Almost a year after Apple launched the iPhone, they added a medical category to their App Store for health care professionals. Surprisingly, the category was added in November of 2008 because of a medical student’s request. The medical student wanted a separate medical category that was different than the current Health & Fitness category – where all the medical apps were being thrown into at the time. Eighty-two applications were then ported over to the medical category from the Health & Fitness category.
It’s been about two years since the Android Marketplace has really taken off – technically the Marketplace launched in late 2008, but really took off in early 2009. Even though it’s been about two years since the launch of Android apps – it appears Google has no intention to differentiate their “Health” category to help the increasing number of health care professionals who are purchasing Android devices find strictly medical applications.
Currently, if you look at the categories in the Android Marketplace, you’ll see 22 – they even have a “Card and Casino” section. The apps mentioned on Google’s official page obviously are just highlighted ones – there are significantly more – and Google surprisingly has no official method to go through all the apps in the Android Marketplace via your computer. But even if you look at AndroLib and Android Zoom, considered the authoritative online catalogs for every android app in the ecosystem, you won’t find a medical category.
Of course, one of the beauties of Android is it’s open source – and often gives the impression that Google has a hands off approach to the Android Marketplace – but it would be nice for Google to be a bit more proactive, especially with a rising number of medical professionals using Android phones.
Lets be clear about Apple’s medical category though, there are issues that plague it’s utility. Namely, applications wrongly being placed in the medical section. We wrote about this extensively before, but even with these faults, it’s significantly easier than having to go through the vast health and fitness sections of the App store.
We’ve gotten multiple e-mails from medical professionals who use Android phones and have difficulty parsing through the vast “Health” section to look for medical reference or medical education apps. So, on their behalf, we ask Google, please consider making a medical category for the apps in your Marketplace.