Healthcare Technology Featured Article

January 04, 2011

Healthcare Technology and News: Health-Related Apps Finding Greater Market Share

The global market for mobile applications in the medical space continues to flourish. In 2010, this industry accounted for $84.1 million in sales, more than double that of the previous year, according to a recent report by the research firm, Kalorama Information.

As of last September, nearly 9,000 medical-related mobile apps were available for download on Blackberry, iPhone and Android-based smartphones, MobiHealthNews reports. However, the explosive growth of this space makes it more difficult for consumers, caregivers and health practitioners to know which apps are safe and which shouldn't be trusted.

The Wall Street Journal points out that health-related applications are not certified by the medical community and could potentially be harmful.

"Anyone can develop an app and it's not just based on U.S. standards or those of the FDA or any real governing regulatory body," Joseph Kim, a physician and founder of, told the news source.

Kim recommends that patients and caregivers do an extensive amount of research on an application before downloading it. This research should include running the app past your doctor and reading reviews about it online. Trusted sites that offer this information include Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Mayo Clinic, according to the Journal. Doing your homework on a health-related application is also a good idea because they tend to cost more than other downloads (the average medical app is priced at around $15).

In an effort to take advantage of this trend, large pharmaceutical companies have started offering their own applications. Sanofi-Aventis and Novartis, two big players in the pharmaceutical space, each recently launched apps for the Android marketplace.

Novartis' "WheresFlu" app allows users to identify areas where the influenza virus is most prevalent, while Sanofi-Aventis' "Go Meals" app gives diabetes patients the ability to look up nutritional information related to their disease. Both apps are also available on iPhone and Blackberry devices.

If these two apps are successful, you will probably see more medical-related corporations launch similar offerings.

Beecher Tuttle is a HealthTechZone contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jaclyn Allard

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