The above graph by Foxepractice shows a sample of the weekly activity on Twitter for #mHealth and related hashtags.
While #mhealth or mobile health is taking the world by storm, Happtique, a mobile application store developed specifically for healthcare professionals, aims to make sense of it all. Happtique, Healthcare-APP-bouTIQUE, provides a growing app catalog of what it calls “hApps” or healthcare applications.
The store prides itself on its curation since it was developed by healthcare professionals for healthcare professionals. In other app stores, searches are limited to “medical” or “health,” generating hundreds of generalized pages of apps. Apple recently attempted to develop its own App Store for Healthcare Professionals, but many believe it to be disappointingly curated. Unlike iTunes, Happtique is platform agnostic and more specific in categorizing health and medical apps by topic and target user.
Happtique assigns each hApp to at least one major audience (e.g., physician, nurse, pharmacist, etc.) and at least one broad topic (e.g., heart/cardiovascular). Each hApp is also “tagged” for more precise audiences (e.g., specific medical, nursing, dental specialties, etc.) and topics (specific cancers, diabetes, asthma, etc.). Keywords are extracted from the description provided by the app developers.
According to a Health Research Institute report, 63% of physicians using mobile health solutions are not connecting to their practice or hospital IT systems. Happtique Brand Manager Susan Zhu says, “It’s important for healthcare entities to have a plan in place to deploy and manage mobile apps.” One solution is for healthcare organizations to have their own private app store.
With Happtique, the IT team can deploy apps, monitor app usage, define a log-in policy for each custom app, remotely wipe or lock an individual app (if the device is lost or if an employee changes jobs), and protect apps with a security wrapper. “Each organization can cull and curate the apps that they want staff to have access to. Custom-designed apps can be distributed to the appropriate end users without having to make them available on the public market. Furthermore, since our platform is device and platform agnostic, Happtique eliminates the dilemma of whether to provide medical staff with corporate devices or allow them to use their personal devices at work,” according to Zhu.
Healthcare professionals using apps will also start seeing targeted advertising via a new mobile ad platform, Tomorrow Networks. “With Tomorrow Networks, an ad for diabetes treatment can be shown to a physician using a glucose measuring application while treating a diabetes patient.” says Sanjay Pingle, president of Physicians Interactive Holdings, a partner in the venture with Remedy Systems. The community for the platform is said to be over 275,000 healthcare professionals.
While there are other mobile app ad networks, like Apple’s iAd and Google’s Admob, they do not offer the specific targeting available via Tomorrow Networks. “That type of ‘needle in a haystack’ targeting is unheard of today in the mHealth space,” according to Pingle.
Healthcare professionals looking for news on apps can follow the #mHealth hashtag on Twitter as well as subscribe to the feed of iMedicalApps.com. iMedicalApps provides reviews and commentary written by physicians and medical students based on their own experiences with mobile medical technology and applications in hospital and clinic settings. Apps can be searched by device, app type and medical specialty.
Finally, Scrubd.in offers a family physician’s point of view for healthcare professionals by Dr. Thuc Huynh aka @thuc on Twitter. In addition to medical app uses (i.e., CME, EMRs, calculators, drugs, etc.) Scrubd.in offers searching for apps by price.
If you enjoyed this guest post, look for more “mHealth” news by Angela Dunn, aka blogbrevity, for HL7standards.com on the third Thursday of every month. Angela Dunn is a consultant in social business innovation and a writer/analyst in healthcare technology and social media. You can also follow Angela Dunn on Google+.