Internet user experience expert Joe Arcuri helps cut through the confusion when it comes to...
Mobile Healthcare Industry
Yet, there is evidence of consumer readiness for a fuller engagement with mobile healthcare, such as PricewaterhouseCoopers’ July 2009 “Jammed Access: Widening the Front Door to Healthcare” report which found that 50 percent of consumers are willing to seek healthcare through the Internet or other computer technology as a substitute for a face-to-face, non-emergency visit.12 And promising to drive increased market adoption of mobile healthcare is another convergence—between smart phones and medical apps—with content playing a critical role.
Making the greatest advancement so far in the budding mobile healthcare industry is the smart phone. Confirming Pew’s research, the National Center for Health Statistics also finds more than one-half of Americans going online for health infor-mation—many via their mobile devices. According to data from mobile ad network Greystripe, nearly one-half of iPhone users, as well as 30 percent of iPod touch users, have made a health-related inquiry on their device (see chart above).13
This usage is not lost on application developers and content providers. For its 2010 “World of Health and Medical Apps” report, MobiHealthNews researched app stores for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Nokia and Palm devices as well as third-party stores that offer apps for these and other platforms: by the company’s count, there are 5,820 medical, health and fitness apps available for smart phones today.14
It’s a number destined to grow. Apple, which reportedly sold 99.4 percent of the $4.2 billion paid mobile app market in 2009,15 has a dedicated category for medical applications for the iPhone and iPod touch; at the company’s 2009 World Wide Developers Conference, Apple’s Mark Wilson told attendees that “the medical community is flocking to the iPhone.”16
Bearing out Wilson’s claim is Manhattan Research’s finding that 64 percent of U.S. physicians currently own smart phones—with that number expected to rise to 81 percent by 2012. “Handheld devices are becoming more and more useful to physicians, partly because of the boom in physician-oriented apps and portable content,” stated Monique Levy, the firm’s senior director of Research, observing also that “healthcare marketers can’t afford to miss leveraging this channel to influence sales.”17