"Digital health" has become a key element in the technology industry, from startups modest approach 'applications to the most important companies in the sector seeking to find ways to address the fundamental problems of health and wellness.
Applications that measure heart rate, blood pressure, glucose and other body functions are multiplied, while Google, Apple and Samsung have launched platforms that facilitate the integration of medical and health services.
"We have reached a point where the sensors, either on the phone or wearables can collect information that we could not do in the past without going to a medical center," says Gerry Purdy, an predictor at Compass Intelligence.
"You can make the heart rate, mobile electrocardiograms (ECGs). Costs are falling, and these sensors are becoming more socially acceptable."
The consultant Rock Health estimated 143 digital health companies raised $ 2.3 billion in the first six months of 2014, already surpassing last year's amount.
An analysis by global consulting firm Deloitte suggests that smart glasses, fitness bands and watches, must sell about 10 million units in 2014, generating over $ 3 billion and the number of devices will reach 170 million in 2017.
"Many of the technologies of health-related fitness and have multiple applications and encourage users to become more involved in their own fitness, help modify reminding users to exercise or take medications, behavior" Deloitte Karen Taylor said in a July report.
- Patients taking control -
The implementation of California MD Revolution has created a system for adaptation of a practice of concierge medicine, which allows participants to track a number of health indicators through mobile or portable devices.
The company uses equipment and other fitness tracking to address "the imminently preventable conditions like diabetes or hypertension," says spokeswoman Lisa Peterson.
"We are creating a new specialty in digital health in which people can interact with nutritionists, exercise physiologists and to receive a coaching plan, to prevent or reverse long-lasting diseases," he told AFP.
Peterson said the company using existing commercial devices from manufacturers like Fitbit or Jawbone and plans to launch its own application to users.
He noted that the implementation of health platforms from Google and Apple "will be easier for us to integrate more devices and applications."
Recent studies suggest that people who use connected devices to monitor the health and fitness tend to do a better job of managing and preventing health problems.
A study conducted by the Center for Connected Health found that people who use mobile devices have done a better job in reducing blood pressure levels and blood sugar dangerous.
Another study published in the July 2014 edition of the journal Health Affairs found that the data collected by the devices is not only useful for patients, but can help doctors find better actions.
Some companies have even more ambitious plans for health technology.
Google, for example, is developing a contract lens connection that can help diabetics control and has launched a new company called Calico to focus on health and wellness, referring to cooperation with rivals like Apple. And IBM is using its supercomputer Watson for medical purposes, including finding the right treatment for cancer.
- Better care, bye office? -
Joseph Kvedar, MD, founder and director of the nonprofit Boston-based Connected Health, said that mobile technology has the potential to keep people involved in their own care, and reduce the load on the system health care."That's not because they care visits is a bad thing, but you should think carefully as a continuous function and mobile technology lets you do this in a way that could never do before."
Kvedar said some health platforms that require patients to load the data had a mixed record but the mobile is growing because "people are addicted to their smartphones."
Physicians should not fear this technology, he said, because patients who use it often get healthier.