Do smartphone apps have a role to play in healthcare?

Smartphones and tablet computers are transforming millions of people’s lives for one major reason – the astonishing growth in cheap, often free, software applications, or apps as they have come to be known. At the beginning of 2013, Apple announced that its customers have downloaded more than 40billion apps, with more than 20bn in 2012 alone. Its developer community has created more than 775,000 apps and this has generated revenues of $7bn.

One market area growing as fast as any is perhaps the most important – healthcare. ABI Research estimates that the market for mobile healthcare apps will be worth $400million by 2016, while the market research company Research2Guidance claims 247m mobile phone users downloaded a health related app in 2012.

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