Mobile health applications are allowing patients to increase engagement with their personal wellness throughout the United States. However, the growth is not just restricted to the US, mobile health applications are growing in the UK and they are doing so quickly. In the UK alone, the mobile health services market is projected to be worth £27 billion by 2020. With the number of patients suffering from long term illnesses increasing and the pressure on the NHS mounting, mHealth apps are fast becoming a norm.
From the NHS’s annual budget of £113bn, 70% is allocated to care for long term illnesses. Healthcare as a whole has been slow to take advantage of the benefits mHealth apps provide, however, with growing pressure on the NHS and waiting times increasing it looks as though patients are now opting for mobile applications like never before. Mobile health applications are not restricted to just the patient, the benefits to health care professionals is vital to treat and diagnose conditions at an early stage. The data patients store can be used by physicians to assess a patient’s health between appointments.
Government plans are to take care away from hospitals and bring more care into the community; mHealth apps are solving part of this plan. Not only are mHealth apps focused on cost cutting, the quality of care can be further improved by empowering patients to take control of their own health. The difficulties faced by mobile application developers are not only distinguishing themselves from an already crowded consumer app market, but the need for constant regulation to ensure the safety of patients. Both the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and NHS England have overall oversight for the regulation of mobile apps within the UK, the guidelines and levels of monitoring are far from being clearly defined.
As the number of mobile health apps increase in the UK, patients are becoming more engaged. The rise in the use of mobile health applications is not just restricted to patients; physicians are seeing the vast benefits these applications provide. With a rising number of patients suffering from long terms illnesses and the pressure mounting on the NHS, mobile health applications will grow not only in the UK but worldwide.