If your hospital doesn't already offer a smartphone application, you're probably thinking about creating one. If you're not, you should be.
The number of health apps already available is staggering. There were 17,288 health and fitness apps and 14,558 medical apps on the market in mid-2012, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
And they are spreading. According to Washington, D.C.-based eHealth Initiative, the number of smartphone apps increased 120% during the past year. All these apps are just keeping up with demand, since an estimated 27 million mobile phone users worldwide downloaded a health app in 2012, according to research firm Research2Guidance.
Things are changing fast. The FDA is currently moving to craft a framework to regulate and approve mobile health apps. In July 2012, the organization issued a draft guidance document for Mobile Medical Applications as part of its effort to "help clarify the types of mobile apps to which the FDA intends to apply its authority."
Much of the FDA's guidance will likely be focused on more clinical apps, such as blood glucose monitors and apps containing radiological images, but its move toward regulation only further proves that health and healthcare apps are here to stay.