The mobile health app market has been growing steadily over the past few years.
According to IQVIA, there are now over 318,000 health apps available in app stores worldwide. With over 200 health apps added each day, this is nearly double the number of apps available just two years ago.
Health apps can typically be broken out into three categories:
- General health & wellness apps such as nutrition-tracking apps that help us count calories, sleep apps that track our sleep patterns, and stress-management apps that help us calm our mind.
- Telemedicine apps that provide virtual patient care by licensed doctors.
- Health management apps that can 1) assist individuals in monitoring their own health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, pregnancy, mental health, and more, 2) allow healthcare providers to share and report on a patient’s personal health records remotely, and 3) help keep track of medications.
And what do these all have in common? They help us live healthier lives!
In this post, I break down exactly how mobile health apps are improving our lives and overall well-being.
Let’s dive in:
A Reduction in Healthcare Costs
The rise of chronic illnesses is costing the Canadian economy billions of dollars each year. According to the Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada, about 60% of the people are living with at least one chronic illness and another 80% are at risk for developing one.
The costs on the economy and for patients are astronomical. Here are a few other stats from the same Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada resource referenced above:
- Chronic illnesses cost Canadians $68 billion in direct healthcare costs.
- This translates into an estimated $122 billion loss in indirect income and productivity for businesses.
Simply put, preventable chronic illnesses are costing us and the healthcare system billions of dollars.
The good news?
Health apps are expected to reduce overall health costs for both patients and providers.
The IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science conducted a study to assess the impact of consumer-focused health apps on the healthcare system in 2015 and concluded that “potential healthcare savings could be significant in the future”. The study ( based in the U.S.) found that the use of health apps and wearable devices could potentially save the U.S. healthcare system $7 billion per year.
This particular analysis centred on diabetes prevention, diabetes care, asthma, cardiac rehabilitation, and pulmonary rehabilitation, but it was concluded that if health apps were used across all diseases, that the healthcare system could potentially save $46 billion in annual cost.
Today, there are health apps that help manage these and many more health conditions.
Why does this matter?
In the long run, this can reduce overall health costs for both patients and providers as more people are seeking preventative care to stay healthy.
Improved Efficiency and Speed of Healthcare Delivery
Health apps are making it easier than ever to collect, manage and monitor health information – from MyFitnessPal, a free app that helps people track their calories and monitor their food intake, to Sugar Sense Diabetes, a free app that lets diabetics track their sugar levels, glucose, carbs, and more.
Here’s a look at the Sugar Sense Diabetes app:
According to Jodi Robinson, a registered dietician and fitness specialist in Toronto, “research demonstrates that those who record their food intake will achieve greater weight loss than those who don’t […] For those high-tech users, apps are a fantastic option”.
Similarly, patients with heart disease can send updated health information to their healthcare providers, and diabetics can monitor their blood sugar levels and send the results to their doctor.
Personalized healthcare is now at our fingertips.
Ease of Data Collection for Health Care Providers
On the healthcare provider’s side, these apps are also making it easier for professionals to collect and retrieve information from patients. Hospitals who use these apps allow these providers to access patient information, medical history, vitals, prescriptions, and lab results remotely.
Epic Systems, a healthcare software company, developed an app called PatientKeeper that provides physicians access to patient clinical data through either Apple or Android mobile devices. Here’s a look at the app:
Instead of manually entering test results or filling out endless intake forms, apps like these can import test results and auto-populate the corresponding paperwork for health practitioners. They can also provide prescription advice and reminders, and help physicians avoid excessive testing and additional costs for patients.
Health apps make it easier for us to monitor our overall wellness as well as for doctors to treat their patients more effectively.
Increasing Convenience for Patients
Forget waiting in the waiting room.
Apps like Maple, a doctor-on-demand telemedicine app, gives us access to doctors anytime, anywhere:
In addition, numerous telemedicine apps offer convenient pay-per-visit or subscription plans. Here’s a look at Maple’s pricing plan:
Memberships to telemedicine apps can be covered by a company health plan or by the individual for an affordable price.
Either way, having a doctor on demand is extremely convenient.
Patients can log into the app right from their phone, get a diagnosis and treatment plan, and get prescriptions sent to their pharmacy – all without leaving the comfort of their own home.
Wrapping Things Up
Preventable chronic illnesses are costing us billions of dollars each year, but the advancement of mobile apps can reduce our visits to the emergency room or neighbourhood clinic, and put money back in our pockets.
Whether you’re a patient or a healthcare professional, health apps provide major benefits.
Telemedicine apps provide patients with greater convenience than ever before. With the ability to monitor our nutrition, glucose levels, and a variety of other health conditions no matter where we are or what the time of day, we can take an offensive position with our personal healthcare needs.
This new reality helps doctors, pharmacists, nutritionists, psychologists, etc. improve their workflows to provide faster and better service.
Overall, health apps encourage a healthy lifestyle and I expect they will continue to innovate on new ways that improve our lives for years to come.
At MindSea, we help health startups and legacy health organizations plan, design and develop beautiful mobile apps. If you work at a hospital, health company or are looking to launch an app that has the ability to impact millions – Get in touch or take a closer look at our approach to bringing healthcare apps to life!