Smartphones Can Replace Many Visits to the Doctor; Health Apps Marching Towards Breakthrough?

Posted by Sabrina Sturm Tue, 26 Jun 2012 09:20:00 GMT

New mobile devices make it possible: the number of available apps is increasing on a daily basis and in the health sector more and more “professional” apps are to be found, too. It could come true: health apps could spare patients the run to doctors’ offices in many cases. Especially when having so-called civilization diseases like diabetes or other chronic illnesses, such a little helper could substitute for the regularly scheduled doctor’s appointment.The scenario looks as follows: special medical devices measure the relevant health data and send them to the patient’s smartphone (e.g., using Bluetooth). The smartphone then directly, conveniently and flexibly submits the data via an app to the doctor or the hospital. Moreover, even an app for receiving laboratory results could be possible, so the patient no longer needs to drive to the doctor’s office. 

According to a study of the institute research2guidance, 67% of companies in the health sector believe in such health apps will be well-established by 2015. Moreover, 82% of the companies questioned see smartphones as the main networking device, followed by tablet pcs. Research2guidance assumes that there are going to be 500 million users of health apps by the year 2015.

However: considerable hurdles for extensive usage must be conquered. Among these are the security concerns of doctors and patients. It must be ensured that transferred personal health data are secure. On one side, data should not be locally stored on the smartphone (what happens if the smartphone is stolen?) and on the other, a secure transfer of data to the doctor or the hospital should be granted (SSL encryption is a good method).


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