LONDON, Dec. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Mobile technology is advancing, and healthcare has been placed in the middle of a mobile revolution. Growing uptake of digital health applications on smart phones is set to radically change the way healthcare is delivered. Accessing health information on mobile devices will soon be the new standard, and health apps will play an ever increasing role in this system.
In 2011 there were roughly 17,000 health-related applications for iPhones, Android-based devices, and other smart phones and tablets, estimates Frost & Sullivan. Health apps can not only perform relatively simple tasks, such as counting calories, but also help consumers and healthcare professionals track, monitor, and share personal-health information for a variety of increasingly complex conditions, including heart failure, respiratory illness, and mental illness. "For this reason, health apps represent a great tool for informing and supporting patients in the self-management of their health and wellbeing," states Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst, Malgorzata Filar.
Currently, simple apps that are easily downloadable for smart phones or tablets constitute the majority of mHealth-related apps. They require relatively unsophisticated tools and calculators with lower-levels of security and analytics than apps intended for healthcare professionals. A persistent trend is that most healthcare apps track workouts or diets. Far fewer are dedicated to real health problems, such as chronic condition management.
Despite the promising future of mobile health apps, there are several issues that have to be addressed before patients and doctors can truly enjoy the benefits of mobile health."Achieving sustained health outcome depends on consumer engagement with health treatments. Many chronic conditions require careful adherence to voluntary behaviours, such as monitoring nutrition, managing weight, and exercising healthy choices. The best piloted programmes often fail because these lifestyle changes are hard to follow consistently over a continued period of time," notes Ms Filar.