5 Successful Hospital-Developed Apps

 

About one-third (35 percent) of healthcare organizations offer a consumer-facing app, according to HIMSS Analytics' Mobile Survey.

The following five hospitals and health systems have developed industry-leading apps that are increasing patient engagement and fostering healthy behaviors.

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: Vaccines on the Go: What You Should Know
The Vaccine Education Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's app is designed to provide parents with reliable information about the science and safety of vaccines.

The app includes lists of vaccines and the diseases they prevent, vaccine safety information, recommended immunization schedules for patients of all ages and vaccine-related games. The goal of the app is to help parents make informed decisions about vaccines and have answers to vaccine-related questions at their fingertips.

"The app is an easy way to learn about vaccines and the diseases they prevent," said Paul Offit, MD, director of the Vaccine Education Center. "The more you know about vaccines, the better the decisions you can make for your child."

As of March 30, the app has been downloaded 16,100 times.

Cleveland Clinic: Cancer Clinical Trials
Few adult cancer patients (approximately 3 percent) take part in clinical trials. To help increase participation in these potentially life-saving trials, Cleveland Clinic developed an app designed to help cancer patients and physicians find appropriate trials.

App users can search for trials by disease, phase, physician or hospital location, as well as find important trial information such as eligibility requirements and study objectives. The app can also connect users to the Clinic's Cancer Answer Line to answer questions or enroll in a specific trial.

The app includes additional patient resources as well, such as financial services and support group information.

The app was launched in April 2013 and has been downloaded 2,000 times.

Henry County Health Center (Mount Pleasant, Iowa): HCHC Healthy Living
HCHC's Healthy Living app is designed to provide the community hospital's patients with a way to monitor their own health outside the hospital.

"We're a small, 25-bed critical access hospital, but we've done a lot with technology," says Stacy Speidel, HCHC's systems administrator. The hospital's embrace of IT solutions to better identify and meet the needs of the larger community led to the creation of an app, she says.

The app, created with the help of MobileSmith, is designed to help community members manage all aspects of their health. Laid out in four quadrants, the app has areas where users can store medication and allergy information for easy reference during a physician visit, an area to track their diet and connect directly to the hospital's dietician, a log to monitor fitness activity and space to keep track of physicians' appointments and access other healthcare resources.

The app launched Oct. 1, 2013, and currently has 493 active users. It was also a summer/fall 2013 winner of a Web Health Award from the Health Information Resource Center.

"It will take time to see the full benefits of what we've done here, but I am hopeful it will continue to be adopted and used by the community," says Ms. Speidel.

Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.): Mayo Clinic Patient
Mayo Clinic's app sprung from a request submitted to the system's Center for Connected Care to develop an app to help patients navigate the campus. As the app took shape, the scope expanded to include integrated appointment calendars, access to radiology and lab reports, information on nearby restaurants and other features that would be useful to patients.

When the app launched May 15, 2012, it received more than 1,000 downloads that same day. The app has currently been downloaded more than 100,000 times as of last August.

The Center for Connected Care has plans to expand the app's functionalities to make it even more useful to patients. "We want to plug in remote monitoring capabilities, so that if the patient is using a fitness device or a glucometer they can share results through the app and receive wellness ideas and tips and tricks for staying healthy," said Mark D. Henderson, information technology division chair and IT director at the Center for Connected Care. "We've learned when patients are engaged with their health data, it creates an atmosphere of wellness that keeps people healthier."

Miami Children's Hospital: Fit4KidsCare
A visit to the American Museum of Natural History inspired Miami Children's Hospital CIO Ed Martinez to include a GPS-like feature in the hospital's app that provides turn-by-turn directions to guide patients between various departments.

"A lot of people would welcome high-tech support to find their way around the hospital," he said. "Now, the app can tell you exactly where your physician or the radiology department is, and help you walk right to the door."

Through the app, parents can also have an adult meal sent to a child's room so they don't have to leave the bedside, and friends and relatives can use the app to have gifts from the gift shop delivered to a patient's room. The app also includes emergency department wait times, physician directories and facility locations.

The Fit4KidsCare app has been downloaded approximately 5,000 times. "The app has been fully redesigned with new with clinical features to help parents assess conditions and manage pharmaceuticals, which we expect will grow these numbers," says Mr. Martinez. 

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