mHealth – no longer a buzzword?
Health apps. mHealth. Starting off as buzzwords less than 10 years ago, health-based mobile phone applications have now become commonplace.
With the number of health apps doubling between 2015 to 2017 to an astounding 318,500 apps now available in the US (a number which continues to rise), it will be fascinating to see which companies manage to etch themselves out as frontrunners in this highly competitive space.
Here are some tried and tested consumer health apps that I think are really changing how we manage our health – and helping to shift us from disengaged to active participants:
Echo’s mission is to “remove the barriers to adherence through elegant, user-focused design & technology” – and it certainly delivers on experience. Prescriptions delivered to your door isn’t a new thing and has long been a mainstay for patients with chronic conditions or mobility issues, but a (near) seamless app, which reminds you when to take your medicine, when you’re low, and allows you to re-order in a tap, makes managing your repeat prescriptions so much easier. The customer service is brilliant too – have a question and they’re straight back to you.
A symptom-checking app with a difference. Beautifully constructed, ADA’s AI-driven technology uses a chat-like interface asking a series of personalised questions (including your medical history) to help you understand your ailment. Having tested it against some complex and rare medical conditions, I can attest to its accuracy. Great for those hypochondriacs we all know, but could this be the next step in medical triaging, replaced the much-maligned NHS 111 service?
Probably the most written about health tech app by the UK press, Babylon allows users to have an appointment with a GP via their mobile phone. Predominately a private service (you pay for the appointments or a subscription to the service) Babylon further upped their game in late 2017 through a partnership with the NHS to offer ‘GP at Hand’ in London. The catch? To sign up to the service you also have to register with a ‘GP at Hand’ practice as your primary general practice.
The social network for health, HealthUnlocked hosts communities offering peer advice and support for various health and wellbeing concerns. There are currently over 7,000 communities on HealthUnlocked, many running in partnership with health organisations and charities, that offer support to those who may have difficulties finding it elsewhere.
Health apps. mHealth. Not just buzzwords. Definitely here to stay.
by Helen Seidenberg