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Nowadays, many health and fitness applications (apps) can be downloaded from app stores, changing the way people manage their health and chronic diseases. This paper reflects on 7 years of experience in mobile health and fitness app development.
It analyzes the uptake of a health and fitness app, my Fitness Companion, by the health care industry and end-users dealing with chronic disease management. The use of my Fitness Companion is analyzed from an end-user perspective.
The app is available via Google Play since February 2011 and the research presented is based on data collected from 5500+users over a period of 7 months. The paper also discusses how m Health apps could be distributed in the near future, as well as, the use of Personal Health Record (PHR) systems such as Microsoft Health Vault, and the impact of regulations on the future of Health apps.
Mobile Health apps, hereafter referred to as Health apps are health and fitness related applications running on mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. An increasing number of people use mobile apps to monitor their health or fitness and gradually they are being used for prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
These apps can be personalized and tailored to the user’s condition and can be used in the comfort of their home, office, or even on the move. They are a step towards ubiquitous healthcare, i.e. access to healthcare anywhere, anytime, thereby allowing chronic disease patients to self-manage their condition using mobile devices and wireless sensors.
The mHealth application market is booming, and will continue to grow substantially over the next few years, according to a study conducted by Frost & Sullivan in 2011. The growing availability of health and fitness apps and increasing number of people using smart phones and tablets encourages the healthcare industry to exploit the possibilities offered by health and fitness apps.
According to the Global Mobile Health Market Report 2010–2015, more than a third of the 1.4 billion smart-phone users will use some kind of mobile healthcare application in 2015. At the time of writing (December 2012), thousands of health and fitness apps are available for down-load on Google Play. Of those, 396 Apps use some sort of sensor (e.g. weight scale, blood pressure monitor, accel-erometer, GPS) to collect or derive physiological data.
An app can be downloaded for free or a few dollars that helps the user losing weight, monitor their blood pressure or guide the user in their workout exercises. People from more than 190 countries download apps every day and a total of 10 billion downloads have been recorded up to December 2011.
Such apps usually are abit complex to develop yourself. It’s better to outsource it and run it as a business.