Major Rise in Fitness and Wellness App Usage

Top hospitals are beginning to incorporate statistics from wearable and mobile health tracking apps into patient's medical data.

The health care industry changes rapidly as it integrates new technology that is used in both households and medical facilities. People with careers in nursing may see this first hand as patients turn to health and wellness apps to track their eating habits, vital statistics and exercise. A new study by Parks Associates found that more than 40 million U.S. residents with a smartphone actively use a fitness or wellness application.

The survey
The results were compiled by studying broadband usage and found that the head of the household in one fourth of the homes involved used a mobile app to track their calorie intake or fitness habits. The research predicts that the usage of mobile devices for fitness and wellness tracking will increase triple-fold by 2018. Jennifer Kent, the director of research quality and innovation and the study author suggests that mobile companies create text-messaging programs around weight management, prescription authentication and health. 

Mobile apps and their effect on the health care system
In November 2014, Forbes contributor Zina Moukheiber asked a sample of 20,000 doctors if their patients talked with them about including data from their wearable fitness trackers or health apps in their health records. Of the 353 primary care physicians and doctors who replied, 15 percent said their patients had asked about incorporating the data. 

Although those numbers were low, some companies in the health care industry are using HealthKit, Apple's application programming interface that allows the various health and wellness apps cluttering up your phone to talk with one another. Athena Health, a cloud-based business service company that provides billing and electronic health record services, and Cerner, a health care information technology company both include HealthKit statistics on their patient medical records.

The new app consolidates the information and, according to Reuters, is showing promise in major U.S. hospitals. Of the 23 top hospitals Reuters contacted, 14 said they are are in talks to start or are already working with a HealthKit pilot program. The common usage of the Apple app is to retain data about the patients heart rate, weight and blood pressure. 

The International Data Corporation estimates by 2018, around 65 percent of consumer transactions with health care organizations will be mobile and 70 percent of health care organizations will use remote health monitoring, wearables, and consumer-facing mobile applications.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers online RN to BSN, BSN to MSN, and RN to MSN degree programs to working nurses who already have a current RN license. To find out more, please visit www.wgu.edu/wisecareers_nursing

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