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Are Mobile Health Apps Really Making A Difference?

By James Cumming, CEO, Daily Posts UK.

James Cummings
James Cummings

Smartphones have come a long way over the years and have become far more than simple tools for making calls and sending texts. Now, your smartphone can make financial transactions, secure your home or car, and yes, monitor your health and lead you towards a healthier lifestyle.

A variety of mobile health apps currently exist for android and iOS devices, and each app brings something unique to the table. Some are entirely free, while some charge a small fee for their services. But before we look at some of the reigning health apps currently available, let’s first look into the usefulness of mobile health apps in general. 

Do mobile health apps really work?

According to Domains4Less, “Gone are the days when health professionals could only see and help patients in person. And limited are the days when websites and phone calls were the only alternative to physically speaking to a patient. Health apps are the new frontier …”

The current breed of mobile health apps available serve mainly two functions, one of which is  the recording or collection of your vitals which, depending on the app, may then be shared with a health care provider. Other apps function by providing you immediate access to health information like workouts and nutrition data which can help you live a healthier lifestyle. This means that with the help of an app or a combination of apps that deliver the above functions, you can stay healthy and may not actually need to see a doctor unless you are suffering from very serious symptoms.

Even though there is no empirical evidence yet of how much health apps contribute to healthy living, there is proof that such digital tools do make you take greater notice of changes in your health, such as weight increase, the need for more physical activity, or an erratic heart rate and thus gives you an opportunity to get these issues under control. If you use such apps consistently, they are bound to eventually contribute positively to your health.

Other ways specialized health apps can help include:

Some mobile health apps that are changing lives 

  1. Doctor on Demand

This app is free to download but requires subsequent payments. The price is worth it, however, considering the benefits of the app. With Doctor on Demand, you can conveniently organize video visits with certified physicians who can promptly provide you important medical advice anywhere you are in the world via your phone. Doctors on the app can provide treatment via the app for cough/cold, allergies, minor infections, flu, as well as emotional health concerns. The services are also covered by insurance (depending on your health insurance provider).

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Health Data Consortium: The Emergence of Data as a Driver of Health Systems Innovation

Dwayne Spradlin
Dwayne Spradlin

Guest post by Dwayne Spradlin, CEO, Health Data Consortium.

Earlier this year, Mobile Future released an infographic about the current state of digital health. The graphic detailed impressive statistics: Now, more than 247 million Americans have downloaded a health app for their mobile phones and 42 percent of U.S. hospitals utilize digital health technology. These numbers are increasing every day.

These impressive statistics would not been achievable without the liberation of enormous amounts of health data over the last few  years, which has help catalyzed a new era of health innovation by giving innovators and entrepreneurs the resources to develop new products and tools to help the everyday consumer make better, more-informed choices about their health. The digital health arena has also become a major economic driver and is on an upward trend with no ceiling in sight. Rock Health reported in April that venture capital funding for digital health in Q1 of 2014 totaled almost $700 million, an increase of 87 percent from Q1 of 2013.

From the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act through Healthcare.gov to newly released Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) data, both the demand for and ability to create new products that service consumer needs are at the forefront of investors’ minds. But with new opportunities for innovation also comes new risks and challenges. Along with privacy and security issues regarding the distribution of patient data which has been a hotly discussed public topic the last few months, concerns about storage, access, and sharing are on the minds of data distributors and data users alike.

At the Health Data Consortium (HDC), created as a public-private partnership, has the support of government, nonprofit and private sector organizations who all believe in liberation of health data for the public good. HDC has made a multi-stakeholder commitment to health data, which was reflected in the diversity of constituencies that attended our Health Data Leadership Summit in November last year. This leadership summit resulted in the release of our whitepaper on the multi-stakeholder perspective of health data priorities in the U.S. healthcare system.

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