The Current State of mHealth and Where It Is Heading

With the recent MHealth13 conference taking place, we find each year more focus on mobile health for consumers is being created.  While there are a range of apps available for consumers, one in depth study from Medscape took a closer look at the array of applications on the market and sought to narrow down the pack to what they considered to be the best and most usable.  Apps were divided into categories (diabetes, oncology, women’s health and prescription compliance).  The results of this study can be found here.

While the concept of mobile health is becoming more readily accepted throughout the realm of providers and patients, the execution of the applications may still need to be improved upon.  Found in the Medscape study; 90% of apps scored 40 or lower when ranked on a functionality scale of 1-100.  A major hurdle for developers is the demographic range vying to use these applications.  Older adults are showing a growing demand for at home health applications and require a certain level of technologic ease when working on their mobile devices that younger consumers may not find necessary.

Interestingly, this study found that 5 health care applications accounted for 15% of downloads from Google Play.  These included two calorie counters, a cardiograph, an activity monitor and a women’s health application assisting with the tracking menstrual cycle.

The future seems apt to accept the increased use of mobile health as consumers tend to favor convenience and rapid acknowledgment.  Andrew Watson, MD, told those at the mHealth Summit, “I will predict 85 percent of healthcare will be done in the home in the next five or six years.”  This opinion seems to be fairly congruent with most as healthcare marketers and providers experience the benefits of mobile and online healthcare.

As the world of mHealth continues to develop we are seeing a rapid development and involvement from a variety of parties.  Perhaps now, the greatest obstacle faced is improving the performance of these applications and teaching our patients, from a provider side, how to utilize these outlets to better improve the level of care delivered.

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Dec 2013


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