Report: Number of medical apps will grow 25 percent each year

Matt Pitchford | Contributor

The number of smartphone medical applications is expected to grow steadily over the next five years.

According to market research firm Kalorama Information, the market for mobile medical apps was about $150 million in 2011, accounting for less than two percent of the overall market for smartphone apps.

That number, however, is projected to grow 25 percent annually over the next half-decade.

Current medical apps include training programs, medical sourcebooks, sports medicine protections and even the Red Cross’ official first aid app. Apps are also available for medical professionals, many of whom are using them to perform some of the work previously done at their desk or on a computer.

Earlier this month, Congress approved a bill allowing the FDA to regulate mobile medical apps, prompting skepticism from some industry observers.

The field has been marked by rapid strides in innovation and results.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center, for example, announced in a June 18 press release that it created an app that can track the number of people washing their hands. Using the app, the center was able to track how well its campaign to increase hand hygiene was working. The number of people washing their hands climbed from 58 percent to 91 percent over the course of the campaign.

By coupling the mobile app’s reminders with “observations” by other staff, the process of keeping hands clean became “much more efficient and accurate,” said Associate Vanderbilt University Hospital Director Nancye Feistritzer.

Considering this is an app for washing your hands, just imagine what will happen when the Angry Birds folks break into the medical app market.

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