Mobile health apps are fast becoming part of our everyday lives. There are said to be more than 100,000 mobile health apps around the world, with more than 4m free downloads every day. By 2017, these app services are projected to reach $26bn (£15bn).
Mobile health apps fall into broadly two categories: wellness and medical. 85% of apps are for wellness, designed to be used primarily by the consumer and patient, and the remaining 15% are medical, used by healthcare professionals. There are sub categories within these.
1. Wellness apps – for individuals that wish to focus on their weight management, healthy living and for elderly and child care; content is about tips, interactive services and fitness monitoring.
2. Prevention apps – is a disease management solution for individuals exposed to infectious diseases and supporting drug abuse prevention; offering personalised information tips, tailoring health content according to mobile history and current behaviour.
3. Diagnosis apps – health call-centres, help-lines and tele-medicine can focus on connecting with low income individuals and hard to reach patients in rural areas (worldwide), providing interactive consultation via voice or text messaging.
4. Treatment apps – these apps engage with patients reminding them of appointments that they need to attend; these are similar to hospital administration apps for reminders to help improve non-attendance.
5. Monitoring apps – for individuals suffering from chronic diseases or recovering from acute conditions; the focus is on disease management and reporting alert messages to improve overall health management and safety.
6. Hospital emergency response apps – these are ambulance based solutions that can track body vitals and offer an interactive consultation to help improve response and so help deliver improved patient care.
7. Healthcare practitioner apps – is an information look up and intelligence decision-making support system that complements existing medical information; healthcare professionals have the ability to send a patient an electronic copy of their information in real time.
8. Healthcare surveillance apps – helps healthcare workers to use survey tools enabling then to collect data of people, streamline reporting and help track outbreaks of disease and epidemics.
9. Charity apps – American Red Cross has launched a blood donor app that makes it easier for people to track their blood donations and schedule new ones; another app allows the business to earn money for charity through exercise.
10. Pharmacy apps – a customer service app for U.S. pharmacy Walgreens offers online chats with pharmacists, refilling or transferring prescriptions by scanning your medication container, and reminders of when to take your drugs or supplements.
The mobile and digital health market is maturing and is primarily aimed at improving the efficiency of healthcare providers in delivering improved patient care. Of the various mobile health service categories, monitoring services and applications are expected to drive the market significantly in the future.
Widespread user adoption will be the final factor that will drive the ultimate, long-term growth of mobile health. What are your mobile strategy plans for the future? Share your thoughts below or on Twitter.