We may be contributing to the worldwide market for mHealth and not even know it.
Millions of us have used our phones to make grocery lists, try out calorie-tracking apps or even measure heart rates. According to an infographic by AlliedHealthWorld.com, mobile health (or mHealth) is becoming the most popular method for consumers to find information right at their fingertips. The graphic found that there are currently over 500 mobile health projects around the world and over 40,000 health-related apps.
These apps may include anything from MyFitnessPal, a program that tracks your calories and physical activity levels or the Period Tracker, which follows a woman's menstrual cycle.
According to a study by Global Data, the global eHealth market, which was once worth about $1.2 billion in 2011, will jump in value to almost $11.8 billion by 2018. This growth rate is an almost 39 per cent increase.
Story continues below: ALSO: The best health apps in Canada from the CBC:
A free tool to help people lose weight by counting calories and tracking physical activity levels. "Research demonstrates that those who record their food intake will achieve greater weight loss than those who don't, so I highly recommend this to all my clients. For those high-tech users, apps are fantastic option," says Jodi Robinson, a registered dietitian and fitness specialist in Toronto.
"It's free, it helps you to count and budget calories, plan meals, factor in exercise, and lose weight at a safe, sustainable pace," says CBC medical specialist Dr. Karl Kabasele.
Another app to track nutrients, MyNetDiary is free, but also offers a $3.99 upgrade, though that isn't necessary, says registered dietitian Rosie Schwartz. The Toronto-based expert emphasized monitoring food intake — the food, time and amount after you eat. Taking steps to record your food consumption can help limit it, Schwartz advised.
This Canadian site has an app for the iPhone and iPad that tells you how much sodium is in foods and tracks your consumption. CBC medical columnist Dr. Peter Lin says it's valuable for people with high blood pressure. Apps can help people to reach their food and fitness goals, but the key is to make a plan and stick to it, says registered dietitian Zannat Reza. Reza suggests My Heart and Stroke Health app for people who want to find out about their risk for heart disease and get heart-healthy recipes that are lower in sodium.
A tool to track heart rate, distance, pace and calories burned during exercise.
But don't expect your phone to track any infections. Sure, our first instinct for any health issue is to Google our problems, but experts say seeing a health professional face-to-face is the safest option.
"In this exciting world of health care where technology rules, one thing is for sure, technology will never replace the doctor and patient relationship. Face-to-face communication with health care providers will always be paramount," says writer and Huffington Post blogger Barbara Ficarra.
She argues that apps should be created as trustworthy medical resources and consumers should have more guidance when choosing apps — especially when there are thousands to choose from.
Do you use any health apps on your smartphone? Let us know in the comments below:
LOOK: Check out the full infographic below:
Courtesy of: Allied Health World