Could Using Smartphones Actually Benefit Your Health?

Jul 11, 2019
By: Marissa Camilli

One of the most remarkable aspects of evolution of mobile apps is the ability to improve medical and health care services. Health and wellness apps are transforming the way that people obtain their medical advice, therapy, and prescription medication. There are many apps that let you connect with medical professionals virtually, and they vary widely in features and services. With this technology, users have access to board-certified doctors 24/7, general information on various symptoms or remedies, as well as multiple counseling and therapy services. There are also apps that help you compare pharmacies varying prescription prices! By using these apps, you can bypass the unneeded hassle that comes with scheduling appointments and going into the doctor’s office while still maintaining doctor patient confidentiality. While a doctor may not be able to physically touch you to assess your situation, there are still many variables that can accessed through your smartphone and many steps they can take, including writing prescriptions that can be picked up at your local pharmacy! Thanks to this technological breakthrough, it is now easier to connect with the elderly and provide benefits to those who were once overlooked by the digital revolution.

There are various reasons that health and wellness apps are gaining popularity, but one of the main reasons is the vast amount of specialized features each app offers that traditional gyms can’t compete with. There are many different sectors within the health and wellness industry, and it seems as if the apps on the market touch on almost all of them. With this still being a fairly new industry, there are still many ways to launch your own health and wellness service or propel your company into the digital realm, but first, you need to understand the four major industry sectors that have been affected by these trends: Conventional pharmacies, doctor appointments, mental health services, and physical fitness.

Conventional Pharmacies

Conventional pharmacies have arguably been affected the most by the digital revolution. From what once used to be a dreaded task most had to do after a long day at work, filling your prescription is no longer a major time commitment, nor a financial one, thanks to the Walgreens and CVS mobile apps, as well as supporting apps like GoodRx.

  • Walgreens and CVS– Both companies have similar services on their mobile apps as their mission is to bring their customers the same services. These features include mobile pay, pill reminders/identifiers, low medication alerts, appointment setups, and live chat. Through the mobile app, consumers can scan the barcode on the back of their store card or type in their account number manually and receive rewards points they would in store as well as additional points for using the app. By enhancing their digital presence, they were able to enable healthier lifestyles, save the customer money, and save the customer time.
  • GoodRx– This company has a different perspective on the industry. Instead of providing you with medical advice, GoodRx helps you find the best deals possible based on local pharmacy price comparisons.

Mental Health Apps

Mental health appsare helping shine light on an often-overlooked problem. People experiencing mental health problems often dread the unavoidable doctor or therapist appointment where you have to open up about your personal problems to someone who doesn’t know you. Rather it be an urgent situation that can’t wait until an appointment can be setup or a small occurrence that doesn’t call for a face to face meeting, these apps have your back. Mental health apps are also unique because of their ability to cater to the elderly and through its new medium of treatment.  

  • TalkSpace is an app that provides text, audio, and video therapy or counseling from licensed therapists on your Android device with no appointment needed. They offer unlimited texts to any of their 2000+ licensed therapists anytime, anywhere, while helping nullify the fear of being judged.
  • HeadSpace takes a more proactive stance on mental health by guiding you to health and happiness through meditation and sleep strategies. There are exercises on everything from managing anxiety to stress relief to breathing, happiness, and focus.  Chronic insomnia affects an estimated 10-15% of adults, and another 25-35% struggle with sleep issues occasionally. Luckily, HeadSpace offers sleep exercises that include sleep meditations, sleep music, and sleep casts to guide you to a place of rest.
  • MindMate is focused more on preventing mental illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s in the elderly using games. According to Dean Takahashi from VentureBeat, Dementia affects over 60 million Americans, and the use of apps like MindMate can help catch the decline in a patient’s cognitive ability before a doctor would be able to and hopefully stop it in its tracks, or even reverse it.

Doctor Appointments

Setting up and appointment with your personal doctor no longer has to be a month-long process. With the help of apps like Doctors on Demand, you can connect with board-certified physicians and doctoral-level therapists to help with problems that range from urgent care, to allergies, to depression, without having to hassle with the germ ridden waiting room. You can see a doctor immediately or schedule an appointment at your convenience without the need of insurance! On top of that, you can even get a prescription written for you to pick up at your local pharmacy. Apps like these are dramatically changing the medical industry due to the overall convenience they provide, and many industry giants are taking notice by offering deals with third party providers.

Physical Fitness

Smartphones have been blamed for people becoming lazy and living unhealthy lifestyles for far too long, and app developers are here to put a stop to that. What once used to be used to watch tv in bed is now their primary motivation to exercise. There are a multitude of fitness apps on the market now that range from simple workout routines you can perform at home to locating various fitness classes around your local area. Although, it’s important to realize that creating a successful exercise app is not as simple as offering exercise tutorials and meal prep advice; you must make it easy to use and enjoyable.

  • Volt is an AI powered app that helps you train like an athlete with specified exercises in 30+ different sports, tactical fitness, and overall strength development. This app will create a custom workout plan optimized for your sport, position, gender, training experience, strength levels, and more. While you complete your training, Volt’s AI technology tracks your progress to make sure each set is a step above the one before, ensuring you don’t become stagnant in your exercise.
  • ClassPass has another take on the fitness scene. Although many people dislike going to the gym, some people still enjoy the community that comes from it, and ClassPass takes advantage of that natural desire. Through this app, you gain access to 15,000+ studios and gyms right at your fingertips, including popular options like Peloton and Crunch. You simply search to see what is in your area and book your session. You can also stream on demand video and audio workouts to your home at any time!

When considering a strategy to enter the mobile health industry, there are many things you need to know. Arguably, the most important thing to know is that you need to have a specific target market identified. There are simply too many variables to be able to cover all health aspects in one mobile app, but that only means that there are even more opportunities for success. Another idea to point out is to make sure your app offers something besides being able to bypass the brick and mortar experience. What you offer must truly be beneficial to your customer. Offering features like AI powered fitness tracking, 24/7 physician availability, and reward programs will motivate users to use your app more frequently.

Marissa Camilli
By Marissa Camilli
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