It's hard to remember the days when a debate at dinner over a minor piece of trivia couldn't be resolved by someone quickly whipping out their smartphone and googling the answer. Welcome to 2012, when babies can't figure out magazines because they're so used to iPads. And our leaps and bounds in technology are affecting health care too as we indicated here, medical-related apps are one of the top ten trends to look out for in the medtech world in 2012. This article discusses how medical apps might be helpful for people to monitor their own health at home, including vital signs after exercise, weight, etc. And it seems that doctors are in support of this trend and also believe that these apps have the potential to reduce the number of office visits required by patients.
For medical device manufacturers, the opportunities might lie more in the physicians offices. The same article indicates that about 80% of physicians use smartphones and medical apps, with 56% of them using their mobile devices to make faster decisions. That being said, medical device and likely pharma as well manufacturers should definitely consider having information on their products mobile device-friendly, and potentially available in an app. Companies may also want to consider expanding into the home health market a bit given the potential. For example, cardiovascular companies could consider developing (or acquiring) the technology for an app that monitors heart rates, putting their brand name out in the consumer world. Then, when patients see their physician researching pacemakers by the same company on their tablet, they may end up requesting it.
Some companies have already jumped on board, with Medtronic, Boston Scientific, and Sanofi, among others, already offering medical apps.
With current smartphone technology more powerful than the computer that brought man to the moon, why not take advantage of it?