The digital health market will witness an exponential growth in the next years, as the use of wearable tech and health apps continue to increase.
But how can health apps such as fitness apps, mental wellness apps, medical apps, and other health trends in digital health, impact patient treatment?
As we continue to see rapid advances in mobile health applications, providers have been investing heavily in developing devices and software that allows users to track and store data about their body and lifestyle. Here are some examples of health app types and tracking features that are available today.
Fitness app features
- Tracking heart rate and sleep cycles
- Counting steps and calorie expenditure
- Tracking and monitoring workouts and daily movements
- Customized diet plans, exercise recommendations and training assistance
- Push notifications and reminders to help users reach their goals
Mental wellness app features
- Online mental health consulting
- Activities to improve mental wellness such as guided meditations, mindfulness practices and online yoga sessions
- Daily reminders with positive messages
- Easy access to educational content about mental wellness: videos, webinars, forums etc.
- Daily activity logs and progress trackers
Medical app features
- Telemedicine and telehealth
- Patient-centered health tracking and monitoring
- Asynchronous communication between healthcare providers and patients
- Electronic health records
- Medical education and trainings
How can these type of health apps impact patient treatment?
According to Statista 2022, the use of health apps and fitness apps have been growing exponentially since the start of COVID-19. Moreover, Grand View Research Market Analysis report that “The global fitness app market size was valued at USD 1.1 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.6% from 2022 to 2030”.
In addition to that, as with most health trends, there are both upsides and downsides connected to the widespread use of health apps.
Some of the benefits that health apps induce are:
- Fitness apps: Gives users and their healthcare providers access to data and information about their bodies and lifestyle that otherwise would be impossible, which may help improve healthcare delivery and better health management.
- Mental wellness apps: Easier and faster access to health information, healthcare providers and medical consultations, thus enhancing patient treatment.
- Medical apps: May have a significant impact on reduction in healthcare costs by improving the efficiency and speed of healthcare delivery. Moreover, the use of apps can help prevent certain illnesses or result in the earlier detection of diseases.
Some of the concerns about the widespread use of health apps are:
- Quality control: According to IQVIA digital health trends report 2021, there were more than 350,000 digital health apps available on the digital health market in 2021. With the quick development and so many application options, it becomes increasingly difficult for consumers to identify which ones meet quality standards and provides accurate data, reliable health information and regulated healthcare services.
- Incorrect self-diagnosis: Without medical training and an overload of information, users may not be able to identify misinformation, follow damaging health advice, or interpretant data incorrectly. This can lead to incorrect self-diagnosis or harmful self-medication, not seeking professional health care when needed, or causing unnecessary worries for patients.
- Data security: With all this information collected and stored digitally, there are also concerns about data security and the protection of personal information and medical records.
If you are interested, you can read more about ´Healthcare misinformation and reliable media sources´ in our M3 Blog.
M3 Pulse results from April 2022: the impact of health apps on patient treatment
To find out what physicians and other healthcare professionals think of health apps, M3 Global Research asked over 5,900 M3 Panel Members if they believe that the information provided by apps is beneficial or not when consulting their patients and providing patient treatment.
We asked our global M3 Panel Members this question in our monthly M3 Pulse survey in April 2022:
As a healthcare professional, do you think this data enhances patient histories?
- 44% of the respondents think that the data provided by health apps can be beneficial, but they are concerned about the possibility of attempted self-diagnosis.
- 39% believe that wearable technologies and health apps can be beneficial as they may highlight otherwise undiagnosed issues that could have significant consequences.
- 8% think that wearable technologies and health apps can cause issues, as users are not medically trained.
- 5% are neutral.
In conclusion, what do you think, can health apps and digital health, in general, help us improve patient care? Share your comments below or sign up as an M3 Panel Member to participate in similar surveys on health trends with M3 Global Research.
If you want to read more about health apps and apps for medical professionals, check out these blog posts about top medical apps and health trends for doctors: