The terminology ‘mHealth’ has been a buzzword for some time now. Referred to the practice of using mobile devices in the medical field, mHealth has lately emerged as a major sub-segment of eHealth. It is a broad term and is inclusive of tools such as FitBit trackers, telemedicine applications, and remote patient monitoring sensors. mHealth has proved to be exceptionally helpful for physicians, given that it reduced patient trips to the ER by allowing healthcare providers to monitor patients through these latest advancements.
mHealth offers a multitude of benefits that is rapidly changing the perception of medical care. There has already been a considerable spate of advancements in healthcare, paving the path for the use of smart phones and similar technological tools. Amid a rapidly aging population and the demand for sophisticated health tools, mHealth is gaining prominence as a groundbreaking technology.
Mobile health offers innumerable capabilities with varied apps, sensors, devices, and software programs that help to maintain electronic records, ensure patient data capture, target chronic conditions, telemedicine and remote monitoring, as well as e-prescriptions. Digital monitoring via mobile applications makes it easier for patients and physicians to engage with each other. MHealth devices help doctors monitor patients without the necessity for them to come in for visits. Wearables and similar devices allow patients to monitor their own health as well.
Some of the generic advantages of mHealth devices are summarized below:
Mobile devices help physicians record patient data very easily, with minimal errors. This means they will have consistent access to patient information that’ll make it easier to diagnose new/existing conditions, prescribe medication, and treat them accordingly.
Data misplacement will be a long-forgotten problem with mhealth as healthcare service providers will have complete control over patient data. mHealth replaces traditional modes of data storage such as files and folders. Although cyberattacks remain a concern, with proper security protocols in place, mHealth interoperability can commendably improve healthcare service as well as patient satisfaction.
With smart devices and software, doctors and nurses can be harness accurate information without errors. Automation helps mhealth devices run periodic checks on prescriptions and decisions without manual interference. This has consequently reduced prescription-based errors in healthcare. Mobile devices have also been able to recognize the causes and symptoms of infectious diseases faster than earlier.
Mobile devices have majorly eliminated geographical boundaries. If one cannot find a suitable doctor within their area, they can enlist the help of mHealth apps and simplify the communication processes between patients and physicians. MHealth is also enabling better patient-doctor relationships and sharing consulting services. Doctors from various corners of the world can now communicate seamlessly with patients, and give them solutions to their problems without travelling hassles.
· According to HIMSS, over 50% of smartphone users use these devices to gather information pertaining to health, online.
· An article by Mobihealthnews says that 71% of patients feel it would be helpful if their physician had access to their health data
· Fortune Business Insights claims that in 2018, the global mHealth market size was valued at USD 34.28 billion. The revenue may cross USD 293.29 billion by 2026, at an anticipated CAGR of 29.1% over the projected duration.
· According to Pew Research, 68% of Americans owned a tablet and nine out of 10 people owned a smartphone in 2015. That number has considerably increased as on today.
· GWI states that almost 48% of digital consumers prefer having the latest technological products in hand.
· Health IT Outcomes states that the global mHealth revenue will hit USD 49.12 billion by 2020.
· It also claims that in a survey, around 40% of physicians believe that mHealth applications could significantly cut down physical visits to the clinic.
· As per Skycure, 80% of surveyed physicians deploy their mobile phones to help in their day-to-day practice.
Teams from the University of North Carolina and the Stanford University have recently developed a mHealth wearable – a 3D-printed vaccine patch that will mitigate the requirement for needles. However, it works 10 to 50 times better than the existing delivery method.
UCLA, Apple, and Biogen have recently joined hands for a program, which tracks data from mHealth devices such as smartphones and smartwatches so as to identify early signs of cognitive decline.
The Mount Sinai Health System has recently introduced a new mHealth app with an aim to better patient-provider communication, create a centralized platform for patient requirements, and improve patient data access. Mount Sinai’s existing portal will transfer to the new app, thereby enabling patients to book appointments, pay bills, request for prescription refills, have consistent access to health records and lab results, and attend video visits with their healthcare providers.
In April 2021, the University of Washington and Microsoft developed a mHealth platform that can record vital signs using the smartphone or laptop camera. The technology used here analyzes the video of a user’s face and deploys AI to translate the light reflected off the skin into pulse and respiration rate. Something of this caliber could help medical providers during a remote patient monitoring program or similar situation.
Medscape is an online app filled with numerous medical articles, snippets from medical journals, latest healthcare news, MEDLINE database, and information on drugs. It is targeted to help physicians and professionals in the medical field. This mHealth app also helps patients to be well-prepared for any unexpected situation.
DrawMD is more of an initiative to enhance medical education and awareness among patients using visuals, application-oriented samples, typing, etc. It focuses on explaining medical conditions, procedures, and the human body to the layman. It is also inclusive of treatment plans and medicines that helps patients understand the medical world with illustrated visuals.
The Doctor on Demand mHealth app has simplified the communication lines between doctors and patients. One has to get an appointment and meet the doctor to explain their medical condition. The doctors present on the app are qualified enough to prescribe medications. The app basically aims to offer an array of medical services to patients. It also includes urgent care issues, prompt medical advice, screening, lab tests, preventive medicine, and prescriptions.
Medici enables convenient communication among doctors and patients. It offers text and video chats when patients want a consultation with the doctor. It also helps patients liaison with their preferred doctors instead of online hospitals – this makes it a trusted app as patients can interact with a medical practioner that they know and trust.
MeMD is one of the best platforms that enable you to get in touch with physicians, physician assistants, nurses, and other medical personnel. It offers medical consultations and prescriptions for patients. It also offers help to locate pharmacies nearby, 24/7 access, and video consultations.
It is one of the most well-known mHealth apps that make it easy for patients to get in touch with their physicians. It does not include a video consultation, but a platform that where patients can explain their problems to doctors. The platform offers complete privacy. The medical information provided is 100% secure and there are no chances of data breach. Not just patients, but even doctors can get in touch with their colleagues simultaneously while at the same time while discussing the case with patients.
· Simple, intuitive experience
· Easy way to communicate with service providers
· Flexibility in working hours (for healthcare professionals)
· Flexible scheduling
· Convenience to stay connected with other medical personnel
· Ability to have instant access to patient information
· Easy way to coordinate with patients for follow-ups
· Enabling remote patient monitoring
· Deploying voice-enabled technology for communication
In a nutshell, it would be fair to conclude that mHealth has a major role in transforming the future of healthcare. As more and more doctors and patients begin to use mHealth apps and companies and major establishments come up with sophisticated mHealth devices and research programs, mobile health technologies will bring about a revolution in the field of medicine in the years ahead.