An app store for healthcare pros

By Betsy Caron
01:55 PM

The abundance of broadly categorized mobile medical applications that have been developed and distributed in recent years has left some healthcare professionals questioning many apps’ quality and general usability.

Happtique, the first mobile app store developed by healthcare professionals for healthcare professionals, is working to solve this problem with its new, custom hApp Catalog.

Happtique, a subsidiary of GNYHA Ventures, Inc., was built on the idea that healthcare industry professionals should not have to search through more than 23,000 apps in generic stores to find the mobile health apps they need. The hApp Catalog categorizes apps using techniques similar to those used to organize medical libraries. hApps (health applications available through the Happtique store) are classified by 24 professional audiences and 64 clinical topics.

“In healthcare, when we’re talking about information that could be private information, the enterprise needs to be able to adapt itself to whatever technology providers choose,” said Lee Perlman, president of GNYHA Ventures. “What we’re doing is creating a platform that can evolve along with the mobile technology space, which still has a lot to grow.”

Happtique also offers hospitals, continuing care facilities and physician practices the ability to create individually branded, secure sub-stores that support employee and patient mobile technology use. Organizations have the opportunity to stock their own store with hApps from Happtique, as well as use their own custom-developed apps in a private and secure manner.

“Any private institution can create their own categories and own catalogues,” said Corey Ackerman, president of Happtique. “They can leverage what we’ve done and come up with something completely different. They can use our solution to go, if they wish, on their own, app by app and reinvent the wheel if they want. It’s a very customizable solution.”

Providing participating organizations with an individually branded, private mobile app store, Happtique has launched a short beta testing program to gain valuable feedback and better understand specific mHealth needs, Ackerman said.

Continuum Health Partners is working with its four New York hospitals during the Happtique beta test period: Beth Israel Medical Center, St. Luke’s Hospital, Roosevelt Hospital and the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. Mark Moroses, chief information officer for Continuum Health, said the hApp store is a great, timely response to the market and future of mobile devices.

“The ability to say, OK, these are orthopedic applications, these are radiology, these are general medicine, these are referential, those things are really important to us because it allows us to create content quickly for our physician population,” said Moroses. “These are the things we can refer to our patient population as well.”

The Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation, also participating in the beta test, has been able to use Happtique to implement its own hApps created by in-house developers. The Parker App makes it possible for patients to schedule transportation, fill out pre-admission forms and find information on other services the institute provides.

Perlman said he has high hopes for the official release of Happtique this month and is looking forward to talking with other healthcare professionals about their own private hApp stores.

“What we’re doing with Happtique is not a singular moment in time,” said Perlman. “It’s really kind of a nimble business that we’ve created that’s really going to follow the evolution of mobile technology.”