How To

4 Requirements Of Well-Adopted mHealth Apps For Patient Engagement

August 11, 2015 | Adam Turinas

One-size-fits-all patient engagement apps have the potential to do more harm than good, if they are not configured to address the functional and design standards of providers’ target patient populations. Many patients simply stop using mHealth apps if they find it difficult to navigate to functions that are relevant to their needs. For this reason, patient engagement app features and functions related to UI and user friendliness top our list of key factors to consider when evaluating vendors. There are a few ways that mobile patient engagement apps can address the distinct needs of patient population groups.

User Friendliness

When developing a mobile patient engagement app, providers shouldn’t consider the user interface (UI) as an afterthought, or make assumptions about what features patients may want. Before releasing the app at scale, providers should test usage with a select group of patients.  Any opportunities for enhancing patients’ satisfaction with the app’s user interface should be explored prior to mass release. Are patients in the beta group satisfied with the services that are included in the app? Do they find the app’s design appealing and easy to navigate?


The design and accessibility of patient engagement apps should be on par with mobile consumer apps to ensure low usage drop off rates. The app’s designs and features should be configured for iOS and Android devices. If desktop access is also made available, then the design should be optimized for viewing on popular web browsers including Google Chrome, Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox.

Patient Portal Integration

Many patient portal web applications have backend REST API servers that enable providers to securely integrate mobile patient engagement apps with their existing backend architecture. Mobile patient engagement apps that integrate with patient portals enable providers to better achieve their patient retention objectives. Patients will also highly value their ability to access their personal health information and vetted, educational health information when and where is most convenient to them. The value of both the patient portal system and patient engagement app, thus, is magnified when the two are integrated.

Rapid Adaptation

Mobile patient engagement apps’ systems should allow providers to meet the evolving needs of patients. Patient feedback mechanisms should be built into the app, prominently featured on the app’s dashboard. The patient engagement app vendor should also have a clearly defined process for incorporating user feedback into the product roadmap. Updates to the app’s design and functionality should be released in an agile manner so that providers can continuously bring additional value to patients.

Mobile patient engagement apps that have user friendly user interfaces stand to gain and sustain high app usage rates. In the next and final installment of our patient engagement app evaluation series, we’ll delve deeper into the supporting processes and functions patient engagement apps should include to protect patient satisfaction.

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