Healthcare Apps Should Drive Patient-Physician Interaction, Not Replace It

Healthcare AppsHealthcare SEO and medical mobile application development are becoming more important than ever before. Sources reveal that online symptom checkers are being increasingly used by Americans. Online diagnostic resources are always in demand and there could be no better way for your practice to gain attention.

The research, however, also revealed that many online symptom checkers that claim to conveniently diagnose conditions for patients may not be accurate half of the time. The findings are from a US National Institute of Health-funded study conducted by Harvard Medical School researchers.

Limitations of Online Diagnostic Tools

Medical information sites were used by roughly a third of American adults in 2012, and even by phone nurse triage services. This is a call for strengthening healthcare SEO strategies. But this specifically deals with symptom checkers. However people using it do not necessarily intend to replace their doctor visit with that. In 2014, it is estimated that patients used online symptom checkers over 100 million times.

After entering symptoms of 45 patients, Mayo Clinic was found to be correct 17% of the time only with respect to first online diagnosis. In 76% of the cases, though, Mayo Clinic has the right diagnosis on 20 symptoms. Isabel, a high performing app, performed better, providing the right diagnosis over 40% of the time with respect to the first diagnosis, and 84% of the time in terms of top 20 answers.

The study reviewed 23 sites including Mayo Clinic, DocResponse and WebMD:

  • A third of these sites included the right diagnosis in the first option they provided patients
  • Half of these sites provided the right diagnosis in their top three suggestions
  • 58% mentioned the right diagnosis in the top 20 results

While these results indicate that the online symptom checkers can at best serve as casual consulting tools, and people do generally use it in that sense, the large number of people using them does cause alarm among doctors. These tools could be beneficial to patients in helping them avoid unnecessary physician visits and provide patients with additional information which could help their physicians treat them better. In some cases, however, they could also lead people to seek care unnecessarily. Strangely, many physicians haven’t heard of such symptom checkers. Doctors running these online consultation resources, though, do not intend to project their services as replacing physician consultations.

Using Mobile App Development

With mobile application development, your healthcare practice could develop a symptom checker dedicated to mobile users, along with health information. Your symptom checker should deliver more precise results. Isabel provides insight to how to do it well.

The success of Isabel could be due to the fact that it allows patients to describe their symptoms in their own words rather than select from a list of symptoms. This allows them to describe their condition more accurately which results in better diagnosis.

It would serve you well to capitalize on this popularity. Get a mobile app developed that provides health information and more precise diagnosis.

About Monica Barber

Monica Barber

Monica Barber is the Internet Marketing Manager of MOS, a leading BPO company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She joined the MOS team in 2013 bringing with her a wealth of experience in SEO, Social Media, web design and Internet Marketing management. She has successfully designed digital marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 and small to mid-size companies and continues creating new MOS digital strategies to keep up with Google’s everchanging algorithms.