The recent adoption and use of smartphones by both consumers and providers of health care are the focus of this timely report by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn. The uptake of this technology is rapid; two-thirds of physicians and 42% of the public used smartphones as of late 2009, despite the recession that began a year earlier.
What is it about the smartphone that makes it so attractive to consumers and providers of healthcare? Unlike any other HIT platform, the smartphone is basically an inexpensive handheld computer that enables users to accomplish tasks anywhere, anytime. It is so intuitive and user-friendly that most people can download and use the many available applications, also called apps, without any training or special knowledge about computers.
The creation of applications related to health and health care is also moving quickly. As of February 2010, there were nearly 6,000 such apps within the Apple AppStore. Of these, 73% were intended for use by consumer or patient end-users, while 27% were targeted to health care professionals.
Apps geared to physicians include alerts, medical reference tools, diagnostic tools, continuing medical education, and patient records programs. Consumer-oriented apps include those for medication compliance, mobile and home monitoring, home care, managing conditions, and wellness/fitness.
There are challenges to continued rapid smartphone growth, including business model and privacy issues and Sarasohn-Kahn talks about this in her article. Go here to download a free copy of the article.