How Mobile Apps Are Changing Healthcare

Read Time: 5 min

For a host of reasons -- including people living longer on average and the impending retirement of many Baby Boomers -- there has been a huge job surge in the healthcare industry. By some measure, people are entering the field at the fastest rate since 1991.

That growth is what you might call “brick and mortar” healthcare jobs. It traditionally comes in the form of hospital workers or home health aides.

 

But, of course, we live in a mobile-first, digitally-driven era right now. And mobile health is taking off just as much -- and revolutionizing healthcare in the process.

 

For starters, there are already over 165,000 mobile healthcare apps on the market. In addition, the mobile health market is expected to be worth $59.1 billion by 2020. All this has implications way beyond just the mobile health market, too. Google is already planning to “reinvent” healthcare, and there’s rumors Apple is interested in getting in the game too. With so much activity happening in the landscape, there’s never been a better time for apps to position themselves as leaders in the space.

 

Let’s look at a few examples of how the mobile health market is helping to revolutionize healthcare.

 

Metlife’s Infinity App: Health insurance isn’t per se a “sexy” product/service, but in an age driven by the power of storytelling, Metlife hit a homerun with the Infinity app. All the basics that you’d want from an insurance app are there -- you can put passports, birth certificates, and financial/insurance documents securely into the cloud.

 

 

 

 

But what’s super-cool is this: you record and share photos of birthdays, vacations, milestones, and/or everyday life into collections. You can then release these collections to specific people (your loved ones) immediately, on a certain date, or when the user’s account goes inactive. This is a good example of tying “functionality” to “value-add life moments,” which deepens the connection of the user back to the brand.

 

Doctor on Demand.
 This mobile health application is about connecting with doctors via video to ask questions and even get prescriptions written. There are a few other doctor-on-demand type services, including HealthTap and HelloMD, and all of them are helping revolutionize the patient experience. Now you could be in a Starbucks with WiFi and feeling a bit under the weather and connect with a doctor. Even a few years ago, the only thing you could do in that Starbucks would be to sneeze on others (gross) and call a doctor’s office to get an appointment three days later.

 

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RevUp is a similar app that’s more of a mobile health ecosystem, where different specialists chime in on fitness plans, diet, and general health information. You need to be working with a doctor who is part of the MD Revolution network to get on RevUp, but one of the major benefits of these types of on-demand mobile health apps is that they greatly benefit those with less income or the uninsured.

 

John Hopkins ABX Guide.

 On this app, a user can search for information on medications and treatments for different illnesses. If you enter a specific prescription, it will give you intel on recommended dosages, side effects, and behavior modifications. There are also evidence-based recommendations so that you can more closely match a prescription to your current lifestyle. Remember the WebMD effect of the early Internet days? (“Oh man, I probably have this random disease from Sri Lanka.”) This guide cuts through that concept, in your pocket, with real data on your fears and potential prescriptions.

 

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Zocdoc.

 This app has been around the mobile health world for years now, but it’s still one of the easiest ways to find and book doctors in your area and relative to your insurance. Since finding and booking a doctor can be a tedious process of visiting different websites and calling a half-dozen offices, having it all contained in one app is a huge value add.

 

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Under Armour suite of apps: The Under Armour brand has an agnostic “connected fitness” culture; all the apps together have about 160 million users, and they’re adding 1 million users every eight days. An important aspect of mobile health is the fitness side of the equation: by 2018, there should be 135M global wearables users. By 2020, the fitness apps/wearables side of mobile health will likely be larger than the number of people with health club memberships. Obviously the big names persist here -- FitBit, MyFitnessPal, NIKE, etc. -- but UnderArmour has been powerful in this space, including being the preferred mobile health option among women. (They also own MyFitnessPal, having purchased it for $475 million.)

 

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As noted above, there are over 165,000 mobile health apps on the market now. Which mobile health apps (or fitness-driven apps) do you use and recommend?

 

 

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