It is no more ‘An apple a day keeps a doctor away’. Let us put it this way, ‘An app a day keeps illness at bay.’ Leaving aside the fact that these two leave out doctors entirely, it is amazing how health is now becoming easier to take care of, if only one cares enough. Digital Health, the use of technology to enhance and simplify approaches and concerns to healthcare, has the ability to not only influence our impression of healthcare but also to transform the world of medicine through digital growth. The term ‘Digital Health’ encapsulates overlapping technologies including Health 2.0, Connected Health, e-Health, teleHealth and mHealth. It includes a smartphone or a high-end digital device transmitting medical information over the Internet. As digital innovations continue to occupy the healthcare sector, they are forever changing our ideas of medicine and healthcare.
The rise of medical apps –
Apple started it, Android will soon follow. No, I am not talking about smartphones, I am talking about the apps that are in them. In the recent WorldWide Developer Conference, Apple announced the introduction of medical apps, new apps that will help physicians, patients and educators in numerous ways. 3D4Medical, a company specialising in the development of medical apps that contain real world renderings of human anatomy for mobile devices, also stood out in WWDC. These medical apps which are relatively low cost are also being used in many developing countries to teach anatomy.
Not just this, Apple has also launched a new AirPlay Mirroring technology that lets educators project realistic anatomical models from apps onto a big screen. This is not all. An increasing number of start-ups, funded by venture capitalists, are now inventing new apps that will turn your smartphone into highly efficient medical instruments. For example, AliveCor adds a lightweight plastic case to your smartphone thereby transforming it into a clinical-quality ECG that can be held up against the chest for accurate readings. Another example is Medscape in App Store with download strength of over 5 lac. Apart from its drug reference segment which is very popular, the app contains an Interaction checker, News and CME education. The app also enables users to have offline access to its contents. The following infographic by Consumer Instinct gives an overview of the digital health scenario:
With such a rise in consumer tech and wellness apps, digital health is clearly becoming a boon for consumers worldwide. As David Shaywitz suggests Digital Health might be the next logical wave of the Silicon Valley boom. It is truly an emerging industry at the intersection of technology and health, affecting how we use personal health information, since it unites smartphones (24/7 access to information), with big data in the cloud (enabling personalization), game dynamics (engagement mechanism), involvement of physicians online (interactive doctors) and a vibrant social conversation about health. After all, technology used to empower people is always welcomed.
Stay tuned in to know which are the Top 7 Medical Apps available on Apple and Android.
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