Health apps have been transforming the healthcare industry over the last couple of years. Its impact will continue to grow as more and more mobile health apps are used to manage and treat chronic medical diseases.

Health IT doesn’t follow a traditional health business model, so it’s often unclear how the app is helping you make money, save money, or save lives. As a result, it can be difficult sometimes to figure out your ROI for a health app.

Measuring ROI by Calculating Minutes

However, there are other means of ascertaining the ROI of health apps. One example is mHealth apps like the Greenway PrimeMOBILE app for Windows 8. This health app calculates minutes that are saved in each doctor-patient encounter.

These minutes will add up over time and can be crucial in freeing up time to attend to more patients. Doctors can access the PrimeSUITE EHR from their mobile or tablet to make notes and access information while making rounds. As a result, EHRs can be started immediately and not later on when a computer is free.

Such apps are easier to measure as your ROI can be calculated based on how many minutes were saved over a period of time. The value of such apps goes far beyond money as the time saved by doctors can be used to save more lives.

Measuring ROI in Drug Trials

Health apps have had a significant impact on improving patient adherence and completion of treatment. So when you use an app alongside a clinical trial, you’ll see rates of adherence improve dramatically. This in turn can save the company money while conducting a drug trial. As a result, these numbers can be added up to identify your ROI.

For instance, as noted by Waracle, their clinical trial completion rates have seen an astounding increase from 53% with no app provided to 82% with an interactive app being used alongside the clinical trial. Let’s assume it costs $15,000 for each person in a clinical trial. The savings for pharmaceutical companies would amount to over $1.5 million for each drug trial. This average saving represents a conservative 10x ROI.

The high volume of data that’s collected during a drug trial can also be used to enable better decisions and diminish health risks of the participants through early intervention. Further, it will make it a lot easier and cost effective to obtain regulatory approval.

This in turn will have impact on how quickly a treatment can be transferred for clinical use. Further, the data collected can drive healthcare app development and help optimize app from real patient use.

Measuring ROI by Driving Engagement

Engagement can also be measured to assess the ROI of mobile health apps. Studies have found that apps that are realistic and interactive can enhance clinical skills. Skills like suturing live tissues, handling of instruments, and the completion of invasive procedures can all be significantly improved by practicing on a mobile app. In other words, as medical professionals get more engaged with the app, your ROI will also increase.

Further, health apps that drive engagement can also be used to increase patient adherence and reduce readmissions. This in turn can enhance patient experience and increase loyalty as patients can track their progress and communicate with providers on a regular basis.

With the Internet of Things (IoT) slowly growing in importance at hospitals, adoption rates will improve significantly as it will make patient care coordination much smoother. Although devices are getting smart these days, it’s still difficult to get them to work together. As a result, platforms where these devices and sensors operate will also get better.

All the data collected from IoT and health apps will produce a massive amount of insights. This data in turn will be used to make healthcare more efficient, cost-effective, and intelligent. Providers want to essentially cut costs and improve patient experience and access to services. As a result, you can expect health apps to grow in importance much faster as there are no barriers.

Also, check out how to assess the impact of telehealth on cost and quality of healthcare.

This article was originally published in the Journal of mHealth.

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Vik is our Brand Journalist and Head of Online Marketing / PR with 11+ years of international experience in IT B2B. He's also a guest blog contributor to business2community, SitePoint, Journal of mHealth, Wearable Valley and other e-zines.

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