The mobile medical app — also known as MMA — industry is one of the most rapidly expanding fields in the industry. There are currently 27,000 unique MMAs on the market, with 5,000 new ones launched every month.
“These apps can help reduce hospital readmissions and reduce the cost of chronic diseases,” said Rep. Chris Collins, R-NY, chairman of the House small business committee’s Subcommittee on Health and Technology. “This will be the next stage of patients taking control.”
The subcommittee held a hearing June 27, titled “Mobile Medical App Entrepreneurs: Changing the Face of Health Care.” The hearing highlighted entrepreneurs who are working toward creating and bettering existing health apps that will improve health care and data accessibility.
According to ranking member Rep. Janice Hahn, D-Calif., these MMA advances stand to dramatically improve medicine.
“It will reduce inefficiencies, confusion and disorganization that cost money and lives,” she said. “For doctors, it will put more patient data in their hands to make informed decisions more efficiently, from wherever they are.”
The subcommittee heard testimony and saw live demonstrations from four individuals; Alan Portela, CEO at Airstrip; Keith Brophy, CEO at Ideomed; Dr. Christopher Burrow, executive vice president of medical affairs at Humetrix; and Sabrina Casucci, Ph.D candidate of industrial and systems engineering at the University at Buffalo.
At Ideomed, Brophy and his team have developed a digital health management platform, which will help families treat and manage their children with asthma. Using the app on a mobile device, children can enter when they took their asthma medication and the app then alerts the parents and insurance provider.
This app has led to a distinct decline in emergency room visits for users. Ideomed held a clinical trial for this app using 26 individuals, and in the six months before the trial, the testers had 12 collective emergency room visits. During the six-month trial, that number dropped to zero.
The Blue Button app is another impressive MMA, which provides patients and caregivers with fast and reliable access to their private health records. Several federal agencies including the department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Health and Human Services have enabled their beneficiaries to use Blue Button so they can access their own personal health records.
“A comprehensive list of medicines taken, health history, previous procedures and much more can be accessed right on your mobile device,”Burrow said. “In improving the quality of health care, patient education is key and provider education is key.”
Medical errors kill 98,000 people every year, 7,000 of which are caused by medication errors. According to Hahn, these new MMA technologies are not just cool new technologies, but can save lives.
“These medical mobile apps can cut through the fog of overlapping medical instructions and prescription medication schedules,” Hahn said. “Providing reminders and helping people to stay on track with their health.”