How some physicians create apps for their patients

By: Neil Versel | Apr 8, 2013        

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Physician practice appsA British-Australian company has entered the US market with a low-cost template for individual physicians, dentists, orthodontists and small practices to customize mobile apps.

The company, Lexington Creative, which has built an app for people with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder called ADHD Organizer and notably has designed a mobile app for Dick’s Sporting Goods in the US, last month had a soft launch internationally of Apps for Doctors, according to Alex Harrington, Australia-based head of client relations.

For $749 plus a $99 annual maintenance and support fee payable to Apple, practices get the app template for both the Apple iOS and Android platforms. Reached by phone from Sydney, Harrington says this price is far less than commissioning someone to create an app from scratch.

“Apps cost thousands,” Harrington says. “So we pre-made one with the most important features that we think doctors want,” he explains. “If the important parts are already done, it can really drive the cost down.

Others already operating in the US offer app-building templates for physicians at comparable or even lower prices. A basic Mobileapps4Docs package from a company called Awesomefat costs $497 plus the $99 annual Apple fee, though that currently is available only for dentists.

Cloud Nine Development‘s basic Android app builder is free to download but has a monthly fee of $44.99. Physicians can add Apple iOS for $499 plus the $99 yearly Apple charge and the monthly hosting fee, while a $999 “platinum” package includes Windows and BlackBerry apps as well. A foreign-language option costs another $500.

Lexington Creative’s app includes each physician’s photo and biography, practice address, office hours, list of available services, electronic appointment requests, health tips and one-touch dialing of the practice’s phone number. Practices can provide coupons and other special offers for new patients, as well as add links to their websites, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and YouTube pages.

The app lets practices send pop-up notices to remind patients of appointments they have already made and appointments they should make for recommended testing and follow-up care. “When we surveyed doctors and dentists, that was quite a popular thing,” says Harrington.

Lexington Creative charges standard design rates for adding features not part of the template.

While the app template is not built for a specific country and thus does not follow local privacy laws like HIPAA in the US, Harrington says pop-up push messaging has been designed to be more secure than standard email. He also says that practices are encouraged to state their privacy policy for using the app on the appropriate iTunes and Google Play download pages.

The “Email us” and “Make an Appointment” buttons in the app are not intended for sending protected health information that would be subject to HIPAA, according to Harrington.

Apps for Doctors right now is meant for office-based physicians, dentists and orthodontists. Lexington Creative promises future versions for other medical professionals.

To date, Harrington says the company has not advertised the app template other than through social media and word of mouth, but he expects to begin more outreach in the next few weeks. Current customers are only in the UK and Australia, he says, though the product has been priced in US dollars.