Top 10 iPhone medical apps for 2011

By Chris Gullo
12:39 pm

skeletal proAs the end of 2011 approaches, online marketplaces are publishing the usual flurry of year-end lists compiled from the best 2011 had to offer. Apple is no exception. Its recently launched its annual "App Store Rewind 2011" section in iTunes. The lists include Apple's picks for the year's best overall games and apps for iOS devices: the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Ten of the apps listed below are for the iPhone (also iPod touch) while others listed were developed specifically for the iPad.

Apple's picks include both consumer and professional health apps: "Browse our favorite apps from this year in all 21 categories," Apple wrote in its brief description leading up to the lists of top five apps for each of the App Store's categories, including its Medical and its Health & Fitness categories.

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MobiHealthNews can only speculate on the criteria that Apple used to determine its "favorites" -- total downloads cannot be the only factor, since many apps we know to have millions of downloads didn't make the cut, while other apps with far fewer downloads did.

Apple's medical app picks include a few that received FDA clearances this year, apps from closely-watched startups that had high profile launches, apps that enjoyed top billing on Apple's continually updated top app lists, and more. Surprisingly, two apps that made the list were developed by the same medical software company.

No surprise that FDA cleared apps made the list: Arguably, FDA regulation of mobile medical apps was the big issue of 2011. The agency's clearance practices had been notoriously opaque for companies wishing to get their smartphone-enabled medical peripherals and apps cleared. In response, the FDA offered up a set of draft guidelines this past summer that propose how the agency might regulate certain mobile medical apps.

While the conversation around mobile medical apps grew louder and the discussion itself matured -- at least a little bit -- adoption appeared to be fairly flat.

In its most recent survey conducted in August, Pew Research found that health app adoption has stagnated: about 11 percent of all adult cell phone users having downloaded an app that helps them manage their health. While that is a slight increase over last year’s number, Pew characterized it as “a statistically insignificant difference.” App adoption, therefore, has been largely stagnant over the past 12 months. Still, MobiHealthNews found in its 2011 apps reports that based on growth trends, the number of apps available has grown and will likely continue to do so: Consumer health apps for the iOS platform will likely number more than 13,000 by the summer of 2012, while 6,000 professional medical apps will likely be available by then.

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Read on to see Apple's choices in both the Health & Fitness and Medical categories (some app's iPad and iPhone versions were both chosen as top picks), along with the app's description, price, and more.

Health & Fitness

iMuscleiMuscle (iPhone/iPad) - $1.99/$4.99

"iMuscle is a sophisticated workout aid that can be taken anywhere. Use it to identify a body part or individual muscle by zooming into a 3-Dimensional human body with the musculature exposed. Then access all the exercises associated with the development / rehabilitation of that muscle. All of the anatomical modeling, labeling and descriptions are medically correct making this an ideal app for physiotherapists."


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