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“Digital technologies are the new medicine.”

Digital technologies are the new medicine, as doctors and physicians turn to health apps and services to improve health outcomes.

We flagged the rise of DIY HEALTH* last year but increasingly, with over 13,000 health apps in the Apple app store it’s not a case now of finding an app, but finding the BEST one, and – given that this is a health issue – one that is accurate and safe.

So in 2013, expect consumers to turn to the medical profession and medical institutions to certify and curate these products, with doctors also 'prescribing' them, much as they prescribe medicines, as part of a course of treatment. And for health providers, these digital ‘medicines’ promise to reduce costs by making consumers more aware of their health, improve compliance, and allow remote monitoring that can pick up warning signals earlier.

Even if you’re not in the health industry, and think APPSCRIPTIONS isn’t relevant for you, we bet that an hour spent considering the bigger underlying trend – towards mobile driven service delivery – could yield some profitable new insights.  

* DIY HEALTH was about consumers using tech to track, manage, monitor and improve their health. Usually in an informal and self-imposed way.

mRX: App store for healthcare professionals

Happtique (a subsidiary of the Greater New York Hospital Association) is a healthcare app store developed by and for healthcare professionals. In August 2012 Happtique launched a pilot program for an electronic prescription app mRx, which enables medical practitioners to prescribe certified apps to patients, and then track which patients have downloaded prescribed apps and send reminders to those whose apps aren’t downloaded.

Antibiotics Reminder app

In June 2012 the Australian government funded National Prescribing Service launched Antibiotics Reminder. The free smartphone app lets patients set reminders for their prescribed medication, track when they have taken it, and keep a recovery diary to monitor their progress. The app aims to help users take their antibiotics correctly, and so get the best results from their medicine.

Proteus Digital Health: FDA approval for ingestible medicine compliance tracking sensor

In July 2012, the Food & Drug Administration in the US granted Proteus Digital Health pre-market clearance for their ingestible sensor that can monitor whether a patient is taking their medicine. The sensor is activated (and powered) by stomach fluid, and the patient’s physiological data is output to an accompanying smartphone app, that will alert them if a medicine isn’t taken as scheduled.