As the Ebola crisis continues, a flurry of new apps has appeared in the marketplace, some of them frighteningly amateurish and others that may actually be helpful to the medical industry. As Dr. Iltifat Husain, M.D., points out on imedicalapps.com:

“When you search for Ebola in the app store, you get 19 apps. When you search for Miley Cyrus, you get more than 10 times that number.”

Of course, that number of Ebola apps is increasing daily, although the usefulness and validity of these bandwagon apps is highly suspect. The Daily Dot reports:

“All over the country, spurred on by panic-stricken Facebook posts and overstated headlines, people are convinced the end [of] times are near. And where there's mass hysteria, there are app developers looking to capitalize on the people's panic.”

 

While most of the johnny-come-lately apps have been consumer-driven (Ebola tracking apps seem to be popular) or simply SEO driven with no actual relation to Ebola other than as a key word, there are serious efforts being made to provide high-tech mobile tools that can be used by medical professionals. But the case for developing more and better Ebola-specific mHealth apps may be best presented by InformationWeek’s Neil Polwert, who writes:

“A handful of applications already exist that allow users, aid workers, and other medical practitioners to test and share results for illnesses such as HIV, malaria, and flu using only a smartphone. Why are such technologies not being used to test and track Ebola? Geo-referenced, real-time maps of infected patients could be key to tracking and controlling the spread of the virus.”  

He further concludes:

“Unless action is taken imminently, the time for proving the strength and ability of mHealth applications in a global crisis will have passed.”