.

Readable content for Mobile Healthcare Apps

You already have the content, but is the content written for brochures, pamphlets and booklets the same content that you would put into an app. Does it need to be written differently. The answer to this will obviously depend on the content you have in the printed material. However, there are some important considerations when developing content for a mobile app.

Reading on a mobile app is more difficult

People often find reading on a mobile app more difficult than hard copy or traditional desk tops. There are a couple of reasons why this is the case:

Users see less at any given time and; by scrolling or going to a secondary page, a user is leaving behind the information just read so it needs to be easily remembered.

Mobile app content must be concise

Users of mobile apps, especially those that are caring for others or have health needs, require clear and concise content – not waffle, not information about you or your business, except maybe for how to contact you. They want to know how to care for themselves or their loved one. They need to get this information quickly and in bite-size pieces.  It needs to get to the point quickly.

If there is information you are not sure whether to include or not, leave it out.

The most important information needs to be the most accessible

Have the most important information the most easily accessible. Secondary information can be just that, on a second page. Be careful though not to put important information on a second page. It may be better to scroll.

Speak the user’s language

Old words rule. These are words your user’s will be familiar with. It is what they would search for if they were doing an Internet search. Leave your big words and specialty jargon for when you are chatting to your colleague or publishing a journal article.

Tip of the iceberg

These tips are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to writing content for mobile healthcare apps but, even if you just do these items, then you will be ahead of the rest of the pack.

Let me know about future blogs

If you like what you have read and would like to receive notifications about my blogs via email, then please click on the link below.

Yes, let me know when you have written a blog about creating healthcare apps

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