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Hospital Apps Must Be Problem Solvers

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, June 12, 2013

It sure sounds better than the ad hoc Post-It note schedule we laid out on my grandmother's kitchen counter.

"This isn't the most powerful app in the world," says Rattray. "But it does one thing really well."

The app got to 1,000 downloads in six months. Two years later, it's been downloaded 10,000 times.

"Most apps might get 500–1,000 downloads, so when we went over a 1,000 I was ecstatic, when we went over 5,000, I was over the moon," Rattray says.

Giving a patient a tool that helps them solve a specific problem gives them a reason to actively engage with your health system. In some ways, SouthcoastMyHealth is similar to a physician locator, which many hospitals focus on as part of their website and app, but the Southcoast app digs deeper, though there is also a physician finder and a news feed, but that's not the app's focus.

The app simply attempts to have prescription information in an easily accessible place that can be shared with others who need to be informed.

But, don't let its simplicity app fool you. There was very careful planning about who specifically the user was likely to be. Knowing that women control most healthcare decisions, Rattray says the app was developed for the mom, the caretaker, and the spouse.

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