How can we make the best use of innovations to make our citizens healthier? This is probably the toughest challenge policymakers world over have been working hard on during the last few decades.
While governments and industry authorities have been searching for options, technology came up with a solution: m-Health apps. Today, there are 165,000 wellness apps on the market supporting one or several of the most popular operating systems.
However, there seems to be a mismatch between the number of m-Health apps developed and engaged patients.
Looking Deeper Into the Data
The last year’s survey by Accenture has revealed that 54% of consumers in the US would like to have an opportunity to reach their caregivers through smartphones. The same survey showed that 66 percent of the largest US hospitals do already have apps developed.
But only 2 percent of hospitals reach their patients through apps.
How come, that with 165,000 m-Health apps on the market, only 2 percent of patients enjoy reaching their caregivers via the apps? Perhaps, it’s not the quantity that matters, but quality.
Mobile App Providers Do Not Meet Customers’ Needs
Driven by daily experiences from other areas, consumers place more expectations on providers to interact digitally. Unfortunately, most of the providers let them down.
Prescriptions refilling, access to electronic medical records, opportunities to book/change/cancel appointments are three functions that patients want most. At the same time, only 11 percent of US healthcare providers have the apps that meet at least one of the three needs.
So it’s not surprising that most of the on-the-go customers cite poor user experience and functionality to be the key issues preventing them from using the healthcare apps.
So merely having an app is no longer enough.
In the competitive healthcare market, providers shouldn’t ignore thorough testing. Otherwise, they may be watching their customers switching to competitors.
Industry Also Raises Concerns
But patients are not alone in their discontent. The importance of comprehensive testing is highlighted by the American Heart Association, who support using mobile medical apps, in their concerns that the apps generally “lack rigorous testing” for efficacy.
With all this in mind, testing healthcare mobile apps is no longer a luxury and has become essential.
User Experience Can No Longer Be Undervalued
Besides the usual mobile app checks like installation, network connectivity, stability, GUI, notifications, etc., healthcare apps should be given special attention.
It is vital to remember that when you test medical software, it becomes more personal than any other app as users take the information in an app as seriously as they would their doctors.
With this in mind, testers’ involvement should include not only catching bugs but also aim at enhancing user experience.
What features are appreciated most and what should be improved? Do patients like the app or do they prefer to stick to the more conventional ways of communicating with your organization?
If the app doesn’t crash - that’s fine. But what matters most is that the users engage with it.
Knowledge Helps You Stay Safe
With mobile health apps, domain knowledge is the key to comprehensive testing. Healthcare is a highly regulated space, and lack of knowledge about regulations and testing specifications can be damaging.
The necessary regulatory and testing frameworks can help avoid undesired attention from authorities, budget losses, or bad comments from consumers.
When testing an app, it’s vital to make sure that it can be comfortably used by all parties: physicians, nurses, and patients shouldn’t spend hours wandering through the app to find the functionality they need.
Addressing the professional QA team with deep knowledge in the healthcare industry will help to focus on the most critical functions and not to miss anything worthwhile.
Every minute, hundreds or thousands of patients can be communicating with your app asking questions, receiving answers, or updating their measurements. The more users – the busier the server.
Unless the server’s capacity enables you to handle the traffic, the data will not be updated as it should.
Such unpredicted events like a cold day in the middle of summer or an early beginning allergy season can result in a larger number of app users. When these situations happen, the app must be ready to handle the extra traffic.
Again, performance testing is recommended to be run by professional QA specialists who know how to perform load test on software and measure its response.
What’s in it for You?
Those providers who embrace mobile technologies and deliver better user experience across various mobile platforms and devices will find themselves with better financial performance.
Optimized patient experience strategy may lead to increased patient engagement, higher margins, strong online reputation, and healthier patients!
M-Health technologies can greatly help caregivers succeed in the era of digitization and next-level patient care. To improve customer satisfaction, providers must create a top-notch user experience tailored to the patients’ demands.
At this rate, partnering with professional QA vendors who will promptly detect mobile shortcomings and make sure mobile solutions are patient-focused and stable is the best way to make sure you drive maximum value.