The extent to which smartphones have changed our daily lives in ten short years is nothing short of astonishing. According to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics, 90% of households in Great Britain have internet access to a smartphone in 2017, with 73% of adults accessing the internet “on the go” using a mobile phone and 77% of adults buying goods or services online.
It’s, therefore, no surprise that the healthcare sector is already taking advantage of new opportunities to improve care and that healthcare apps are changing the way people live. For instance, the Research2Guidance Annual mHealth report for 2016 found that more than 100,000 health-related apps were added to the market in the preceding year, while the focus is now increasingly on implementing artificial intelligence and security to further boost the health support that apps can offer.
As smartphones become ever more sophisticated, the way that they use various sensors to receive data is improving in leaps and bounds. Blood pressure, heart rates and even scans of the eye’s iris are all ways in which a smartphone app can monitor health and note any significant changes that might need to be addressed.
With their online capabilities, phones now offer far more ways to stay in touch and transfer information. This means that some apps can report remotely to healthcare professionals and help keep a 'real time' picture of a patient's progress or stability of condition. In future, it is far more likely that most medical consultations will take place on a video call, with an app providing the medical practitioner with all the data he or she will need. The human element might even be removed entirely as AI based systems become more adept at diagnosis and treatment.
Although a few of these functions might seem a little fanciful or far-off for some people, one area where healthcare apps have already had an impact is in the world of fitness. Whether it is working out far you might have walked or how many steps you might have taken, through to more detailed breakdowns of running times and routes, as well as calories burned or consumed, fitness apps are a big deal for both creators and consumers.
As more data and technology becomes available, healthcare app development will go hand-in-hand with any progress that is made, providing solutions to a greater number of problems and offering services to more people than ever before.