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Smartphone Health Apps Are Changing Health Care

Debba Boles

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Doctors have a new worry regarding their medical practices. Not only do the doctors have to worry about rising liability insurance costs and decreasing Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, but Smartphone health apps may take a bite out of their practice as well. According to an article by Seth Deepak,, “a recent survey by Pew on the adoption rate of mobile health (”mHealth”) applications found that a full 9 percent of American mobile phone users said they have mobile health apps on their phones that enable them to “track” or “manage” their health. Other studies predict that more than a third of 1.4 billion Smartphone users in 2015 will be running some kind of mobile health care application. ”

Smartphone Health Apps Are Changing Health Care

Doctors can take heart. By 2015 traditional health care channels will be distributing health apps. A global survey, “Mobile Health Market Report 2010-2015” conducted by a Berlin-based market research company, shows that by 2015 most mobile health apps will be distributed by traditional health care channels. Right now, Smartphone and other mobile health care apps include those for diabetes and other chronic diseases’ management, and hospital-based Radio Frequency Identification. There are also apps that actually allow doctors and health care providers to monitor patients, and even diagnose symptoms. See my blog Radiology goes 4G.

Insurance and pharmaceutical companies are poised to launch their own apps. Most of these apps will be for promotional purposes or for potential revenue. It isn’t clear yet just how that will look, but my guess will be that the doctor can pull up the pharmaceutical company app and research which drug will be most appropriate, as well as the cost analysis of the various drugs, insurance coverage, etc.

Over 100 countries are already using mobile health technology. At the recent mHealth Summit, leaders met to discuss mobile health projects. Cell phones play an important role in the mobile health technology strategy. By the year 2015, the mHealth Alliance expects 50% of all cell phone users worldwide will be able to access the web on their cell phones. Read my blog More than 100 Countries Use Mobile Health Technology.

We live in a technology driven world. As more and more mHealth apps are available, expect to see the way we treat health care change drastically. Patients will be encouraged to be more self-monitoring, thus taking personal responsibility for their health. With the hundreds of thousands of apps available, with more being developed, we can expect this mHealth trend to become more prevalent.

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