You are on page 1of 10


Mobile Applications and the
Future of Healthcare

In the same way that mobile applications (apps) have changed
the way that people live, work, play, and communicate, they are
transforming healthcare. Mobile apps and related technologies
promise to alter the way that healthcare is delivered and paid for,
to empower patients to take patients to take responsibility for their
health, to make the delivery of healthcare more efficient, and to
potentially lower costs and improve outcomes.

This white paper examines how mobile applications and
technologies are transforming healthcare, and looks at the
effects mobile and related technologies will have on patients,
IT, developers, providers, and payers.

and travel. from patients online access to their own health reference information. medical professionals. all of which is stored in a cloud. images and the patient experience to the operations of records and information. store data on local servers and other diet. This technology puts the “m” in mobile by Elsevier Clinical Solutions | Drug Information 2 . They can be as simple as remotely and eliminating the need to exercise trackers. and people manage chronic disease and available drugs to combat infections. doctors. including those mHealth — will transform the way the • HEALTHCARE VAULTS AND PORTALS give that give remote access to medical entire healthcare ecosystem operates. For example. including one that helps types. a study best tools for managing their health. and hospitals have portals they are. Cloud-based technologies Or they can be more sophisticated ones work hand-in-hand with mobile that help patients manage complex applications. not just the records Directors Association found that 90 and mobile technologies are making it from one doctor. On a larger applications are widely used by center of healthcare and are given the scale. equipment. generally Many types of technologies will cooperate break down into two areas: to deliver this promise: • HEALTH AND WELLNESS CONSUMER • CLOUD-BASED TECHNOLOGIES allow APPLICATIONS offer patients ways to data to be stored on the Internet. The types of mobile health apps currently available. those that deliver patient entire healthcare organizations. required medication via text messaging. practice.2 patients live. Mobile a future in which patients are put at the records from that institution. Individual drug data. away from and portals. vaults like Microsoft HealthVault clinicians already. For example. and calorie counting applications. heart rate monitors. and in development. patterns of resistance. giving better manage their own conditions and access to powerful computing power general health. UnitedHealth physicians combine patient data with Group offers members multiple mobile geolocation information about bacteria applications. providing access to them at least one harmful drug reaction by high-cost facilities such as hospitals and everywhere. and those that improve Mobile health apps will help to facilitate that allow patients to see their medical workflow and productivity. groups of doctors. • A WIDE RANGE OF MOBILE APPLICATIONS health-related mobile applications and patient-specific information literally in AND TECHNOLOGIES are aimed at technologies — often referred to as the palm of their hands. work. or facility. with applications frequently health conditions that tie patients directly accessing or storing information in the to their healthcare providers via mobile cloud. Recent mobile applications for phones. The are designed to give patients access to all in the Journal of the American Medical combination of sophisticated data analytics their medical history. looking up prescription information on doctors’ offices. and closer to where their mobile devices.1 percent of nursing home physicians easier for healthcare professionals to Mobile applications tap into vaults surveyed reported that they have avoided deliver the best care possible.WHITE PAPER: Mobile Applications and the Future of Healthcare Mobile Technologies Transforming Healthcare There is no doubt that medical and giving clinicians access to powerful. medical information to professionals wherever practices.

Medical professionals those without a great deal of computing are typically well-paid and. 2013 study found that in 2013. not just when they are at is largely dependent on age and income their offices or healthcare institutions. according to a expertise to develop simple mobile recent survey.5 play a greater role in their own healthcare via wellness programs and programs for Smartphones. smartphones. kinds of programs because they provide patients personalized access to their information at home or while traveling. technical trends.3 from mining massive amounts of data. Mobile devices can sheer ubiquity of mobile devices. The cost of entry is greater the percentage of people who low. This is being driven by applications have become so ingrained payers looking for ways to hold down costs.4 health insights are mined via data analytics. and 58 data into large data warehouses. 2013. People are being asked to network in 2010. And when percent of Americans owned smartphones. 86 percent of physicians use applications such as exercise trackers. 91 percent and the way that they live. and So-called “big data” and data analytics Cybercitizen Health U. A major factor driving mobile use is the in several ways. Pew automatically gather tremendous amounts Research Center’s Internet & American Life of information about people. That’s an an increase of 27 percent from 2012. Elsevier Clinical Solutions | Drug Information 3 . and feed that of Americans owned cell phones. tablets. Project found that in June 2013. healthcare professionals want to access The prevalence of smartphone ownership them everywhere. have become a part of many people’s daily because insights gained from analytics can 2013 study found that in lives. Using mobile devices is a worldwide phenomenon. Mobile technology is ideal for these parts of their lives. mobile health applications are driving the mHealth trend as well. their health. In all age much easier it has become to develop brackets. the mobile applications.S. used mobile phones or 95 million people used mobile phones or Computer scientists and mathematicians tools to access medical tools to access medical information.WHITE PAPER: Mobile Applications and the Future of Healthcare Factors Driving Mobile Adoption — and Roadblocks Holding It Back Manhattan Research’s Driven by a variety of societal. Ernst and Young The movement towards patient-centric reports that 90 percent of people across healthcare and patient empowerment plays the globe were within reach of a mobile a big role as well. 95 million people Health U. That’s have developed new ways to gain insights information. bracket. Mobile technologies work with big data increase of 27% from 2012. in modern culture that people expect the The Affordable Care Act uses a variety of same kind of instant access to information incentives to increase patient-centered about their health as they expect in other care.S.000 Also fueling the mHealth trend is how or more own cell phones. Manhattan Research’s Cybercitizen be used by clinicians at the point of care. and mobile managing diseases. Ninety percent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 who make $75. medical. or when preparing to meet with patients. the higher the income. and tools are available that allow even use smartphones.

Historically. From a technologies can hold down costs by medical perspective.S. Social media to fears that personal health information information. care institutions and professionals who care for that patient must be balanced Increasing healthcare costs are a big driver with the need to keep private information of mHealth. not only because of privacy concerns. networks are accessed via mobile of the patient’s preference. Kaiser Health News reports private. those that rely on patient offers peer support from others with will land in the hands of hackers or information and medical records are very similar conditions. according to the Centers practitioner has one set of records while for Medicare & Medicaid Services. and the served when all healthcare providers overall productivity at healthcare facilities. Privacy of information. Google abandoned its plan for a health vault precisely because of these technical difficulties. however. but unlike simple mobile and they use those networks to find and security issues are a big concern due health applications that rely on general information about health. social inadvertently shared beyond the scope expensive to develop and maintain. In addition. Increasingly. particularly for applications connect to multiple systems and sources use social networks such as Facebook. The desire to devices. but also because there is no commonly accepted digital format for storing patient information. advancing at a rapid rate. have access to the complete picture. In fact. costs will be reduced by Accomplishing this. is difficult helping improve overall patient health. the patient is best increasing physician productivity.6 Mobile the cardiologist has another. Elsevier Clinical Solutions | Drug Information 4 . patient information that healthcare costs will reach nearly 20 has been “siloed” with patient records percent of the U. Conglomerating patient records from disparate sources is a serious technical challenge.WHITE PAPER: Mobile Applications and the Future of Healthcare Roadblocks to Adoption Social networks are also a major factor Although mobile health technology is Another approach for healthcare providers driving the development of mobile apps. gross domestic product held by individual providers. there are still a and institutions is to build applications that Hundreds of millions of people worldwide few roadblocks. involving patient-specific data. so the general (GDP) by 2021. driving the development of share patient information among health new mobile apps.

which increases the demand for IT security experts. Its appointment app has device” (BYOD) policies. IT departments have Healthcare’s mobile future has significant Taking a big step in support of mobile tried to limit the types of implications for IT departments and health applications. than they have in the past. and models of smartphones and tablets. which are much in demand and will likely which would help Kaiser provide the soon become the norm. Of course. and set up doctor’s to adopt “bring your own of computers and devices in use in order appointments. refill prompting some organizations departments have tried to limit the types their prescriptions. will create useful apps for Kaiser members. In fact.” has been downloaded likely soon become the norm. but beyond that if they are to reap the benefits that mobile applications have to offer. Kaiser has already developed a skill set in high demand. which to simplify support and maintenance. IT departments also need to find ways to break down the silos that house different types of data so that they are accessible to mobile devices and applications. patient privacy must still be protected.000 But that is changing because employees times and one of its general wellness apps. IT medical records and lab results. applications. By making its API available. IT must do more than that—they need to find ways to make some of that information available not just to those within their healthcare organization. Typically. highest level of care and possibly give them a competitive advantage. healthcare provider developers. More IT departments will also information for use in developing mobile and patients use many need to hire people with mobile expertise. prompting some organizations to adopt Kaiser hopes that independent developers “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies. For the IT departments Kaiser Permanente has released an API computers and devices in use within healthcare organizations.000 times.WHITE PAPER: Mobile Applications and the Future of Healthcare What the Mobile Health Future Means for IT Typically. 85. been downloaded more than 500. it means (application programming interface) that in order to simplify support incorporating new types of technologies allows independent mobile developers to and maintenance. are much in demand and will and patients use many different brands “Every Body Walk. Mobile requires its own mobile applications that allow different brands and models IT departments to think differently plan participants to see their electronic of smartphones and tablets. Elsevier Clinical Solutions | Drug Information 5 . But that is and ways of remotely accessing tap into its general medical and healthcare changing because employees information.

8 43. Desirable vital signs.” states that by 2017 there will apps make use of mobile devices’ sensors. many of patient-specific data but also on trusted the increasing visibility of healthcare. says higher level of medical expertise and more developers typically have little medical that the company’s apps were downloaded complex. the analyst firm research2guidance. require a visibility — and downloads. and medical reliable source. one of the founders.9 growth in this sector. it must be equipped with accurate abundance. content.4 billion smartphones and of those. Florian those to help manage diabetes.000 “are desired format.000 health and fitness apps in Apple’s accurate. expertise.000 mHealth mobile applications. such as cut through the clutter and quickly gain mobile application in the world. depend not only on sensors and market penetration of smartphones. Its report “Mobile to offer top-quality content or make use Health Market Report 2013–2017: of all of a mobile device’s capabilities. But apps with clinically useful. The The Commercialization of mHealth report found that only 159 of the 16. 16. that number should grow to general health and fitness. and half of all condition management or provide tools smartphone and tablet users will have and calculators for users to measure their downloaded at least one mHealth app. Of course. medical profiles.WHITE PAPER: Mobile Applications and the Future of Healthcare Implications for Developers mHealth offers developers a tremendous For developers there are also opportunities for a mobile application to assist in the market opportunity and general consumer beyond consumer app development. Consider this startling integration work for payers. more than 100. only 16. makes comparatively simple task for a developer. research2guidance estimates a is a ripe market for developers.7 Given the increasing etc. or monitoring of a health applications can already be found in such as custom programming work and disease. dramatically. according to such as heart rate and calories burned. in order Elsevier Clinical Solutions | Drug Information 6 . the most popular mHealth apps are related and proven medical content to inform and related apps. and As Runtastic’s experience shows. and trusted information in the iTunes app store. reliable medical content can it the highest-grossing health and fitness Condition-specific applications.000 Applications.” The report concludes that this area Overall. is a notice. vitals. blood 44 million healthcare-related apps were professionals.000 paid downloads a day.” Of course. hospitals and current clinical information from a fact: According to Ernst and Young. sugar levels. treatment. Research2guidance says that the top ten patient-facing apps with ‘genuine’ mobile health apps account for up to four health content. Gschwandtner. patient-specific information. for example. make it difficult for new ones to gain fitness tracking apps. be an estimated 3. which makes it important that more than 14 million times in the first A survey by IMS Institute for Healthcare they partner with recognized and respected half of 2013. total mHealth market revenue of “There is therefore considerable room for $26 billion by 2017. downloaded in 2011. which is saying something sense because they can be used by the when you consider the success some population at large. saying. regardless of individual The tens of thousands of general health companies have already achieved. a day. potential drug interactions.000 downloads Informatics found that of the more than content providers who can provide current. fewer than 50 “relate to actual and tablets in the world. By early 2013 there were The quality. with many failing according to the firm. This makes interpret the data. which. has created 15 that monitor overall fitness indicators. high-quality.000 apps vary widely. In addition. and function of those 97.”10 million free downloads and 300. diagnosis. and healthcare facilities. using sensors and fitness apps already on the market Runtastic.

D.”12 more healthcare providers forming Accountable Care Organizations and A study by the University of Chicago found other partnerships across the healthcare that 80 percent of medical residents in delivery system. As a result. and 88% are using mobile mobile technologies in their day-to-day technology to help deliver work. can improve patient outcomes This should come as no surprise. that 93 percent of physicians are using directly to the hospital. analytics. wrote and Blood Pressure Connect. Partners Healthcare. it has seen a country flight when a fellow passenger 48 percent reduction in cardiac patients was “in obvious trouble. and not just in healthcare settings. costs. Eric J. it is expected to increase something they want to do. the demand for healthcare the University’s hospital had increased information via mobile devices will productivity after being given an iPad for increase further. With something they are being forced to do.WHITE PAPER: Mobile Applications and the Future of Healthcare Mobile Health for Providers A survey by HIMSS Analytics A majority of healthcare professionals electrocardiograms and discovered that found that 93% of physicians already use mobile devices and the passenger was having a heart attack. and ordering tests and procedures for Pilot programs using mHealth have patients. 27 health data wherever they are.15 used an app on his iPhone that can record Elsevier Clinical Solutions | Drug Information 7 . Mobile percent of physicians owned tablets. tasks such as accessing medical records.11 apps also facilitate better collaboration among physicians. a an hour a day. Topol. already paid off. and improve efficiency. A survey by HIMSS Analytics found and waiting paramedics rushed the patient in their day-to-day work. M. programs. Association.13 venture of Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. including Connected Cardiac In an article for the American Medical Care. technologies in the course of their normal The plane made an emergency landing are using mobile technologies day. and 88 percent are using mobile Mobile technology. among about an experience he had on a cross. Diabetes Connect. on average. Patient care can be improved by mobile as has launched a variety of new mobile well. combined with data patient care. technology to help deliver patient care. reduce business models become more popular. Physicians by delivering better decision support to have long been early adopters of mobile medical professionals by letting them technologies. others. as opposed to productivity in healthcare settings. which is particularly Providers use mobile technology for three important as pay-per-performance reasons: it can improve outcomes. that mobile technologies have “caused And because mobile technology improves physicians to view health IT adoption as overall workflow. They reported saving. TeleStroke Center.”14 Doctor Topol being rehospitalized. Ernst and Young reported tap into the latest and most accurate that within a year of the iPad launch. An article in because coordination of a patient’s overall the American Medical Association notes healthcare is believed to hold down costs.

“We policies from multiple companies. find physicians. will grow dramatically. engaging with and improving model and that has allowed us to bring a the health of their populations is important lot of things to the Web. and now they are including the nearest emergency room. health access. and have long been adopters of iTriage LLC. All evidence indicates that mHealth actively pushing for greater use of mobile It also provides access to the Microsoft adoption rates by physicians and providers technologies. helpful information.16 to provide members with easy access to have and shows where to go for treatment. In addition to as updating IT systems to enable mobile to 30 percent a year earlier. A HIMSS Analytics hold down costs is improving the health Mobile Technology Survey found that of their members — a healthier member Payers are investing in the underlying in 2012.WHITE PAPER: Mobile Applications and the Future of Healthcare Mobile Health for Payers A report from the Commonwealth Fund Payers bear the brunt of rising healthcare status of their claims. Chief among the ways to HealthVault. Aetna has purchased found that apps for managing health costs. and the Health4Me mobile app from UnitedHealthcare that lets plan members access critical health information.17 insurance exchanges established by the benefit from outreach via mobile methods Affordable Care Act. Payers are not leaving it up to the system is difficult to navigate. such bedside jumped to 45 percent compared needed and lower costs. to mobile. and check the Elsevier Clinical Solutions | Drug Information 8 . insurance companies such as text messages and email.”18 They are directly investing in the creation of useful apps. talk to nurses. The healthcare loyalty. Health plans and managed care the popular iTriage mobile app that helps asthma can be helped most by these types organizations have long used Web portals people know what conditions they might of apps. face increased competition because consumers can easily compare insurance Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini explains. and mobile the obvious benefit of cost control. customers to interact with the system. providing cloud-based services capture of the visual representation of plans can gain competitive advantages with and investing in analytics software that patient data was at 27 percent compared to good mobile health apps. an app development and conditions can improve health outcomes technology to equip patients with the technology company started by two and control costs. Due to the health can identify plan members who will most 13 percent the previous year. In order have invested heavily in a service-oriented to retain existing members and attract new architecture as part of our business members. and to improve satisfaction and build customer handheld technology. so we have marketplace to develop mobile apps that been building tools that make it easier for help members better manage their health. mobile collection of data at the population means fewer healthcare services mobile computing infrastructure. The report says that knowledge to assist them in finding quality emergency room physicians. with some payers buying development companies to write them. It publishes chronic conditions such as diabetes and care. Some examples include several mobile apps from Humana that encourage healthy activities via game-like features.

with physicians. Mobile applications and related other smart healthcare apps will become related smartphone apps were technologies hold great promise for more popular as well. Even though 44 million to help optimize the health and care of health-related smartphone apps were members and patients. and hospitals lead healthier lives. Similar numbers of people want apps that can diagnose and monitor conditions. downloaded as far back as 2011.” 7 people are much more likely to suffer chronic conditions and much less likely to rely on mobile devices. according to a survey by the Pew healthcare consumers are better informed. and get medical test results. ask questions of their doctors. “Today’s health. consumer use of mobile conditions. As patients are encouraged to take more responsibility for managing their own health. Many of these apps will likely be behind mobile use overall. Research Center.20 And only four as other parts of the economy are. and generally plans. consumer use of mobile technology for healthcare Patients are likely to be one of the most lags behind mobile use overall.S. according system to be accessible via mobile just to Forrester Research. and other made available through health insurance healthcare professionals. But change is on the way. such as those that help manage diabetes.21 This is not surprising technologically savvy and expect more given that. at this point in time. only 23 percent of consumers had solutions. communicate remotely with 2011.WHITE PAPER: Mobile Applications and the Future of Healthcare Mobile Health for Patients Even though 44 million health. these and Elsevier Clinical Solutions | Drug Information 9 . manage their records. because they expect the health used mobile health solutions. elderly from their healthcare system. healthcare providers. such as high blood pressure. pharmacists. connect and more.22 Some disease-management apps are becoming popular. A Harris poll of people who frequently use the Internet found that more than a third want to use mobile devices to make appointments. with chronic Price. Global Technology Advisory Leader conditions used mobile apps to track their for Ernst and Young notes. helping them adhere to that allow patients access to their medical downloaded as far back as medication regimens. technology for healthcare lags access medical information. including those patients. manage medications.19 As of important drivers of mobile health 2011. Kevin percent of people in the U. control healthcare costs. physician practices.

amednews. 26. “Chicago hospital Benefits of Mobile Devices by Physicians in Preventing doctors say iPads raise their efficiency. “Use of Remote Monitoring to Improve Elsevier. 20 Forrester Research. One-Fifth Of GDP By 2021.commonwealthfund. aspx?pubid=81559&tid=131 www. 14. org/~/media/Files/Publications/Issue%20Brief/2013/ http://www. “Mobile Health 12 American Medical Association. http://www. “Everything in medicine is going mobile. mHealth offers December 3. PhD. “mHealth Mobile technology poised to Technology Survey. 2013-2017: The Commercialization of mHealth option+Curve/fulltext/-/E-RES61071 available in a variety of formats. “ Visit: goldstandard.clinicaldecisionsupport. patient smartphone-ownership-2013/ 17 HIMMS. Nov/1713_SilowCarroll_clinical_mgmt_apps_ib_v2.” Call: 866 416 6697 http://www. 2012. 18 Leaders Magazine. 2012. mobile-health-2012/ For more offers a wide variety of peer. March http://www. They all 6 Kaiser Health News. please: 2013. sites. and Magazine Interview with Mark T. and Web 7 Ernst and Young. S1525-8610%2813%2900472-6/abstract accessed via www. May 2013.pdf data.” 16 The Commonwealth Fund.” XML.” June 13. individual images and illustrations or entire com/in-2013-wealready-have-more-than-14-million. “Patient Apps for Improved Healthcare: From 22 Harris Interactive/ menuitem. jumps to 95 million adults – new research highlights 19 May 2012. November 2013. including Applications. March 12. 2011. “ Lots of Novelty to Mainstream. downloadable/download/sample/sample_id/262/ Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Clinical Solutions. 2013 Mobile Healthcare and Medical App Downloads to Reach 8 Research2Guidance interview with Florian 44 Million Next Year.healthvault. May 2012 payers alike. December 2011. 2013.” Journal of 3 Manhattan Research.pewinternet. “ Use and Perceived 13 Reuters News.” http://www. Frank cite ease of use in rapid adoption of tablet computers. illustrations.pewinternet. December 3.” reliable and proven content. All rights reserved. website_061813. 2012. “ 2nd Annual HIMSS Mobile Technology Survey. 2011.” tremendous opportunities for developers Adverse Drug Events in the Nursing Home.aspx Chief Executive Officer and President.pdf http://www. 2011.jamda. American Medical Association.php/ November 8. 2013 http://www. The information is perfectly suited for June/13/health-care-costs. 14 Eric J.himssanalytics. July including comprehensive drug Ownership 2013. http://research2guidance. MPH.” or complete databases. October 30. 2012. 1 Microsoft Health Vault. Boyce. David A.” reference materials or pieces of them. “Smartphone Providers and Patients. http://www. October 24.imshealth. “ Clinical reviewed and evidenced-based medical Press-Releases/mobile-health-95-million Management Apps: Creating Partnerships Between reference information for mobile app 4 Pew Research Internet Project. PhD.research2guidance. 2013.kaiserhealthnews. “LEADERS http://www.” bringing dramatic benefits to providers and M.forrester. Topol. m. April 18.” April. 2013. Ligons. Subashan Perera. “mHealth Mobile technology poised to 19 Juniper Research. 21 Pew Research Internet Project.762a961826aad98f53c753c71ad8c22a/?vgnextoid=e0f 913850c8b1410VgnVCM10000076192ca2RCRD 11 HIMMS. November. mobile health audience 15 International Journal of Telemedicine and Applications.c76283e8bf81e98f53c753c71ad8c22a/?vgnext Apps%20HI-HealthDay%20Poll%20for%20HI%20 oid=0b96ccb4c3402410VgnVCM10000076192ca2RCRD. 2012. Pages 906-910. Chairman.” April. clinical decision support aids. Aetna” mobile apps. current and from trusted experts. Gschwandtner.himssanalytics.amednews.WHITE PAPER: Mobile Applications and the Future of Healthcare Conclusion Healthcare mobile applications will make REFERENCES healthcare more efficient and effective.” http://www. M. In addition. Issue 12.” Outcomes in Patients with Heart Failure: A Pilot Trial. “Mobile collections. http://www.reuters. health care portals. and flat files. Elsevier Clinical Solutions | Drug Information 10 . 2012. “ 2nd Annual HIMSS Mobile education information. Rising to 142 Million in 2016. 2013. useful apps powered by 2013 (Vol. The information is 9 Research2Guidance. “Mobile Health Market Report http://www. National Library of Medicine http://manhattanresearch. Harry Hochheiser PhD.” enable a new era in health care. “ Health Care Costs To Reach Nearly aspx?pubid=81559&tid=131 include Customized packages include whole enable a new era in health care.” June 5. October 4. who can reap significant revenue by the American Medical Directors Association December us-ipad-idUSBRE82B1BQ20120312 providing timely. “U. accessed via 10 IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. the world’s leading healthcare mobile opportunities for pharma marketers. MD. Richard D.juniperresearch. and more—all 5 Ernst and Young. API calls. and selected drug information day-interview-with-floriangschwandtner-runtastic/ Healthcare’s Slow Adoption Curve.” March 4. “Doctors 2 Steven M. php?pr=275 downloads-thats-an-average-of-100000-downloads-per..D.” Americans Want Health Care Via Their Smartphone.