According to the World Economic Forum the number of devices connected to the Internet is growing exponentially from 5 billion in 2009 to 15 billion in 2015, and then to 50 billion in 2020.
In the US, a lot of the growth in devices connected to the Internet is in smartphones – 55% of Americans have a smartphone, and that number is expected to grow to 74% by 2016.
As smartphone use increases, healthcare is using smartphones as a medical tool to monitor health. Due to increasing computing power and decreasing cost of sensors, Mobile Health (mHealth) is enabling individuals to take their health into their own hands, as I discussed at the mHealth Summit 2012.
Deborah Estrin at the April 2013 TEDMED conference in Washington DC, examined the comprehensive power of mobile apps to improve overall health. Estrin argued that tracking the small data generated through our daily use of digital devices and applications, can provide insights into the the health of an individual. This data generated on smartphones, “digital breadcrumbs,” can be used to improve overall health-not just specific areas of health as targeted by the companies explored in my presentation of Mobile Health.
Who is using these mHealth apps, broken down by age, gender and other factors is shown below:
Although these numbers show that only 46% of mHealth users are women, as a “misfit” who is less than 5 feet tall, I wonder how the “digital breadcrumbs” and personal data generated by the mHealth apps will be used to improve women’s health? What do you think?