Fitness apps have gripped the nation and you would be hard-pressed to find a smartphone user who hasn’t heard of or downloaded one. But medical apps–ones that can help a patient pinpoint symptoms, recognize dangerous bodily behaviors, or even diagnose–are of much greater concern to physicians around the country. Though they could be a tremendous tool for things like identifying signs of a stroke, it will be difficult to get them out of production phase due to compliance with FDA regulations, says Dr. Kurian Thott, in a recent article published at IT World. There is also the issue of differing medical opinions from various physicians (there’s usually one that cannot even agree on whether or not you should use a certain mouthwash).

What would mass production of medical apps mean for healthcare marketing? Well, the possibilities are virtually endless. These apps could be consumer-facing or physician-facing, both of which would present unique marketing opportunities for pharmaceutical companies, as well as medical device producers. Physicians and hospitals could benefit from mobile marketing to consumers while also maintaining credible information for patients to utilize. For instance, how often should Joe Smith take his heart medication? His app could tell him his prescription information and alert him when it is time to take it. It might also help Joe keep tabs on the current state of his heart. Patients who have recently undergone surgery or therapeutic treatment could also use it to track recovery.

The opportunity for data capture and analysis is also particularly exciting since patients would be sharing their demographic information as well as medical procedures and/or plans, therefore giving marketers an idea about general healthcare issues/needs and how to better meet these needs.