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Mobile Health Apps and the Demand for Personalized Care (Part 1 of 3)

Posted on June 10, 2014 by Anne Snowdon

This February, my colleagues and I at the International Centre for Health Innovation at the Ivey Business School at Western University released the report “It’s All About Me: The Personalization of Health Systems.” The report describes the emerging consumer-driven demand for a more personalized health system, and the steps health systems must take to meet this fundamental shift. Unprecedented access to health information and revolutionary medical discoveries are working together to generate this grassroots demand for personalized healthcare, and it is fascinating to me to see the role mobile health applications (health apps) are playing in this shift.

There is no question that the rapid evolution of the mobile application market has become one of the most influential drivers of personalization of healthcare for consumers. There are currently more than 97,000 mobile health applications listed on 62 fully catalogued app stores worldwide1 and it is predicted that by 2016, 142 million health apps will have been downloaded.2 The rapid growth in the popularity of health apps offers new insight into ways consumers access and control their healthcare, leveraging apps to create healthcare services and communities that are personalized to their needs. Imagine a person looking to get active, using their phone or tablet to find a program that will train them to run 5 km. Now imagine that same person, using a different app to track themselves every time they run to see the improvements in their speed and distance over time, building up their endurance to run a half or full marathon and improving their health in the process. These are ways individuals are already leveraging apps to take control of their health needs. How are you using mobile apps to manage your health?

1 Ralf-Gordon Jahns. “The market for mHealth app services will reach $26 billion by 2017,” research2guidance, last modified March 7 2013, accessed October 20, 2013, http://www.research2guidance.com/the-market-for-mhealth-app-services-will-reach-26-billion-by-2017/

2 “Mobile healthcare opportunities,” iHealthBeat, last modified December 1, 2011, accessed October 14, 2013, http://www.ihealthbeat.org/articles/2011/12/1/44m-mobile-health-apps-will-be-downloaded-in-2012-report-predicts

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Anne Snowdon blog75Dr. Anne Snowdon

Dr. Anne Snowdon has dedicated much of her career to producing research and advancing innovation that will improve the health and well being of Canadians. As Academic Chair of the International Centre for Health Innovation at Western University's Ivey Business School, Dr. Snowdon leads the Centre's work to drive health system sustainability and productivity. She is a professor at Western University's Ivey Business School and Faculty of Health Sciences, and is cross-appointed to the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and the Faculty of Engineering.

Dr. Snowdon has published more than 70 research articles and received over $7 million in research grants. She holds a PhD in Nursing from the University of Michigan. She is a Fulbright Scholar and was awarded the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship for her doctoral research.

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