Why smartphone apps are becoming a key factor in healthcare
- industry Highlights
- 4 years ago
A cell phone or a smartphone can do much more than just making calls, sending text messages and taking pictures. Cardiologists from Germany have recently noticed that medicine has reached a turning point when patients started emailing them the results of do-it-yourself electrocardiograms. With the help of a smartphone, a software app and an additional portable medical device which reads a person’s heart rhythm, anyone can get an instant EKG reading on their phone screen.
The future of healthcare is here to stay. Facts and figures from the industry show that such trends are already common with other expected to step up in the next years. One thing is certain – patients are more and more active and well informed before going to the doctor than ever before. Moreover, they start playing the active role in a technology revolution which could improve their health.
Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary of the UK National Health Service has recently said: “We need to give the patients a chance and an opportunity to sit in the driving seat. Although technology is the key, it is also important to change the traditional relationship between doctors and patients, from a master and servant, into partners”.
Increasing patient expectations, chronic disease prevalence and budget limitations are placing greater pressure on the Healthcare System. This is paving the way for technology to transform radically healthcare worldwide. Giving people better control over their health and well-being through digital innovations is a crucial part of this process.
Telemedicine, wearable technology and online resources are all crucial in creating efficient services. But mobile phones are considered the key driver.
Today mobile phone subscriptions exceed the world’s population of over 7 billion with more growth to follow (see chart). It is not surprising that this trend is helping to shape and set some of the innovations we are seeing in the healthcare industry. Healthcare providers begin to realize the benefits of using mobile phones and apps for medicine reminders and communication of vital-sign interpretations, which helps reduce the number of unnecessary visits to the GP.
There are around 40,000 health-related apps available today. Analytics report that, between December 2013 and June 2014, daily use of health apps increased by 62 per cent, compared with a 33 per cent rise for mobile apps in general.
Professor Kevin Fenton, National Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, comments: “We recognize that digital technology is revolutionizing the way people get personalized information and interact with their health. Mobile phones have the potential to be the single most important channel through which we can help improve the patients’ health and alleviate financial pressure on the patients.”