Mobile medical apps are popping up all over. Doctors are incorporating them into their practices to be more effective and efficient. Patients are using them to monitor specific aspects of their health, fill in gaps in their medical care, and take more responsibility for their well-being. Both doctors and patients are finding that mobile apps can provide a fast and efficient way to stay in touch and exchange information.
The mobile health technology market--including devices, applications, and services--is expected to exceed $8 billion by 2018, according to research company GlobalData. That's up from $500 million in 2010, a 44% compound annual growth rate. The rapid growth is being fueled by the increasing availability of a variety of healthcare applications.
Among the innovative mobile medical apps we found is one that lets doctors use interactive diagrams to show patients what's happening with their bodies, where procedures will be done, and exactly what will happen during different procedures. Alternatively, patients can use this app to get doctors to provide detailed visual answers to their questions.
Another app is making it possible for Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking patients to communicate with their non-Chinese-speaking doctors about specific medical problems. And another lets doctors send links to Web-based educational material to patient's smartphones so patients can read it when and where they want to.
Other mobile apps discussed here have less to do with doctor-patient interaction but are still changing the way health professionals and patients function. One has done away with the white cards that doctors carry around as they make their hospital and office rounds to record diagnoses and billing information. Instead, it has docs dictating the information and sending it to a cloud-based database where their office administrators can access it.
We found apps that allow healthcare consumers to comparison shop, track their asthma symptoms, and find their way around Mayo Clinic facilities. Another gives people a way to keep track of their immunizations.
In the end, the applications that are taking hold are the ones that provide needed services, and make doctors and patients more efficient. Take a look at the 11 apps featured below and see which ones will improve your practice or your health.