I was reading Mobile Health 2010 from Pew Internet and it got me thinking about a couple of things. Many hospitals have created mobile apps. Mostly at this point iPhone Apps specifically. I have been looking at the reasons to do this for a while now. Apps can serve many purposes like reference/education, way-finding, scheduling, etc…
My concern is we are creating apps to say we have an iPhone app. True?
Three things to think about:
- Where are your users coming from?
- What information do you need in a mobile environment?
- Who are you trying to reach?
Take a look at your web analytics and see how many people arrive at your website from a mobile web browser. As you can imagine trying to navigate a hospital website on an iPhone is not the best experience when all you need is an address or phone number.
Will a mobile app help? If you design for one platform like iOS will that serve your audience, or will a mobile version of your site be a better option?
Why would someone use a mobile health app? Track their diet? Find their way around the hospital? Look up what a-fib means? All possibilities…But I think in a mobile environment what would be most helpful is not always the most unique.
Sometimes just providing maps, phone numbers, and who to contact with questions solves 90% of needs. Another idea is adding games to mobile apps. Patients and families, at times, are in the hospital for extended periods. What if you gave them ways, in your mobile app, to pass the time.
Are you targeting patients, their families, or maybe a partner organization like EMS? Understanding who you are trying to reach will go along way to the success of your mobile app.
What demographic are you targeting? What are the needs of that demographic?
These are just a couple of thoughts I had this morning. Let me know what you think. Are you creating a mobile app? Is it platform specific? Who is the target audience?
If you already have an app what has been the success of it? Did it meet expectations?
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