Smartphones have become an almost indispensable part of daily lives for many of us. Almost half of the world’s population accessed the Internet via mobile devices in 2019; by 2025, this figure will exceed 60%, according to GSMA. Mobile technology has revolutionized many industries and healthcare is no exception. Nowadays, people want health monitoring, fitness solutions, and even doctor’s advice at their fingertips. At the same time, top healthcare apps provide medical professionals easy access to detailed health records and relieve their workload.
Smartphone healthcare is booming. MarketsandMarkets values the global mHealth solutions market at $50.8 billion in 2020 and expects it to reach $213.6 billion by 2025. In 2020’Q3 the number of medical apps available on Google Play exceeded 47,000 globally.
Healthcare applications can be divided into two broad categories: professional apps and apps for patients. The first category includes:
- Professional networking apps
- Medical reference and database apps
- Health tracking apps
- Telehealth mobile (“doctor-on-demand”) apps
- Doctor appointment and clinical assistance apps
Mobile health applications for patients are even more versatile:
- Dieting apps
- Women’s health apps
- Reminder apps (medical tracking, health habits)
- Healthy lifestyle apps
- Diagnosis apps for preventing some diseases
- Monitoring apps for chronic conditions
- Mental health apps
- Medical education apps
The COVID-19 pandemic boosted the popularity of healthcare apps for patients. These apps experienced a surge in time spent by users all over the globe in the first weeks of the lockdowns. Some app usage tripled. As gyms closed and the pandemic caused further disruptions and anxiety, people started paying more attention to their physical and mental health.
“It’s my hope, and my belief, that after the crisis passes, citizens of the world will still opt for virtual doctor visits, online medicine purchases, and at-home medical testing. Telehealth can make preventative medicine, as well as actual diagnoses and treatment in many cases, much more accessible and less costly. Along with telemedicine, the growth of health and wellness apps are all but assured.”
— Elad Natanson, CEO & Co-founder of Appnext
The Role of a Medical App for Patients
Top healthcare apps serve a number of purposes. Many let patients measure and record physiological metrics such as weight, blood pressure, heartbeat, cholesterol, blood sugar level, etc. If the changes are critical, users can take immediate action.
Besides, patients can connect with their doctors through their phones in no time to schedule appointments, receive reminders about those appointments, or even get some advice in case of an emergency. Medication apps remind patients not to miss a dose.
“In the not-too-distant future, health care apps could become even more valuable by predicting outcomes based on symptoms and complications in the care of a patient. They could perhaps become so advanced that they could put a digital doctor (similar to Woebot) on any internet-of-things-compliant screen to answer routine questions, provide critical information and give immediate comfort to patients, which could dramatically improve the quality of care.”
— Terence Mills, CEO of AI.io
The Benefits of Healthcare Mobile Apps
Healthcare applications help patients and healthcare providers interact more smoothly. In particular, they:
- Improve patient experience. Medical apps reduce the need to visit hospitals. They may help to handle both ordinary cases and critical situations, when access to professional assistance is not immediately available—for instance, if patients have disabilities or dwell in remote rural areas;
- Provide better access to medical records. Medical record apps for Android or iOS usually use cloud-based servers, enabling patients to keep track of all changes in their health-related admission history;
- Encourage a healthy lifestyle. With the help of medical mobile applications, users can link their personal decisions and health outcomes, and doctors can keep patients accountable for their behavior;
- Provide real-time healthcare insights. Smartphone healthcare can supply doctors with more information to make better suggestions for further treatment;
- Educate. Some health apps serve educational purposes. They provide information about medical terminology and anatomy, and help identify prescription drugs. Through better education and understanding, software gives patients greater involvement in their conditions.
“Studies suggest custom software development solutions in healthcare improve the patient experience. Patients can access health information and communicate with their physician more easily. Healthcare applications ensure transparency and enhance positive health outcomes.”
— Vlad Medvedovsky at Proxet, custom software development company.
Best Free Medical Apps for iPhone
Compiling a list of the best medical applications for iPhone is a challenging task. The choice depends on the region and category (fitness, medical records, telehealth, apps for special conditions, such as pregnancy, and many others). Here are some medical apps gaining popularity in the US, with large numbers of reviews and high user ratings:
- FollowMyHealth (4.7 stars, 30k ratings on the App Store) provides access to the medical profiles of users and their family members. With the help of this app, patients may communicate with the care team, schedule appointments, view test and lab results, request prescription refills (and manage preferred pharmacies for prescription renewals), and pay their bills.
- Pregnancy + (4.8 stars, 41k ratings on the App Store) is designed for pregnant women, but can also be personalized for dads, grandparents, and other family members. The app, which claims to have more than 40 million users, includes a pregnancy diary, weight log, and doctor visits log. Additionally, it provides a suggested baby shopping list, as well as diet, exercise, and labor info, and offers a list of 1000 baby names.
- Teladoc (4.7 stars, 274k ratings on the App Store) connects users with certified doctors via phone and video calls. Doctors can diagnose, recommend treatment, and prescribe medication. After a call, a prescription can be sent to the patient's chosen pharmacy. Teladoc can deal with sore throats and runny noses, allergies, cold and flu symptoms, respiratory infections, bronchitis, pink eye, ear infections, and so on.
- Kinza (4.7 stars, 17k ratings on the App Store) is a “health & symptoms guide.” With the help of specially designed thermometers, the app allows users and their family members to track symptoms, medications, and body temperature. It logs such details as when symptoms began, how bad the fever got, and can remind patients to take their medication. The info can be shared with a caregiver or a doctor;
- RxSaver Prescription Discounts (4.8 stars, 18k ratings on the App store) provides free discount coupons accepted at all major U.S. pharmacies. The app can be used for home delivery, drive-through, or curbside pick-up. Coupons for pet medications are also available.
Best Healthcare Apps List for Android
Here's a list of the best medical apps Android users can use for free, according to current Google Play reviews and ratings. Some of them are Android versions of the aforementioned iPhone apps.
- GoodRx: Prescription Drugs Discounts & Coupons App (4.8 stars, 187k ratings on Google Play) is designed to compare prescription drug prices and get discount coupons. It can find nearby pharmacies with the required medicine, create and manage prescription lists, track prices, and set prescription reminders. It can also identify pills and capsules by color or shape.
- FollowMyHealth® (4.6 stars, 124k ratings on Google Play)
- Teladoc (4.6 stars, 37k ratings on Google Play)
- Sanvello for Anxiety, Depression & Stress (4.5 stars, 19k ratings on Google Play) was created for managing mental health. It is rated as one of the best free medical apps, and has more than 3.5 million users. The application addresses stress, anxiety, and depression with the help of cognitive-behavioral therapy. The app provides therapy, coaching, and self-care tools and connects users to a community combating similar problems. The developer claims that over 60% of users report a 15% improvement in their stress, anxiety, and depression levels in less than a month.
- Period Calendar, Cycle Tracker (4.9 stars, 287k ratings on Google Play) helps women to track their periods, ovulation, and fertile days. This information is important for those interested in conceiving a child, birth control, contraception, or monitoring the regularity of period cycles to spot any health issues. Users can record and keep track of weight, temperature, moods, symptoms, blood flow, etc.
Designing a good healthcare app requires a team of professionals. Proxet is a leading mobile app development company. For more than 10 years we’ve developed a lot of mission-critical iOS and Android apps, maintaining high standards in quality and speed of delivery. We also have plenty of experience in providing solutions for healthcare businesses, arming them with Artificial Intelligence, building a medical research portal, etc.