Five hundred million people will be using mobile health apps by 2015, according to the "Global Mobile Health Market Report 2010-2015," released yesterday. "Our findings indicate that the long-expected mobile revolution in healthcare is set to happen. Both healthcare providers and consumers are embracing smartphones as a means to improving healthcare," said head researcher, Ralf-Gordon Jahns.
The study was part of the mHealth Summit, which wrapped Wednesday and offered a picture on industry that's booming at home and abroad.
Of the current health apps on the market, 43% are designed for health care professionals, indicating the future of mHealth has far-reaching personal and institutional potential.
Bill Gates keynoted the conference and was clear about the future or mobile health. "Diagnosis of malaria and TB will likely be the first ones you can assign a number to and say without this mobile phone app these people would have died," Gates said. "In the diagnostics areas we're seeing some very good stuff come through."
On the domestic front, Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said, "We need to be moving towards open sourced, independent infrastructure where you have components of different manufacturers that can plug and play. FDA is looking to the development of those different types of standards to get the biggest bang for our buck."
And Aneesh Chopra, U.S. Chief Technology Officer, told attendees at the summit that cloud computing and improved connectivity are likely to speed up the process by which mobile health innovations go from ideas to implementation.
"It is important for us to knock down bottlenecks and barriers as they come," he said.
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[Photo by Peter Drier]