How can we make the most of healthcare apps for people’s benefit and betterment ?

How can we make the most of healthcare apps for people’s benefit and betterment ?

Adesh Chaurasia– Healthcare Apps

The post-covid, homebound society has breathed new life into the combination of health and technology. When I would fall sick as a child, a phone call would usually be the way to go, and that’s an experience common to most of us who have grown up before the digital revolution. Now, of course, we’re looking at a completely different situation. From fixing appointments, scheduling doctor visits, online consultation, requesting laboratory services, right down to ordering medicines, mobile apps can work wonders provided the user knows how to navigate them.

Research estimates that there are over 4 lakh functioning healthcare apps in the world today; healthcare providers and businesses are investing in building them with renewed vigor, and an average of 200 apps is hitting the market every month. Nothing could have proven more useful in the presence of a pandemic that necessitates home quarantine, especially for the elderly.

And yet, I don’t see as rosy a picture as the one that is painted before me. Consider the download numbers on these apps. What do we find? A dismal 10,000 downloads or less in most cases. This is baffling, considering how health-conscious old people are, and how much they can benefit from a service like this. What is going wrong? Why are healthcare apps finding it tough to penetrate the market? Why are they unable to bring value to their target audience despite overwhelming demand for the concept?

It doesn’t take long to find the pulse of the problem: a lack of localization. Mobile apps are mostly conceptualized and developed by young people and are geared towards the sensibilities of their generation despite being fundamentally built for a different one. The majority of healthcare app developers fail to recognize the importance of customizing your service so that it resonates with your target audience. Let us consider a seemingly trivial example. Suppose an app shows you the text ‘Hurray!’ every time you successfully schedule an appointment. You might find that friendly and fun, but to an older person, it could well come across as a lack of much-needed formality. The result? You turn to the app for all your appointments, while your grandfather, who could really use the service, turns away.

E-commerce apps have understood this problem; a lot of them come with parallel localized versions of themselves, perhaps under a different name, or a slightly different user interface. I think we direly need similar initiatives to get healthcare apps to reach the people they can most benefit from. How do we ensure this, and what exactly do we change? Here is my perspective.

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User Experience

First, we must fully understand the amount of difference that a lack of localization can make. For example, different countries use different formats to denote the date and time. In the United States, the date format is “mm-dd-yyyy”. However, most countries use the “dd-mm-yyyy” format. In certain nations like Korea, China and Iran, the year is written first and the day last: “yyyy-mm-dd”.

Now imagine logging into a nice, useful app for scheduling a doctor’s appointment, only to be compelled to enter the year first every time you select a date, just because the app was developed in Korea. Imagine having to do this repeatedly for months on end. How long will you stick with the service before you decide you’ve had enough? This is the reality that an overwhelming number of older citizens face in the digital era. The internet comes across as a world that isn’t very keen to understand who they are. Who can blame them for not trying to understand the internet?

Linguistic And Cultural Context

Many people think that localization only involves translating content. This is a gross oversimplification. Although translation is one aspect of localization, the phenomenon covers many more areas. Localization is the process of acclimatizing an internationalized application to cater to a specific region or locale. Although the word originally deals with regional or national differences, the same concept applies to the cultural gap between two communities separated by time. The art of localization lies in making sure that each page, image, and icon makes sense to the linguistic and cultural contexts of that community of people. If you ask me, localization is imperative for international success. You are not very good at going global if you don’t know how to go local. Every business must know how it can adjust its message to a particular language or culture. There should be a plan in place to make any desired changes in tone, imagery, and subject matter to successfully connect with a customer who has different sociocultural baselines than you. Elderly people deserve to have their sociolects and worldviews respected and accommodated, no matter how far health-tech progresses into the future.

The Broader Benefits Of Localizing Healthcare Apps

Having a fully localized app means showing appreciation and respect towards different communities. This also makes sure that the product can be found in the most popular search engines in specific markets, languages, or countries. Localization stimulates cultural compatibility. By adapting images, colors, icons, and adjusting the layout to accommodate localized content, healthcare apps can move out of the homogenous patterns they often fall into and bring something of value to everyone. Healthcare apps need to do what they must to localize. Add new units of measurement, include additional languages and tones, change the way you look depending on who uses you. If healthcare technology takes localization to heart, it can prove a true game-changer in the future of post-covid lifestyles, especially for older generations.

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The customer should drive the market, as should their unique sensibilities and cultural contexts. An old person needs the internet the most; they should be among the first target demographics that healthcare apps localize themselves to. The idea of moving from the telephone to the smartphone is only exciting as long as you are confident about using a smartphone. Everyone deserves to feel welcome in the internet revolution. Let’s not leave the old people out of healthcare technology. Let us localize.


Author-Adesh Chaurasia

He is an active learner, author and speaker when it comes to the subject of national development through scientific and relational ways. He presents his knowledge about his line of work in such a simple yet engrossing manner that it reaches out to the people so as to enhance their knowledge and put it to good use.

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