Apple iPhone 3.0: New Possibilities for Health & Wellness Apps

by | Mar 17, 2009

appl3Today, Apple introduced its latest OS for the iPhone, V3.0.  This new version is a tremendous upgrade from the previous version and will allow Apple, we believe, to continue to dominate the mobile App market.  The website gdgt live has been providing great live coverage of the event today and encourage you to go there for a deeper dive.

Some quick notes scraped from their coverage:

  • 13.7M iPhones in market today,
  • 800K downloads of SDK for developers of iPhone apps,
  • 24K apps now available in App Store (BTW, there are now over 1,000 dedicated to medicine, health & wellness),
  • 800M (yes, that’s million) app downloads to date,
  • Today, the iPhone 3G is available in 80 countries,
  • New, iPhone 3.0 OS has over 1,000 APIs for developers to create new, more dynamic apps.

Anyone who frequents this site knows that we are Very Big Fans of all things mHealth.  Why?  It is our firm belief that the only way we will truly restructure the healthcare sector will be through a bottom’s up restructuring process that is driven by consumers.

The big challenge though has always been, how do we get consumers engaged?

That is where mHealth comes in.

Health and wellness does not occur while one is sitting in front of a computer screen.  No, it occurs while walking down the street and trying to decide which restaurant has a menu that best matches our dietary requirements, which we have defined in advance.  It occurs while exercising and wishing to know if we met our work-out goals.  It occurs when we show up at a doctor’s office and wish to share aspects of our health record with a physician.  Health and wellness is mobile, should not the way we manage such be just as mobile?

The iPhone today is today at an mHealth 1.0 stage.  The majority of apps are simplistic and far from the true potential of what is possible.  Today, as part of its new 3.0 launch, Apple, along with selected partners, made some pretty cool announcements, primary among them, the admission by an Apple executive that they see much potential in the mHealth arena.


One key announcement is the release of over 1,000 APIs (application programming interfaces) that developers can use to build new apps.  For example, one of those APIs is for maps, which opens up the native iPhone map app that Apple built with Google.  In releasing that mapping app, as an API, developers can now build new, interesting apps with embedded mapping functionality.  One can envision new apps that for example might help one find a doctor meeting certain criteria and giving clear directions to their offices native inside the app. Locating gyms and spas with specific facilities and how to get to their location from where you are currently is another example.

Another capability is “Push”, which is now built-in to the 3.0 OS.  Push is a popular function that allows an application on a server to automatically “push” information to a mobile app without the need to actually invoke the application on the mobile.  In the healthcare market, such functionality is vital to provide a consumer, or even a doctor, dynamic updates, such as alerts, notifications, etc.


On the demo side of things, Johnson & Johnson’s LifeScan division, demonstrated a new iPhone app they built for diabetes patients.  Looks like a very cool app that mashes-up a number of iPhone APIs to deliver the consumer a very powerful application/utility that includes glucose readings ala bluetooth, track n’trend charting of readings, a “meal builder” to create meals that are reflective of your current insulin values and intake needs. The best live reporting of the LifeScan demo comes from Endgadget – start at time-stamp 10:45am

Now imagine extending what the LifeScan division has done here to other chronic diseases – could these new tools/apps available on a mobile platform actually result in higher compliance and subsequently lower healthcare costs?  Based on what I reviewed from those reporting live from the event, it certainly appears that apps like the one from LifeScan will lead to a new and deeper level of consumer engagement in health and wellness.  And that engagement is just what we will need if we truly wish to have healthcare reform that sticks.


  1. Chris Hall

    Great write-up John. I’m really excited about the possibilities as well. 🙂


  2. SpagMSPH

    John, we are so excited about the possibilities of health and wellness applications for the iPhone. The founders of iTriage are committed to empowering healthcare consumers with actionable information. iTriage uses a symptom based methodology to allow non-clinical consumers to determine a possible cause for symptoms and how to access the appropriate level of medical care. iTriage enables users to find emergency departments, urgent care clinics, retail clinics and pharmacies by using a location based service(LBS). To further the education of healthcare consumers iTriage users can obtain HealthGrades quality reports on facilities and physicians delivered right to their iPhones 24/7, even from their examination room in the emergency department. Through a partnership with TelaDoc iTriage users can talk directly to physicians 24/7 for advice and medical treatment. Finally patients at personal risk for $500 or more of their medical bill can reduce their bill by taking advantage of iTriage’s bill negotiation services in partnership with Coalition America. I encourage you to check out our website at:



  1. ICMCC Website - Articles » Blog Archive » Apple iPhone 3.0: New Possibilities for Health & Wellness Apps - [...] great live coverage of the event today and encourage you to go there for a deeper dive.” Article John…
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