More than 66% of healthcare providers in the US offer patients their app, Accenture report says. Though more than half of users reveal their interest in the mHealth applications, only 2% use apps of their hospitals. Among the possible reasons why such apps fail are poor user experience and a lack of the necessary features.
The features of an app play a significant role in its success. Would users continue using a medical app if it cannot meet their needs? But what are the users’ needs?
According to Merraine Group research, the most desired features of the hospital apps include access to the EHR/EMR (electronic health/medical record), the ability to book, cancel, and reschedule appointments, and the ability to request prescription refills. However, only 11% of hospital apps offer at least one of the mentioned functions.
Healthcare is a people-oriented business, so the features of medical apps should correspond to the demands of patients and healthcare workers. It’s like cooking a family dinner. The dishes must be nourishing and tasty so that even the most demanding aunty could exclaim how she liked the pie.
Apps for hospital use must concentrate on the administrative routine, patients’ medical records and access to them, as well as the communication tools between doctors and patients. The popular apps such as MedScape and Epocrates contain features, which help patients receive information on prescriptions for thousands of drugs, formulary data, directories of physicians and pharmacies, research information on diseases and medical conditions.
Hospital apps vary by their types and functions. They can specify on urgent care, wayfinding, physician referral, and medication tracking. Still, there are a few recommended features that might be useful for the majority of hospital apps. Here they are.
Keeping medical records seems to be a distinct function. Still, to make the feature convenient, such records should integrate patients’ lab results. It is much easier to find the analysis or records from previous doctor visits if all the info is collected in one place. Of course, the data must be safe.
Customers are used to booking all services online. Why not let them schedule a favorite doctor (or a doctor with good feedback) and be flexible to reschedule an appointment if needed? It sounds obvious, and it is crucial for the comfort of patients and doctors.
Paying the bills can be a pain in the ass, especially if there are numerous bills for various hospital services. If the function is built-in-app, patients can gratefully enjoy the absence of the leg-work and easily pay.
Rating and feedback
Buying goods, we always pay attention to the feedback of other customers. Let patients leave their feedback on doctors’ profiles to inform others on their experience.
A list of doctors
This feature must be available by default. A list of doctors classified by the services they provide, their ratings, and availability will simplify a patient’s choice.
How to make patients sure that they will get the right help referring to a particular hospital? One of the ways is data analytics. How many patients got cured in a hospital? What is the death rate? What is the average doctor’s experience? What is the percentage of negative feedback? Patients are curious. Let them know what they should know.
A photo gallery
People trust what they can see. A good idea is to add a gallery of pictures from the hospital, its staff, the equipment, certificates, and awards. It can raise the level of users’ trust.
A hospital app can also benefit from pointing the location of a medical center and plotting a user’s route to it. This feature will definitely make the app more convenient.
Keep in mind all the mentioned features to create a successful hospital app. Also, don’t forget to consult with the medical personnel of a hospital. As the practice shows, apps created with the healthcare staff participation are more popular and efficient than those lacking doctor’s consultation. So answering what features hospital apps need, it’s right to say that they should include functions for booking visits, creating and reading medical records, paying the bills, and communicating between doctors and patients conveniently.