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Technology Articles > Cell Phones > Software > Mobile Health Apps

We are moving into a world where our smart phones will play a part in everything we do. In the last 5 years: how we manage our lives; communicate with colleagues, friends and family; compare consumer products; find directions from point A to B; purchase goods or pay bills are being influenced by technology – technology that fits into our hands. We can check to see if we forgot to close the garage door if we are already across town and deposit money into a friend’s bank account if she’s using her card to pay for lunch – and don’t forget we can still make phone calls. The adage: the possibilities are endless couldn’t seem truer as we move along in this technological world and now the healthcare industry is getting its fair share of the “I want information now” bug.

Part of the reason for this slow adaptation is the decentralized-but-ensconced structure of healthcare provision. States and government are criticized for imposing changes on providers, and providers don't stand to gain much individually for being willing to stick their necks out and innovate. Additionally, unlike modern media, games, or business applications, health applications could directly affect care provision and lead to costly liability issues. {{www.claritygrp.com|Healthcare Safety Consultants}} lead the way in working with providers to ease these issues.

The Washington Post reports that 4,155 health-centric applications were available in February 2010 (a quarter of those directed at health professionals and the rest designed for consumers) on Apple iOS devices. In just 2 years’ time that figure has quadrupled to the ballooning number of 18,859 in April 2012. There are simple apps for checking calories or your Body Mass Index (BMI) but real innovation is starting to rear its beautiful head in the form of industry changing applications for our mobile devices.

From AirStrip Technologies’ (website): by combining wireless mobile transmission of ECGs with digital visual enhancement and touch screen capabilities as well as automatic access to historical data, AirStrip CARDIOLOGY enables more informed and timely decision by cardiologists. This allows cardiologists to make decisions regarding the heath of patients remotely.

Another medical application developer, MIM Software, has fused several technologies for viewing and diagnosis of medical images. The application (Mobile MIM) grants a portable solution for physicians to consult peers, review X-rays and ultrasounds, access patient studies on or off-site with MIMcloud and a plethora of other sharing and storing capabilities that remove the need for tangible patient records.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved both of these applications, a process that can now be challenging for developers to pass. In the first couple of years of the medical application infancy, the market was essentially unregulated. But the FDA has now implemented guidelines so developers have to apply for FDA approval if their product claims to have any medical benefit. The process is necessary to weed out the in-effective and unsafe products but it can be time-consuming and expensive as well. For now, the rigidity of the regulatory process is assumed as this is a just-booming-market but one thing is clear, the medical industry has received its first dose of mobile technology.