We’ve written before about how start-ups are changing healthcare, and much of that comes from the recent influx of accessible technology. Smartphones didn’t just change the way we communicate, they’re changing the way we do healthcare. For that reason, we’re dedicating all of April to examining Mobile Health.
Let’s discuss patient-facing mobile healthcare apps, as they just hit the big time. Though many wearable devices like FitBit have been on the market for some time, both Google and Apple included healthcare tracking apps on the latest releases of their mobile devices that track, analyze, and manage the owner’s health data. Mobile health is now automatically at people’s fingertips, literally. These apps can also sync with wearable devices the user already owns, providing an even more-detailed picture of the person’s health. The possibilities of what to do with this data is unfathomable.
What’s more, these apps are becoming available at just the right time. Recent statistics report that 66 percent of Americans would use mobile health apps to manage their health. That’s a huge percentage, and digging deeper into the numbers illustrates just how wide-ranging the needs are to help manage health. For those people with long-term diagnoses, medication reminders and tracking physical activity help tremendously to keep these patients living the way healthcare providers (and their loved ones) want them to. Other patients might simply want the ability to communicate with doctors through a mobile app or receive help tracking their diet and nutrition. All of these are becoming a reality because of mobile health apps. These different needs from different people add up to a large portion of the American public who want to get in on mobile health.
The large-scale availability of patient-facing mobile health apps and the desire of the American public to use them demonstrate a great shift in healthcare. Here at Singola we have long touted patient-centered care, but mobile health signals a move towards what some call “participatory medicine,” “collaborative health,” or “person-centric care.” Mobile health means that patients now take responsibility for their own care and collaborate with their healthcare providers to get and stay healthy.
We are all responsible for our day-to-day health, and doctors can help when something goes wrong. But preventative care means eating right, exercising, sleeping soundly, and taking prescribed medicines on time. Healthcare providers can’t control those behaviors, but mobile health apps can certainly nudge us in the right direction.
Photo from Death to the Stock Photo.
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