Mobile apps on leading edge of 'potentially disruptive era'

Finally, a report on the mobile health industry that doesn't throw around pie-in-the-sky numbers and actually discusses healthcare and something close to the current reality.

"We are currently in the early stages of a potentially disruptive era in healthcare," reads the report, from GigaOM Pro. "Technological change is driven by the growth in smartphones and connected devices worldwide, and more and more, apps are assuming a larger role in the healthcare system." (OK, calling healthcare a "system" may be a little disconnected from reality, but we digress.)

"One of the more interesting facets of the so-called 'mHealth revolution' is that a great deal of innovation in the sector is coming from Africa and other developing areas of the world, where the need for low-cost solutions for pressing health issues has generated much experimentation and research that is likely to play a role in more advanced economies in the coming years," the report intro says, echoing something you've likely read in FierceMobileHealthcare.

"The recent release of the iPad is also beginning to make waves in the medical arena, as the device's high-resolution screen enables features like medical imaging applications. Stanford University School of Medicine, for instance, is now using the iPad for instruction with first-year medical students," says the report. Yeah. we're down with that, too.

The thousands of consumer smartphone apps now available are making a measurable impact on some areas of patient behavior, too, and social networking apps such as the CDC's TuAnalyze for patients with diabetes, are bringing people together to motivate each other. "The key question is how much are people willing to pay for these applications, and who will use the data to drive behavioral change in a manner that makes economic sense," report author Jody Ranck writes on the GigaOM blog.

Looking toward the future, Ranck suggests that mobile healthcare apps could " a space for cross-fertilization of the health sciences with other disciplines--neuroanthropology, persuasive technology and behavioral economics, for instance" and cause more positive behavioral change than doctors alone could prompt.

To learn more:
- see this GigaOM blog post
- read the report summary