Mobile apps are being integrated into healthcare systems worldwide to improve care, provide health-related information, and help patients manage their own health. Within hospital management there are a number of problems that can also be addressed with mobile solutions.
Which workflow inefficiencies are medical facilities struggle with?
A lack of standardisation in documentation. A decentralised healthcare system that allows different providers to create their own data collection rules results in duplicate documents, mismatches, and the fragmentation of medical records. This problem needs a solution above and beyond a mobile app, but the later can be a convenient tool for quickly accessing and identifying information.
Failing to meet patient expectations. Modern patients vote for digitally enabled care; they expect to be able to find healthcare professionals and locations online as well as book and navigate their appointments through a website or mobile app. A scheduling feature is common in existing hospital applications, and is now a must for any modern medical facility.
Low employee satisfaction. One of the most significant problems hospitals encounter, in general, is physician employment. The majority of professionals are not employed by hospitals: a 2016 Medscape survey showed that physicians would rather work independently not only because they could earn more but also because they were dissatisfied with inflexible schedules and poor internal communications. There has been an increase in the number of physicians in hospital-owned practices in 2018 but they still represent the minority. A hospital management mobile app can enhance workflow by giving physicians schedule flexibility and control over staff.
Poor patient flow. Unpredictable waiting lines, problems transferring patients to other departments due to a lack of available rooms or staff, the inability to discharge patients from the hospital on time – all these issues indicate the need for better patient flow strategies. Hospitals can improve the situation with a mobile app that delivers relevant information about waiting times, patient occupancy, scheduled surgeries and so on.
Let’s see how to develop a hospital management app to enhance hospital efficacy and help resolve communication gaps.
Why There Is a Need for Hospital Mobile App Development
As we’ve seen from the aforementioned problems, applications can serve across several aspects of patient care and hospital management. A mobile solution for hospitals covers three major areas: patient satisfaction, care coordination, and facility management. Respectively, these apps have three major user groups: patients, doctors, and administrators.
The benefits of hospital apps for patients are clear: with convenient booking options and transparent billing, they can boost customer loyalty. Moreover, with all patient record stored and updated in a single app, doctors can diagnose faster and potentially improve treatment outcomes.
Even though medical facilities are adopting mobile apps, few of them are actually helpful. More than 200 hospital apps were identified by MobiHealthNews in 2013, but as a 2016 Accenture report showed, only two per cent of patients were using them. The current situation reveals the need for hospitals to embrace new digital strategies and engage people to use their software. According to a 2018 Spyglass study, the vast majority of hospitals actively invest in communication platforms and mobile strategies for clinical communications.
While the need for patient-centric applications becomes more and more understandable, management apps specifically designed for hospital workers are quite rare. But many hospital administrator tasks can be facilitated with an application including budgeting, communication with departments and staff, control over schedules and supply management.
When you’re developing a hospital app, you have two choices, buy an off-the-shelf solution or make one from scratch. Let’s reveal the pros and cons of each of these approaches.
Custom Hospital Software Development vs. Ready-to-Use Solutions
Applications are helpful in medical practice because they offer quicker and more convenient access to information. An app can be an additional component to the management software a hospital already has or a separate program.
Platforms like MedStar sell their practice management software to hospitals and there are many software solutions that include mobile apps including TigerConnect, CareAware Connect, PatientTouch, and PatientKeeper. Primarily, these focus on communication in medical teams or between different providers.
So there is always the option to buy mobile software and adjust it for a particular facility. Another option is custom hospital software development which is especially reasonable when it comes to mobile apps. Having worked with medical organisations, as well as having developed apps in other domains, at MadAppGang we’ve learnt that off-the-shelf software is not customisable enough for mobile applications and can put possible integrations with external systems at risk .
Why are custom hospital applications more efficient?
Workflow differs from one provider to another. Hospitals employ different operational processes and may have additional specialisations. It’s hard to embrace all that in a third-party app, but a custom program can consider all internal standards and administrative processes.
You need to know your individual users. A ready-to-use application is made to suit as many businesses as possible and cannot account for the specific goals and challenges your end-users face. When making a branded hospital app, you can review a particular workflow and understand users’ exact needs.
Off-the-shelf apps don’t allow for seamless integrations and future additions. Without a custom-made solution, you won’t be able to adjust or change your app, and there will probably be some changes. To ensure your app is scalable and can integrate seamlessly with other systems, vote for custom development.
A customisable hospital app eliminates the need to use several third-party apps. Most physicians use multiple apps for different purposes and suffer from app overload. The Chief Experience Officer at the Cleveland Clinic explained how app redundancy negatively impacts patient experience. The clinic has two dozen apps, each for a single activity, which is obviously irritating to users. The answer to this problem is a single hospital app including all the essential features users expect.
Hospital Management System Features
When you decide on custom hospital app development, you need to examine what tasks and challenges your target users face and based on that, define what solutions your app provides. Some of the key features and integrations you might want to focus on include:
Appointment scheduling. Both doctors and patients should have a calendar where they can book and change appointments. Consider integrating reminders that notify users about upcoming events and a payment system.
Source: Royal Bahrain Hospital
Wayfinding and navigation. To improve patient flow and satisfaction, provide route finding assistance to the hospital, indoor navigation, and parking help. Consider an in-app queue placement system to eliminate waiting times. For wayfinding functionality, you will need both beacon and geofencing technology.
Electronic Health Records (EHR). Most patients don’t know how to access their medical records and don’t remember their medication history. Most physicians want patients to be actively involved when it comes to managing their health information, and there is an increased demand from people to access their own records. With EMR app integration, doctors can easily identify conditions and make informed decisions on an individual basis, and patients can review their treatment protocols. There’s still the big issue of data fragmentation, which leads to treatment delays – perhaps hospital applications should seek ways to unify records from different providers.
Prescription management. If a hospital supports electronic prescriptions, this can be integrated into the facility’s app. Along with access to medical records, having prescription refills is among the top requested features among ehealth users. Check out our blog post on drug delivery applications to learn how electronic prescriptions can be shared and allow users to order medicines online.
Source: Tayloes Hospital Pharmacy
Telehealth. Sometimes it makes sense to replace follow-up visits with online calls. To enabling this, you can integrate various chat options in a hospital app. For more details, read our post on telehealth app development.
Emergency calls. Users should have the option to make a one-tap call via the app.
Condition-specific instructions. A hospital app can provide valuable information regarding chronic illnesses to either educate the general public or improve care planning for patients with chronic conditions.
Source: Arthritis Foundation
Basic health monitoring and wearable support. The health information gathered by patients via wearable devices or fitness applications can also improve treatment processes. Consider integrating popular wearables and tracking apps.
Internal communication and document exchange. To improve interaction and communication between different hospital workers, integrate an internal chat function. It should be secure and used on hospital-owned devices. For more details, read our post on secure messaging. If there’s a need to scan documents, you will need visual recognition technology.
Patient traffic and facility management. Room occupancy, staff status, and medication inventory can all be tracked via hospital app.
Source: Smart Medical Buyer
Analytics and reporting. Integrate analytics into a hospital app to learn how people use it, what features work the best and which ones will eventually need some improvement.
How to Make a Successful Hospital Management Application
The main idea behind hospital software development is to improve the facility’s workflow and boost customer satisfaction. A hospital app can help people find doctors, coordinate their appointments, and receive the treatment they need. It can also reduce or simplify administrative tasks for physicians and boost collaboration inside medical teams – a long-term advantage for both the hospital’s reputation and treatment results.
How can you provide a competitive advantage developing a hospital management system?
Focus on making your app engaging. Since most healthcare apps lack simplicity and convenience, great UI design or some gamification elements can attract users to your program.
Adopt innovative technologies. For instance, a voice-enabled AI app is being developed to facilitate EHR navigation.
Don’t expect a developed app to be the final stage of the process. Continue analysing its performance and researching what features hospital workers expect to have and what patients want to use their app for.
If you have any questions or are looking for custom hospital software development services, reach out to us and we will guide you through the different phases of making a successful healthcare app.
24 December 2019hospital management app development