One of the most promising segments of the fast-paced mobile industry is the innovation we’re seeing in mobile healthcare.
While still in its infancy, we’re entering a potentially disruptive era in which the devices we all carry are connected directly to the healthcare ecosystem to provide a wealth of two-way information. Increasingly, mobile apps are providing the missing link necessary to make this a reality. There are currently over 6,000 health and medicine-related apps in the Apple App Store, and while most only provide basic functionality, it’s only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what the near future holds.
Tablet devices such as the iPad are already having a profound affect on mobile healthcare, as high-resolution screens allow for diagnosis through the use of medical imaging applications, for example. The Stanford University School of Medicine is now even using the device for instruction with first-year medical students and others are already using the iPad to combine electronic medical records (EMRs) with a range of other clinical tools. We’ll likely see devices such as the iPad and concepts such as medical imaging converge to create brand new platforms for physician-patient interaction.
From a consumer perspective, we’re already seeing smartphone apps that help induce a behavioral shift in patients. Numerous apps already exist that help individuals track nutritional and fitness levels, for instance, and patients can often use this data to link to individuals with similar health goals and/or illnesses via social networking. The “always there” nature of mobile devices mean patients and physicians always have one-click access to health-monitoring applications and on-demand information when they need it the most.
As the concepts and supporting mobile technology continue to evolve, mHealthcare will no doubt emerge as the intricate, multi-faceted industry that provides the immense potential everyone has been predicting for so long. Though the wait continues, the disruptive era is finally upon us.