The Future of Mobile Health: Apps or HTML5?

Mobile health, or mHealth as buzzword lovers say, has always been a topic of conversation. Health has always been mobile in some respects. Lately, however, attention to it has swelled. With mobile applications for iOS and Android taking off, it’s no wonder attention to mHealth has also taken off.

Everyday, more and more healthcare applications enter iTunes or Android Market. Startups and hospitals and digital agencies are scrambling to get the hottest mobile health apps off the ground. Well, maybe not many hospitals…but I digress 😉

So it’s understandable that the future of mobile health heavily includes applications. After all, mobile devices offer geolocation; accelerometer action; convenience; speedy retrieval and rendering; social connectivity; and multitasking.

Interestingly, HTML5 offers geolocation and accelerometer action, in addition to a bunch of new (and long needed) elements. Developers could build HTML5 sites that could run as well as applications (under some circumstances).

HTML5 is currently under development, but elements of the language can already be used on mobile devices. To be sure, local applications will run, retrieve and render faster (for now). But as mobile internet access improves, I think we’ll see wider adoption of HTML5 as a viable alternative to applications.

My sense is that applications will be mostly disposable interfaces to transient solutions. In that sense, demand for being able to easily, affordably and universally upgrade products will rise.

As HTML5 matures and web developers get more comfortable using it, I suspect we’ll see a transition back towards cloud-based functions.

For Healthcare organizations and providers, budgetary concerns in the face of rapidly-evolving technological conditions just might make HTML5 an important part of mobile Health.


Leave a Reply