If you're like 52% of mobile users, you probably have some form of health app downloaded on your phone. Calorie trackers, pedometers, 5K trainers—these all fall within the category of mobile health apps. In the healthcare industry, researchers are constantly investigating how mobile health can make a real positive impact on user health.
Each week at pingmd, we'll look at ways in which mobile health apps and tools are making a difference today:
1. Physical activity & fitness
A recent study shows that the apps & tools available on mobile devices help get users moving. Whether you use a basic Couch-to-5K app or you're more of the Zombies, Run! type, your mobile device provides some powerful tools for accurately tracking activity levels and progress. Better still, wearable devices that transmit data to a smartphone show great promise for accurate movement & fitness tracking. One pingmd is excited to follow is the Shine by Misfit Wearables. This tiny (smaller than a quarter) device syncs data to your phone by sitting atop its screen. Imagine the types of activity we can track as devices become more sleek & lightweight.
2. Heart health
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Patients who pay regular visits to their primary care physicians may have some concept of their heart health, but those who don't many not be aware of potential risk factors. The company AliveCor aims to change that with the release of an FDA-approved over the counter EKG Machine in the form of a $200 iPhone case. With the device, patients will be able to monitor their heart health at home and identify risks in their lifestyle. (Source: FastCoDesign) Devices like these may engage patients more with their heart health and assist heart-attack survivors in keeping up healthy lifestyles.
3. HIV/AIDS treatment & prevention in Africa
As many as 600 million people in Africa may have access to mobile, "making it the second largest mobile market on the planet." Mobile health efforts in Africa have been employed to educate Africans on HIV & AIDS, monitor antiretroviral treatment, and monitor the spread of HIV infections. Other studies have shown that Africans spend a great deal of time on social networking sites on their mobile phones, providing yet another channel for information. (Source: Conspire. Health Business: Mobile Apps Tackle HIV/AIDS in Africa) Education is one of the best weapons we have against epidemics HIV. With such a huge mobile audience in Africa, there's huge opportunity to make an impact in the fight against HIV and AIDS.