My Talk With a Smart Guy About Smart Phone Apps for Healthcare and Hospitals

flickr: Brianfit

Last Friday at a lunchtime gathering of public relations, marketing and strategy professionals, the conversation was mainly focused on new media.

We compared our assessments of new tools and the new strategies we’ve employed because of those tools. We both delighted in the wide range of new opportunities and commiserated over the fast-paced changes that have demanded more of our time to keep up-to-date with these quickly evolving tools.

As a group, we talked about the impact of mobile technologies on our work. For those of us in healthcare, we’ve been watching this trend since Susannah Fox of Pew Internet & American Life teamed up with the California HealthCare Foundation to survey American adults and found 85% use a cell phone, and of cell phone owners:

  • 17% have used their phone to look up health or medical information and 29% of cell owners ages 18-29 have done such searches.
  • 9% have software applications or “apps” on their phones that help them track or manage their health. Some 15% of those ages 18-29 have such apps.

Most of us at the lunch were non-technical types, but among the group was an application architect and senior developer. His name is Ramesh Thalli, and he is author of Windows Phone 7.5 Data Cookbook.

Knowing the growing trends among mobile users, he was peppered with questions from those of us on the “user side.” He was kind enough to answer our questions, and was willing to have me share his lunchtime wisdom with you.  Following are the highlights of our conversation with him.

Why are apps becoming important?

Some of the reasons apps are becoming important are:

a. Apps are specific in content delivery and consumer driven.

b. Apps can be built to be smart, customized to the individual needs. They can filter out unwanted information and push towards quick decision-making.

c. Apps can be location sensitive so can help you localize, i.e. helping your patients navigate to nearby pharmacies.

d. Apps can be tied to social sites like Facebook or Twitter.

e. Apps are safe compared to web or desktop applications.

f. Apps are sharable with friends with a click of a button.

Why might healthcare clinics or hospitals want to use apps as part of their social media strategy?

Here’s an article that addresses the growth of apps in healthcare. Following are a few of the reasons I think apps are important for healthcare clinics or hospitals.

a. There’s an increase in the number of patients and professionals using the smart devices.

b. Smart phone apps are much easier and accessible to elder or handicapped patients.

c. Smart phones apps support patient driven healthcare, where patients contribute and monitor more proactively their own health.

d. Apps have the potential to build community around patient, professional and hospitals.

e. Apps can help collect feedback quickly and remotely using text, voice, video or photo.

f. Apps make it easy to deliver updates and notifications.

What kind of apps currently exist for hospitals or healthcare clinics?

You can find many apps already available for all three smart phones (Apple, Google, Microsoft). Just to name a few apps like WebMD, iTriage, NeuroMind, InstantECG.

You can browse the apps available for medical areas at And read about what apps may be like for hospitals in the future in this interesting article.

What’s the advantage of having a customized app?

Some of the advantages of customized apps are:

a. Designing the apps for your focused area.

b. Connecting to your database.

c. Keeping it simple and informative for patients.

d. Bringing patients and doctors closer.

e. Educating your patients and helping them make good decisions

You’ve just published a book on writing apps. Tell me about it.

My book is about another new Smart Phone Platform, Windows Phone 7.5. This is mainly targeted for Windows developers to build data driven applications quickly. Even though this smart device is struggling to compete with iPhone and Android, I still feel there is a room for more choice. The name of my book is Windows Phone 7.5 Data Cookbook and you can find it at Amazon.

What if I have more questions or want to talk about a customized app for my hospital?

You can email me at

How we help

Hive Strategies helps health systems create HIPAA-compliant online communities for better health, lower costs and greater loyalty.

1 reply
  1. Jason Boies
    Jason Boies says:

    Nice read, Jean. Loathe though I am to admit it in some circles, I’ve become absolutely addicted to my Android. So I agree that mobile apps can and SHOULD be a part of any healthcare brand’s strategy moving forward. The SmartPhone really is on its way to being our “first screen” as some call it. Cheers – Jason Boies – Radian6 Community


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