What is eHealth ?
eHealth is defined as the use of information technologies in the health and communication sector to meet the needs of citizens, patients, professionals and providers. Brings users and health professionals closer together, saving waiting times, costs and improving the quality of the consultation.
A project that nowadays no longer represents a futuristic utopia but a fantastic achievement for the information society. Official and international organizations, such as the World Health Organization or the European Commission, not only give the go-ahead to eHealth services but also support investments in this type of technology with funds and campaigns. In fact, 55% of countries already have legislation to protect electronic patient information (according to WHO data).
Examples of eHealth
As we have seen, the concept of eHealth unifies the use of technologies and communications and medical care. In a broad sense, we could include as forms of eHealth: health apps, apps for doctors, applications for clinics (private and public), telemedicine platforms, electronic health records, electronic health insurance and many more.
What is mobile health or m Health ?
Mobile Health or m Health defines the branch of eHealth that ensures health care through mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets . Health apps have turned out to be an easy and direct resource for anyone to worry about leading a healthy life and even for early detection of diseases. Thanks to mobile health, we are moving towards integration with the health care system, but for this, it is necessary that companies, public health and the Ministry of Health go hand in hand and join forces. With the current problems arising from the Covid-19 pandemic ,the development of these applications has become even more important and, do you think it will be something that will go further? The answer is obvious.
We will not only worry about physical health, but also mental health. As a result of the pandemic, the consumption of antidepressants in Spain rose 4.1% during 2020 (data from IQVIA) and at this moment what the WHO calls “the third wave” is approaching: the consequences on mental health . We are prepared? Are there enough means? The only thing that we are clear about is that, in this “new normal”, developing useful and reliable health apps will be the key to achieving greater health efficiency.
Why develop a health app?
Now that we have entered the matter, we are going to analyze why now is the best time to invest in the development of technological solutions for health . In addition, as experts in the development of health apps and platforms and with the direct experience of one of the investors in this type of technology, Dr. Fraile (Director of the successful Fissios project), we are going to share 7 recommendations to develop the perfect health app.
“It has been shown that patients who perform respiratory physiotherapy exercises before and after elective surgery are less likely to develop postoperative respiratory complications, such as lung infections or fluid in the pleura. By complying with all these strategies, a “synergistic” effect is achieved that improves the results of the surgery and accelerates the recovery of the patients.
What are the advantages of developing a health app?
“ Health apps and platforms can be created for different purposes : improving patient care, educating health personnel, preventing the development of diseases, etc. With Fissios we encourage the active participation of patients in surgery, because, preparing and working in the post-operative period, the results will improve and their recovery will be faster. For surgeons, the internal organization has improved because with the use of our app, patients can start their program from the day the surgery is indicated, without having to wait for physiotherapists or other specialists to approve it.
Based on our experience, we would like to invite all our colleagues who have an idea to develop it. We have spoken with surgeons , anesthetists , physiotherapists , nurses who, due to lack of time or, above all, due to lack of financial support, abandon their eHealth projects. We also invite the different scientific societies, public or private entities to support the ideas of medical professionals because most of them pursue a common goal: to help patients and improve health care. In addition, health apps are an excellent showcase to expose a pharmacological product , a surgical instrument or healthcare technology tools . ”
What effects is the COVID-19 pandemic having on the digital transformation of medicine?
” We were not prepared . The coronavirus forced us to reduce face-to-face attention, avoid displacement and contacts. The health system did not have adequate tools to respond to these demands . In the 21st century, telemedicine in most hospitals consists of a phone call to patients from the hospital phone or incognito from the healthcare staff. Only some hospitals have enabled virtual consultation platforms to be able to establish a medical visit with audio and video. And, what is more, at the beginning there was no regulation of this “telemedicine”. For example, in our area it was not until October 2020 when theSpanish Society of Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery ( SEPAR ) published a “Guide for teleconsultation of respiratory patients”.
Undoubtedly, a face-to-face visit is necessary, for example for the first check-up after surgery or the first consultation with the physiotherapist. However, there is a wide spectrum of situations in which a virtual visit would be perfectly adapted and, we bear in mind that in some cases we may adopt them permanently. Therefore, we have to continue working to provide our patients with easy, useful and safe tools.
7 recommendations to develop the perfect health app
1) Use Ionic framework
It allows us to create web, progressive applications (PWAs) and hybrid mobile applications that we can publish on Google Play and the App Store, all with the same code base, that is, a unified development saving time and costs.
2) Integrations for Angular, React and Vue frameworks
3) Use progressive technology (PWA)
We will create a multiplatform application accessible through any web browser, with a responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes and also allows us to develop an installable app on the mobile device, in order to reach as many users as possible.
4) Offline operation (offline)
It is important that the content of the application is always available even if there is no internet connection to ensure that the app can be used in any situation and place.
5) Personalized notifications
The ability to send notifications to the device allows us to create a more personalized experience for the user by providing information when needed and promoting interaction with the tool.
It is interesting that our application has multi-language support from the beginning, since once the architecture of the app has been designed with this capacity, adding new languages will be much easier and will not limit us to reach any country.
7) Integrations with external applications and services
Simple integrations can be made with other applications that improve the user experience, such as: opening Google Maps to reach a specific address, automatically dialing the phone number to make an appointment or linking to other websites and RRSS for any user who are interested in expanding the information or discovering new services.