Apple leads in “mHealth” ahead of Android, also what is mHealth?

There’s good news afoot, and some of it is about what we’re doing with our feet, on our feet, moving around with those feet and exercising the other parts of our body, and that’s leading to a growth in a new area called “mHealth.”

For those who have never heard of the term, you can thank the practice of shortening words to make them sound more modern, as “mHealth” translates into “mobile health,” as it is the industry’s way of saying how communication devices like the phone and tablet intersect with the health industry.

Frankly, we’re just thankful it’s not a reimagining of Hanson’s “Mmmbop” with smartphones and stethoscopes. That would just be weird.

In any case, “mHealth” is the new part of technology many in technology expect to grow in leaps and bounds, and since we all have smartphones, and some of us have tablets, and some of us again want to get fit, we can do so with the help of these gadgets.

This week, stats from Roy Morgan have come in to show that Apple owners lead the way when it comes to exercising, with almost one in five Apple owners going to the gym regularly. Just under 5000 Aussies were asked (4736), with 19.3 percent of the Apple owners heading off to the gym, compared to 16.8 percent of Android owners.

That’s not a huge difference, mind you, and according to the stats, iOS customers walk more while Android owners ride their bike more often.

So why is this information important?

Roy Morgan's stats

As smartphones become even smarter, or more technologically empowered (because a phone isn’t technically “smart,” but rather includes advanced technology compared to a basic phone), they will capture more information and help you out as you work.

Look at smart bands, as an example, with Fitbit, Jawbone, Sony, LG, and numerous others employing sensor-based technologies to help you track statistics of your movements, exercises, and even sleeping patterns. All of this information contributes to mobile health (mHealth), with more gadgets being used to track our lives beyond just seeing how we text, take photos, and surf the web.

“Judging by the higher proportion of users with iPhones who regularly participate in personal fitness activities, it would seem Apple may have the potential edge when it comes to connecting to health-conscious consumer,” said Roy Morgan’s Tim Martin.

But that might not be the be-all end-all, especially as health monitoring starts to really take off, with more players entering the wearable companion field this year. Because of that, manufacturers are eyeing technologies and platforms that will help track more information.

“Apple’s ‘Health Kit’ and Android’s ‘Google Fit’ operating system improvements will herald new apps that can collect and analyse smartphone users’ health information,” said Martin, adding that “it is conceivable that quite soon our phones will be diagnosing latent health problems we don’t even know we have.”

Give it time and that could be possible, with science fiction’s idea of being able to see sickness coming brought to the surface thanks to modern technology. Until then, it’ll just be the regular fitness schtick that will be tracked.

Over time, you might see doctors and hospitals start to accept this information, with mobile health (there’s that “mHealth” thing again) helping to provide a complete picture of your life to people who need it, and who will be analysing what you do in order to make you better.

When the National Broadband Network was on track, there was a likelihood that we’d see the proper birth and use of modern tele-health shortly after more homes in Australia received it, with modern technologies such as 3D tracking and depth sensors employed to help doctors analyse their patients living hundreds of kilometres away.

While the NBN isn’t in the best health itself at the moment, the idea for modern technologies to understand and analyse what we’re up to is still one that sticks around, and with more people heading to the gym and doing exercise, and those same people updating smartphones to the latest and greatest with tracking abilities thrown into other compatible gadgets, it’s likely that this flow of information won’t stop, at least not any time soon.

Get used to the term “mHealth,” people, because it’s likely to stick around.