Unleashing patient empowerment in Indian healthcare through mobile applications: A critical analysis of user engagement and health outcome

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Kozhappamadathil Lohithakshan, Unnimaya
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Objective: The research objectives include evaluating the adoption and effectiveness of mHealth apps, analysing user engagement metrics, exploring their impact on patient access to health information, measuring the correlation between user engagement and health outcomes, and identifying unique challenges and opportunities in India's mHealth implementation. Methodology: The data was collected through surveys which collected information about the opinions and expectations of healthcare professionals, patients, and other end users of mobile health apps in India, which was distributed through LinkedIn and other professional social networks. A structured questionnaire was prepared by means of Google Forms which included both open-ended and closed-ended questions. The responses from primary research were compared with the secondary sources. Result: The study revealed key insights into mobile healthcare app usage in India. Health metrics tracking was universally important, especially among 26-35-year-olds. Personalized health info mattered to 18-25 and 46-55-year-olds, while health education was crucial for 26- 35 and 56+ age groups. Remote consultations were valued by 26-35 and 36-45-year-olds, with peak usage in the 26-35 group. Challenges like technical issues and data privacy affected all ages, with integration problems for 26-35 and 36-45-year-olds, and comprehension issues for 18-25 and 46-55-year-olds. Occupation influenced usage patterns, with employed nonhealthcare pros using apps the most, followed by healthcare pros and students. Customizable features, enhanced privacy, and local service integration were key across all occupations. Recommendations included collaboration with healthcare professionals and government support. Addressing demographic-specific barriers is crucial for improving engagement and health outcomes nationwide. Conclusion: Despite the widespread recognition of the benefits of mobile healthcare applications in India, significant barriers remain that hinder their full potential. While health metrics tracking and personalized health information are valued across various age and occupational groups, issues such as technical difficulties, internet connectivity, and data privacy concerns continue to pose challenges. Addressing these issues, along with improving the integration of mHealth apps into existing healthcare systems and enhancing user comprehension, is essential. Tailored strategies that consider age, gender, and occupationspecific needs can bridge the gap between current usage and optimal functionality. Collaborative efforts between app developers, healthcare professionals, and policymakers, supported by government initiatives and emerging technologies, are crucial for enhancing the adoption and effectiveness of mHealth applications, ultimately leading to better health outcomes in India. Further research is needed to evaluate and refine these strategies, ensuring they meet the diverse needs of the Indian population.

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