Accessing health care information on mobile devices is not just a trend anymore; it’s the new norm. The last couple of years has seen tremendous growth in the number of mobile health care apps that make doctors more efficient and improve patient care; mobile EHRs, charge capture, secure text messaging, drug references, and diagnostic support, to name a few.
With such critical patient information at the hands of our doctors, these apps have to be secure and robust. Whether hospital WiFi is spotty, certain care locations don’t have WiFi, or cellular reception is limited, doctors still have to be able to access important medical information on-command from their array of health care apps. Say, for example, you’re a patient in the hospital. Your doctor pulls out his or her smartphone to find what drug dose to prescribe you, only to find out that the hospital WiFi signal has dropped, and along with it, any immediate access to the necessary health information to find this out. As a doctor, this would be frustrating. As a patient, this would be frustrating and unsettling.
This is where the Native app vs. Web app distinction comes into play. A native app is developed for one particular mobile device, like the iPhone or Android, and is installed directly onto the device itself. It works standalone and can be used offline. A Web app, on the other hand, is an Internet-based app that runs on the mobile device’s Web browser, like Safari. So if you want to access information from an app when you’re in a cell reception void, like parts of most hospitals, you’ll want a native app. If you want your doctor to be able to access your medical information on a secure mobile device to deliver faster and more accurate care, you’ll want your doctor using native apps.