Tips for Implementing a Mobile Health App for People Living with HIV

A mobile health application, or app, is intended to improve patient care and advance health equity by addressing barriers to care. Below are six tips to successfully implement a mobile health app at an organization:

Engage staff, leadership and clients. It is imperative to have conversations with stakeholders both in and outside of the organization, to determine how a mobile health app can help address gaps in service delivery and to assess implementation feasibility.

Prioritize digital accessibility. Design an application that is user-friendly for both clients and staff and make ongoing enhancements as necessary. Optimize the app to meet the needs of diverse users such as clients with disabilities and those who speak languages other than English.

Secure and leverage resources. In addition to the costs to develop and maintain a mobile health application, consider potential costs that clients may incur (e.g., cellphones, cellular plans) and how the organization can support by covering these costs for clients who do not have access.

Integrate with existing systems. Create a process by which the mobile health app can easily interact with existing technologies and software applications to securely facilitate information exchange (e.g., electronic medical records and other clinical management systems).

Make the app relevant to clients. Incorporate features that consider the health needs of clients and interconnected social determinants of health (e.g., including a local list of social service agencies for housing, SNAP, insurance). Provide a confidential platform in which users can engage with a community of people living with HIV, easily access viral loads and other medical indicators, and reach out to their care providers with questions

Incorporate appropriate security measures. Ensure that the app complies with organization legal and security standards such as HIPPA Rules and Regulations. Secure and communicate patient and staff privacy and confidentiality.