The invention of the smartphone has completely revolutionized the modern world. Current day citizens of the UK now have access to the world wide web at their fingertips, and they are accessing it more and more via solely their mobile apps. Last year, almost half of all global internet traffic was derived solely by mobile applications. Apps are permeating into all aspects of our lives, from leisure to social connections to education to finances.
In recent years, even medical apps have grown in popularity thanks to their ease of use convenience, and in the UK there is certainly a demand for them. A study performed by Netis information Ltd. reports that nearly seventy-five percent of people in the UK already go online for health information and advice, and that sixty-six percent use a mobile health app to do so. UK’s predicted market for the mobile health industry is over half a billion dollars, part of an overall market valued at over twenty-one billion. Private companies are developing apps designed for various consumer uses, and even medical centers and professionals are creating their own medical apps to communicate and assist patients and employees.
The study divides Digital Health into four primary categories: telehealthcare, health analytics, mobile health, and digitized health systems. The types of healthcare apps vary from those dedicated to clinical use for assistance with diagnosis, to personal apps designed to maintain an overall healthy physical and mental lifestyle. Various apps have a myriad of benefits from the patients, including monitoring of accurate health data, patient empowerment and education, data analytics with AI, ML and big data methods, information on symptoms and medical conditions. Apps can also be highly beneficial for tracking and regulating daily activities, such as activity levels, average blood pressure, and sleep patterns. Sofia King from Supplementnation recommends utilizing health apps containing reminder features to help elderly people and expectant mothers remember to regularly take their needed vitamins and nutrients.
Surprisingly, even older generations prefer to utilize digital health services (although they prefer website and email, leaving apps and social media for younger generations). In fact, seventy percent of patients over fifty in the UK report a desire to use digital healthcare services. Both consumers and healthcare providers are looking for digital health apps which are simple to use; which provide understandable information on symptoms and medical conditions; which allow them to access and examine their health records and medical tests; which allows them to communicate with their care providers; which protect their data; and which, most importantly, provide trustworthy accurate information.
With technological advances, digital healthcare and the use of mobile apps to provide services is becoming continually more innovative. The Internet of Medical Things, or IoMT, are linking and integrating with medical apps in order to monitor patients with chronic symptoms, and transmit vitals to physicians in real time. App databases such as Babylon offer patients the ability to access medical advice by simply speaking their symptoms into their phones. Even general hospital organization and facilities management are being enhanced with the use of medical apps.
The UK’s national healthcare system have recently rolled out their own app, designed to give residents access to their GP records and the NHS 111 symptom checker, book appointments, order repeat prescriptions, register as organ donors and set data sharing preferences, using a single identity verification system. The app will also directly link with the NHS’s app library, giving further health and wellness access to its users.
Progress achieved in the last few years has completely transformed the way patients and providers alike manage health care. Further developments, the diffusion of successful digital health applications, and the advancements of technologies such as the Internet of Medical Things will continue to revolutionize and shame the medical world in the years to come.