Mount Sinai Health System’s patient services app, which was developed with BioTime subsidiary LifeMap Solutions, is now available to Android users.
The app, MountSinaiNY, initially launched to iOS only in June, and offers patients a mobile portal to find centralized information and services. Patients can use the app to find doctors and facility locations, pay bills online, access the provider’s news and social media feeds, and they also have access to a menu that leads to other features for patients who have also downloaded the Mount Sinai’s version of Epic’s MyChart app, called MyMountSinaiChart.
“Offering MountSinaiNY on Android devices allows more patients to seamlessly access their health information, communicate with their physician, and schedule appointments,” Dr. Bruce Darrow, Mount Sinai’s chief medical information officer, said in a statement.“This launch is the next step in helping our patients leverage the power of their mobile devices to improve their care.”
The Mount Sinai Health System has been working with LifeMap for the past two years, and the expansion to Android has been planned since they first started planning the app, LifeMap CEO Corey Bridges told MobiHealthNews.
“Androids – and their users – have different characteristics and they work without the oversight of Apple,” Bridges said. “Especially with Mount Sinai, being in New York, being in Manhattan and serving so many people, to be able to serve a much larger population has been a critical element since the beginning."
Not only do Android users make up a larger share of the smartphone market, (and, in turn, represent a larger, more diverse share of the patient population), they are also using a device that has often been considered a secondary market to major digital health projects. Bridges also said the expansion to Android will improve the quality of large-scale research studies as well as the impact of clinical care apps, which have largely been developed specifically for iOS.
“One of the comments that people contextualize or analyze is that a lot of Apple’s mhealth work – HealthKit, ResearchKit, Carekit – have been great, but what about the larger market share?” Bridges said. “We haven’t seen ResearchStack take off the way those others have, because it doesn’t have that same centralized control of how Android grows.”
That said, LifeMap has a considerable history with Apple, which was part of the reason they were tapped by Mount Sinai to develop the app. LifeMap was one of the few developers to participate in Apple’s ResearchKit launch, an open-source platform that helps researchers build medical apps and recruit patients for clinical trials. LifeMap has been working with Mount Sinai over the last couple of years to develop other mobile apps together, including the Asthma Health and COPD Navigator Apps.
Now, Bridges said, LifeMap is working with technology that allows single-source creation of research and clinical care apps to be used on both devices.
“People are very much moving past iOS only and including Android in their development, and we now have complete parity with iOS and Android versions,” Bridges said. “That core technology of dual development means we can add a feature and it automatically will send an update to both. That may seem small to the consumer, but as a developer, that is the holy grail of software that is all about speeding development and keeping parity with different tools.”