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The potential of mHealth apps -- in stats

BOSTON — Adam Landman, M.D., chief medical information officer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, is convinced of the potential of mHealth apps. He’s also in favor of establishing strong data security protocols and for vendors and healthcare providers to vet apps for patient safety — whether the FDA intervenes or not.

That was his introduction to a panel at the mHealth + Telehealth World 2014 conference he moderated. In setting up the panel discussion, he offered some startling facts from recent market research that put the importance of safety and security in perspective:

  • 80% of the world’s population have a mobile phone; 20% of them are smartphones.
  • In the U.S., saturation has reached 85%, with 50% of them being smartphones.
  • Furthermore, more than 25% of U.S. patients have a tablet.
  • In the Apple App Store, there are 44,000 apps classified as “health” related.
  • A recent study determined that 20,000 of them are actually mis-typed and not health-related.
  • Of the remaining 24,000 apps, roughly two-thirds of them or 16,000 are for patients, and the remaining 8,000 are for healthcare practitioners and other provider employees.

The device saturation numbers came from a 2012 Pew Research Center study, and he expects more current numbers to indicate even deeper adoption of smartphones and tablets. “There’s no other healthcare device or healthcare initiative [other than the phone] that reaches that many people,” Landman said.

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