The mobile healthcare market is heating up in N.J., with several companies turning their attention to addressing it and the mHealthcon conference coming to Rutgers Dec. 1. Mobile health encompasses devices and software applications ranging from electronic health records and physician order entry to patient check-in/check-out, drug delivery and e-prescribing.
It’s no surprise that N.J. companies are going after this market, as the state has a robust life sciences/healthcare business core. Further, the market for these mobile apps is predicted to be strong despite the economy. Various sources believe 30 percent of smartphone users will access a mobile health app by 2015. Technavio (London) forecasts the global mobile health app market reaching $4.1 billion by 2014. A key factor contributing to this increase is worldwide growth of remote patient monitoring, the firm says.
According to Yuva Raj, head of ZSL’s R & D division IDEA Lab (Edison), who presented at the Top Ten Technology Trends meeting sponsored by NJTC last week, “Smartphone applications will become the killer applications for mobile health solutions.” Raj has put together some best practices for mobile healthcare applications aimed at medical professionals. First among them is that an app should reduce manual errors and increase employee productivity and efficiency. Patient-oriented apps should increase accuracy of compliance and both consumer and healthcare provider satisfaction. Automating manual processes should reduce labor costs, Raj said. Most important, health apps should ensure the security and privacy of access to critical data.
Last year ZSL won the NJTC award for mobile innovation, for a wound care app that automates the way caregivers track wounds as they heal, but the company offers many other mobile healthcare apps, including a consumer-facing eye checkup app and a prescription app for doctors. AbbaDox, a mobile app that ZSL developed for one of its ISVs, fulfills the medical community’s need to sign patient records and documents on the go.
ZSL is not the only N.J. firm addressing the mobile healthcare market. At the NJTC Cool Products competition, Lingraphica America Inc. (Princeton) won an award for an FDA-approved tablet product that helps those with aphasia. And NJTechWeekly.com recently reported on collaboration between Neptune-based Meridian Health System Inc. and T-Mobile USA Inc. (Bellevue, Wash.) on a sleep-related mobile device that transmits info to a smartphone using Near Field Communication technology.
In October Madison-based Quest Diagnostics Inc. introduced Gazelle, a mobile app that lets patients view and manage their health information on BlackBerry devices and Apple iPhones. Android devices were scheduled to follow. Quest said that in 33 states, users have direct access to their diagnostic lab results through the mobile app.
In September AmeriHealth New Jersey (Cranbury) said it had launched its mobile website, making it easy for users to find healthcare providers and view their health records and personal information. MTBC (Somerset) won awards for iRx, a prescription application for the Apple iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The product lets healthcare providers review a patient’s chart and current medications, and transfer prescriptions to a pharmacy. WellApps, an Upper Saddle River startup, has a mobile symptom tracker for gastrointestinal disorders called GI Monitor.