Mobile is not just where the digital world is focused, but it seems it is where the world is collectively headed. A recent report from eyeforpharma states that mobile is set to overtake desktop Internet usage by the end of 2013. Our mobile phones have become our go-to source for just about everything in our lives, thanks to healthy competition in the market.
It’s not surprising that we are experiencing a surge in mobile health. Being able to access content that promotes or encourages positive health behaviors can have a major impact on health outcomes. It’s also popular belief that, in some situations, mobile can provide the best option for healthcare (whether preventative or reactive). That alone would be a huge shift in how we manage our health…all thanks to mobile.
It’s important to understand that mobile health isn’t just for the patient. Physicians are starting to see the value, as well. With physicians, we’re finding that having access to product information from their device in itself provides great value. In addition, features that assist the physician in kick-starting a conversation with a patient, and then feeding them resources appropriate to their health plan on an ongoing basis are attractive. Physicians want easy access content that provides information for a specific need. If that need is not met, physicians aren’t likely to use a given mobile app. To make mobile health work, we have to ensure that we are empowering both the physician and the patient to improve health outcomes; if we can accomplish that, we’ve won.
Below are some examples of leading mobile apps that are used by both patients and physicians.
Health To Go
This mobile application offers a variety of fun and approachable videos on how to improve your health. The idea is that you’ll be more likely to watch the video if it’s not your typical health dialogue and delivery. Features include the ability to share, favorite, and revisit your history at any time. The interface is designed similarly to YouTube so users are immediately familiar with the navigation.
WebMD should be very familiar to many people. It’s a mirror of WebMD.com, but it’s more engaging and easier to use in a lot of ways. The access to local health listings and a symptom checker are easily accessible from the main navigation. While the website offers accessibility to these features as well, the site is much heavier on content presentation from the home page. This is a great example of why mobile is moving to the forefront over traditional desktop usage.
This mobile application is all about quick wins that make you healthier. The name of the application says it all; the user is delivered health “morsels” to take action on. There is immediate feedback given to the user on how many other people have completed a given activity. The app user also has the ability to set up their profile and track progress through a real time activity feed. Similar to Health On The Go you can also save “morsels” as favorites to take on later if you’d like.
Diabetes Buddy is an on-the-go tracker for everything involved in managing diabetes. There is a general overview section where a user can see glucose, medication, activity, carbs, water, and weight metrics that the user manually enters. The paid version allows for a more sophisticated data readout and segmentation. There are many Diabetes management apps on the market right now, so it really comes down to personal preference, and what best fits an individual’s care needs.
heathTap’s mission is to bring personalization and interactivity to medicine – for both physicians and their patients – through the power of data and the Internet. It connects the patient to the physician in a mobile and virtual environment. You can probably see the appeal right away, which is the convenience of providing expert health answers without an appointment. It’s no wonder that the website already has over 10,000 patient answers completed. Expect many others to follow suite in this piece of the mobile health market.
These examples show the increasing value of mobile health. The question now is where will the trends in mobile health continue to gain the most momentum? That being said, the current trends seem to focus on the physician/patient relationship. The more that relationship can be cemented and truly connected, the better the health outcome.