Mobile Health Technology Defined
Mobile health, usually shortened to the snappier-sounding “mHealth”, technology has been defined by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) as “the delivery of healthcare services via mobile communication devices”. This technology is used to support a wide range of tasks in such a way as to improve the quality of healthcare delivery.
mHealth in the 21st Century
Between the years 2015 and 2018, there has been a sharp rise in the number of health apps available for download. The mHealth sector is a hotbed of activity and industry experts predict that the market will reach an impressive global value of $60 billion by the year 2020. The primary factor driving the global mHealth market is the proliferation of internet access through smartphones.
How Do Medical Professionals Use Mobile Technology?
Skycure estimate that 80% of doctors employ mobile devices on a daily basis. Furthermore, a eClinicalWorks survey reveals that 93% of medical professionals believe that mobile health apps help boost the health outcomes of patients. Healthcare professionals make use mHealth technology in a variety of ways, including but not limited to information management, health record maintenance, clinical decision-making, patient monitoring, and ongoing education and training. Some specific examples of mHealth use cases include:
- Public health education campaigns
- Emergency response systems & health epidemic surveillance
- Chronic disease management
- Remote patient monitoring
- Community mobilisation programmes
How Do Consumers Use mHealth Technologies?
Consumers are showing a strong interest in health technologies. In fact, 60% of people have downloaded a wellness or mHealth app. For many, the internet is their first port of call when seeking health-related information. People also use this technology to track certain aspects of their own health (e.g. nutrition, menstrual cycles, fitness). Mobile technology also allows users to easily connect with trained medical professionals for advice and information. Many users are also downloading apps that send them real-time reminders to take their medication.
How Does mHealth Support A Better Healthcare System?
Increased adoption of mHealth technologies could potentially help to free up valuable resources, space and time within healthcare facilities. It will also help to digitise existing healthcare systems, and this will improve efficiency by facilitating greater connectivity between professionals working in the sector. It will also allow for improved patient monitoring and better patient-doctor communications. Furthermore, increasing digitisation will also have an environmental aspect as it will cut down on the use of paper.
mHealth in the Developing World
Mobile health technology is proving to be particularly transformative in developing nations. According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), over 70% of the world’s five billion wireless subscribers reside in low and middle-income countries. The ubiquity of smartphones presents the opportunity to improve health outcomes among inhabitants of remote and poorly-resourced regions who may otherwise struggle to access medical information or care. mHealth technology could offer a relatively low-cost way to support a wide range of healthcare functions in such regions.
Discover More About mHealth
If you are curious to learn more about how mobile health devices are changing the healthcare sector for the better in the 21st century, then you should certainly take a look at the infographic below which comes courtesy of the team at Home Healthcare Adaptations. This helpful guide looks at the rise of mHealth and also lays out some of the benefits and challenges associated with this technology.