We witnessed a plethora of mobile health enabled devices and wearable technology during the mHealth13 conference. We also found out that the focus towards mobile health is gaining more traction amongst healthcare providers as well as consumers. But one study conducted by Medscape, a networking and informative website for healthcare professionals, shows that while there are plenty of mobile health apps available for consumers, the execution of the applications may still need to be improved upon.
The study cracked down on the best and most usable mobile apps in the market. The study divided the apps into different categories such as diabetes, oncology, women’s health and prescription compliance. [@HealthITplus]
On a functionality scale of 1-100, Medscape study found that almost 90% of the available apps attained 40 or even lower. One of the major challenges developers face is that a wide range of demographics are vying to use these applications. Also, the demands vary according to the age-group of the users. For example, older adults are showing a growing demand for at home health applications and require a certain level of technologic ease when working on their mobile devices that younger consumers may not find necessary.
Interestingly, this study found that 5 health care applications accounted for 15% of download from Google Play. These included two calorie counters, a cardiograph, an activity monitor and a women’s health application assisting with the tracking menstrual cycle.
“The future seems apt to accept the increased use of mobile health as consumers tend to favor convenience and rapid acknowledgment,” Andrew Watson, MD, said during the mHealth13 conference. “I will predict 85 percent of healthcare will be done in the home in the next five or six years.” The outlook presented here is fairly in alignment with most of the healthcare marketers and providers who are experiencing the benefits of mobile and online health.
As mobile health rapidly continues to grow its impact on a global scale, the need of the hour is to improve the performance of these applications. Also, providers must adequately educate their patients about how to utilize these tools and take part in enhancing their own well-being.
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