Apps and Technology: There's an App for That

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Of the more than 40,000 iPhone apps currently available for download in Apple's AppStore, at least 5,000 are health-related, according to Brian Dolan, editor and cofounder of MobiHealthNews, which produced the report “The World of Health and Medical Apps.” Add to this the fact that the new kid on the block, the Android, already has another 500 health apps on offer, and it's pretty obvious that the mobile app phenomenon is having an effect on healthcare communications and marketing.

Around 90 of Apple's health apps fall into two store categories: “Health & Fitness” and “Medical,” which means that an additional 500 or so apps can be found in other categories, such as “Lifestyle” and “Education.” Around 27% of iPhone health apps are aimed at healthcare professionals, with the remainder targeting consumers.

The iPhone clearly revolutionized mobile communications, but it wasn't the first game-changer, according to Sandeep Shah, CEO of Skyscape and chief innovation officer of its parent, Physician's Interactive. “Back in 1999-2000, the Palm Pilot was the perfect form factor with a simplistic philosophy and the right kind of price,” he says, noting that around 15% of physicians owned one at that time, rising to around 40% by 2005. “Physicians definitely adopted it faster than other professionals.” Then devices started coming out with color screens and more storage.

In the physician community, Apple has been the clear winner to date, but Shah feels the competition is hotting up. “Android will catch on,” he says. “Right now, there are at least 15-to-20 handsets or devices that support it, as opposed to the iPhone, which has only one. It's becoming a very interesting alternative.”

The data to the right breaks out various types of health apps available for the dominant smartphone platforms. All data is taken from MobiHealthNews' The World of Health and Medical Apps.

The full report can be purchased at www.mobihealthnews.com.

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