Mobile is transforming the healthcare industry as we know it. Today, healthcare professionals are using tablets to pull up patient histories, view CT and MRI scans, and better educate patients. Meanwhile, consumers are using their smartphones to track everything from their sleep patterns to blood sugar levels.

According to a survey conducted by Float Mobile Learning, 40% of doctors believe that mobile health technologies can reduce the number of hospital visits. This can only be expected to increase with the release of the new iPad. So what should those in the healthcare industry consider when developing a mobile strategy?

Don’t Underestimate SMS

Keep an open mind when considering platforms. Sometimes a simple, well-executed solution will have the farthest reach. For example, Johnson & Johnson created an engaged audience of 270,000 through its text4baby campaign. The program sent text messages to pregnant women and new mothers to improve the health of their babies.

Stay User Focused

Think about the life of your target users and how a mobile device can best meet their needs. Will your users be healthcare professionals, patients, or both? When and where will they be accessing your app? Employing techniques such as creating user stories will allow you to understand the thought process and environment of your users.

Stay Realistic

One of the best aspects of mobility within healthcare is giving patients access to professional medical advice wherever they are. But this requires a serious time commitment on healthcare professionals’ part. Be sure to consider this before promising “instant” feedback to user-submitted questions.

You Don’t Have to Reinvent the Wheel

Build off of existing social and mobile frameworks that your users are already familiar with. For example, the company Within3 saw a need for online communities similar to Facebook and LinkedIn within healthcare. Medical associations and hospital staff use the app on their tablet or smartphone to share knowledge and build relationships.

Don’t Let Regulation Hinder Creativity

Yes, the regulations within the healthcare industry are very real and require due diligence to make sure they are followed. However, these regulations should not hold down the industry from offering its mobile users fresh solutions to age-old problems. By focusing on the user and thinking beyond the QR code, you can create truly innovative solutions to meet the needs of your users and better patients’ lives.