The holiday season is officially upon us, or so said both of my daughters after they saw Santa Claus conclude the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone – not unnoticed by the average American consumer if recently released retail figures are any indication. The economy seems on the verge of a slight upswing, if our holiday spending this early in the season is any indication.
How does healthcare fit into all this? Two holiday headlines recently caught my eye. The first, “Apple Breaks Black Friday Record,” notes that iPad sales “surged 68%” that particular day, breaking the company’s own purported predictions that it would achieve Black Friday sales four times higher than normal. The second, “Mobile Healthcare and Medical App Downloads to Reach 44 Million Next Year, Rising to 142 Million in 2016,” makes the prediction that “[a]cceptance of new healthcare practices like remote patient monitoring will come directly from consumers becoming engaged in mHealth through the smartphone.”
Forty-four million medical app downloads next year might not be such a high number to reach when you take Apple’s record one-day iPad sales into consideration. Physicians and healthcare consumers alike seem to not only be jumping onto the tablet bandwagon, but gearing up to race it to the finish line as well.
So now that we’ve established the healthcare connection, what’s all this got to do with EMRs? Will these predictions and likely outcomes coincide with an upswing in mobile EMR app development? As of yesterday, 60 apps popped up when I searched for “EMR” apps for the iPad in the iTunes store. Forty-seven results came up for “EHR,” many of them the same. I’ll be interested to see what this number is six months and then a year from now.
As this blog has well documented for some time now, healthcare’s love affair with the iPad was a slow burn at first, but has now become fast and furious. I can only imagine that EMR developers will take their relationships with the iPad to the next level in record time just to meet customer demand. While I won’t necessarily be waiting with baited breath for Practice Fusion’s launch next year of its iPad app, I will definitely check it out while at HIMSS, where I assume they’ll give it a Vegas-style launch.
I’d love to hear from physicians as to how inundated the market is likely to become with these types of technologies. And aside from EMR/EHR apps, will mobile health downloads really take off as predicted? Share your own predictions in the comments below.
Full Disclosure: Practice Fusion is an advertiser on this site, but they didn’t pay Jennifer to mention their iPad app. In fact, I’m not even sure if Jennifer knows they’re an advertiser.