Patient education apps are a boon to empower patients with the right set of health information, tips and insights. Such apps become a source of handy information for patients to assist in managing their health conditions as well as in preventive healthcare. 52pc of smartphone users gather health related information on their phones1 and that’s likely an increasing number. Wellness companies and providers have realized the importance of and are providing their patient users with apps that keep them well-informed and thus in better control of their health. Physicians also use their own PE apps that can help them better educate patients with illustrations and other in-app tools.
In order for an app of this kind to be well-adopted and used, app-makers must ensure the app provides easy, convenient and engaging ways of looking up and absorbing information. This blog covers some ideas and thoughts on the same. An important underlying consideration in deciding an app’s feature set is that the target audience must be well identified and understood and app nuances incorporated to suit their unique needs.
1. Voice based search: Many a time, patients may be dealing with a condition that limits their physical mobility or rapid movement of the fingers. Voice based search makes it easy to say a phrase and get back search results from the app’s database. Even for users without these limitations, a voice search helps find information faster.
2. Text-to-voice conversion: Having the app read out an article to you instead of straining your eyes to read text on a small screen, can prove to be a very useful feature especially for the elderly.
3. Video Integration and Animation: Providing rich media in the form of educational videos and animation that explains a surgical procedure or a condition, can go a long way in making patients absorb information in an easier way. Full color images help serve the same purpose.
4. Utility Tools: Allow patients to bookmark or ‘save offline’ articles that they like – for futre or leisure reading. The ability to make notes of an article is an added bonus. Also, give provisions for people to share articles on social media.
5. Interactive charts and graphics: Given the limited real estate on the mobile device, it is good to have interactive charts with collapsible trays of information that reveal themselves on simple user gestures. An example could be a picture of the heart with its various parts labelled with numbered icons. Tapping on an icon brings up a bubble explaining that particular part.
6. Simple comprehension checks: Depending on how critical the patient’s grasping of the information is to their current health condition, you could also choose to have simple comprehension quizzes interspersed in the user flows of the app. This helps gauge their understanding of a certain section before proceeding to the next and gives room for identifying topics where more attention is needed.
7. Offline Capabilities: Educational apps must allow users to access key content even when offline. This helps people maximize their time spent on the app no matter where they are.
8. Physician Tools: If you are building a patient education app for a physician to use as a tool to explain concepts or procedures to patients, you might want to create a rich native tablet app with drawing, illustration and annotation tools that allow them to put their thoughts and comments into a form they can best explain for their audiences.
These were a few ideas to consider for incorporation into your patient education app. There could be many more depending on the target audience and the kind of content they need. Mobile platforms after all, provide a plethora of features that can be put to good use to give your apps a great creative score and utility quotient.