PHR ( personal health records ) apps became a major trend for all healthcare aware - advanced mobile users in the past few years, PHR apps to provide very easy and accessible centralised tool for patients to keep their medical records secure, simple to update, and review. PHR key concept is to be managed by the patient himself who should the keep marinating and updating his records.
So what can the patient do using PHR App?
Well all type of health related data
- Logging his doctors visits.
- Logging medications.
- Immunization history.
- Lab Results.
- Insurance details
- Medical Notes
Consideration to choose the right PHR
Security is a the major factor for the PHR app, and some Apps are promoting sets of security measures to ensure they protect their users privacy. Its not just about managing the data it's also about protecting it. Some apps are providing data encryption for the data. However the most basic and required feature for PHR apps which should not be ignored by developers is : App Locking, The app has to be locked by the user either by a password or by fingerprint.
Can you backup your data? And which form can you backup it?
To be able to export the data you require or share it when needed, is a demanding requirement for patients, Most of PHR apps are working great offline on the user's phone, but what if the phone is damaged or lost? Well some apps provide cloud storage, others provide features like backup the data to files. However the most usable PHR apps and winners are built on top of clouds services aiming to serve patients. Which allow the patient access to his data from other devices as well or through a web based interface.
Simple User interface, PHR somethings are daily used apps for many patients, The application design should be comfortable to use, easily accessible to all features and options.
Example of Healthcare logger for patient
Health Log Keeper is one of the simplest but most useful PHR App for patients, It has very simple and easy to use interface, very simple charts to read, unlike some apps with complicated charts that confuse the patients. It has many good reviews but mainly dated to 2015 where the app was last updated.
- Key features:
- Rating : 4.3/5
- Simple UI
- Logging : Medical Events and Activities
- Easy to read charts
- Medication logging
- Backup and Sharing with Doctor
What are the differences between PHR - Personal Health Records and Health Managers/ Assistants apps?
PHR are apps mainly loggers/ trackers allow the patient/ user to keep in one place all of their medical records for easy retrieving and sharing with their doctors providing them with security, and backup tools to maintain their records. In the other hand Health managers/ assistants apps are built to manage several operations considering patient health as facilitate and track their medication intake, diabetes management apps, diet planning and management, taking appointments with doctors and often provide them with very accessible way to the valid decisive information they seek. one of the best emerging examples for health managers is MongoHealth which comes in iPhone/ iOS and Android app for mobile and tablets.
Artificial Intelligence and Health Assistants/ Managers.
Health assistants are getting smarter by the moment many new health assistants apps are powered by AI and reactively responsive to the patients as Ada , Notable AI powered healthcare assistant and Napier Health Assistant . The new generations of healthcare assistant apps are not just intelligent and useful but they are also more integrated with devices, tools and local healthcare services. Some health assistants comes as chatbots as in Facebook messenger platform built by individuals on different NLP ( natural language processing )/ AI powered platforms, yet they are not in production phase.
Bot based healthcare assistants and limitations
ChatBots are small micro programs run inside the chat platform responding with messages, They are built to simulate real conversation based on the user inputs. Many chat platforms are supporting chatbots as Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Slack, Skype, Twitter, Line and Viber.
Bot alike/ based healthcare assistant apps are mainly supporting one languages with limited options so they are primary serving patients in certain countries. The reasons are varying between technical difficulties, lake of languages support for NLP platform used or legal and implementation constrains.
How to choose your app?
If you want a simple keep logger to record and maintain your personal health record, you are to choose PHR personal health record app or simple healthcare manager app. If you are looking into reactive support the AI powered healthcare assistants are your choice.
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Author: Hamza Mu
A physician with programming skills, Linux user since late 1990s, Open source supporter . Doing coding with Python, NodeJS (Meteor, VueJS, Express, D3, PhantomJS), SmallTalk & R language... Read More