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Mobile Health (mHealth) is Taking Over the Healthcare Industry

Mobile Health (mHealth) is Taking Over the Healthcare Industry

Jason Collier - 10th Aug 2018 [updated 12th Aug 2019] - Mobile Health

Mobile health is a general term for the use of mobile phones and other wireless technology in healthcare. The most common application of mobile health has historically been the use of mobile phones to educate consumers about preventive healthcare services. However, mobile health has recently been used more extensively for chronic disease management, for remote monitoring of patients and for remote diagnoses. It is especially applicable in developing countries, where access to primary healthcare services is often limited.

Mobile health has been making major waves in the healthcare industry since the start of the new millennium and is showing no signs of slowing down. This is largely thanks to the improvements that have taken place in information and communications technology (ICT), especially in the booming smartphone industry. According to the latest results from Statista, more than 60% of the world’s population now has a mobile phone! This is a key factor driving the growth in mobile health.

In 2018, the global mobile health market was said to be worth of 28 billion dollars! The willingness of companies to invest in mobile health can be pinned down to the numerous healthcare benefits that mobile health has to offer. One such benefit is the ability for healthcare professionals to remotely monitor a patient’s condition. This becomes especially important in the management of chronic diseases like diabetes, for example. In this case, the diabetic patient can rest easy knowing that there is a team of healthcare professionals out there constantly monitoring his or her glucose levels and alerting the diabetic patient in the case of anomalies.

Another attraction for investment is the way in which mobile health promotes a healthy lifestyle. There has been a notable spike in the use of mobile health in wearable healthcare technology, like fitness trackers. Fitness trackers help you monitor exercise, sleep, heart rate and other factors relating to a healthy lifestyle. All of these factors are recorded and displayed to the user in a way which helps them improve their health. Here are some of the major applications of mHealth.


Self-Mangement Support

A perfect example of the ability of mHealth to aid in self-management is diabetes. The prevalence of diabetes is expected to increase by 55% by the year 2035 worldwide. Diabetes is a silent killer which has become a worldwide epidemic. However, diabetes is a disease which can be maintained through good self-management practices. These self-management practices can be facilitated by mobile health tools.

One such example is the mySugr app. When paired with the Accu-Chek® Guide meter, the mySugr app will automatically synchronise with the data on the meter. This app helps keep your diabetes under control. With one app you’ll have a blood sugar tracker, carb logger, bolus calculator (EU only) and your estimated HbA1c, all at a glance! It also makes detailed reports that can be sent to your doctor for analysis, saving you a trip.

This app was featured as one of the 5 best diabetes monitoring apps for good reason!

MySugr App & Accu-Chek® Combination

Source: MySugr


Clinical Decision Support

Mobile health apps for clinical decision support can help clinicians make better and quicker decisions about ordering diagnostic and lab tests. MDCalc is an example of a clinical decision support app. It offers clinical decision support, created exclusively by board-certified physicians, for use by physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and medical students. MDCalc was featured as one of the 10 Best Mobile Health Apps.

Clinical decision support apps can be used to improve physician efficiency and patient outcomes. Another example is the Concussion or Brain Bleed app, developed by Yale and the Mayo Clinic, which helps providers and patients collaborate on decisions in the emergency department. An app such as this may be able to reduce the delivery time – and costs – of unnecessary CT scans for minor head injuries. Clinical decision support apps are also often applied to the monitoring of patients with heart disease.

MDCalc

Source: MDCalc


Remote Diagnosis and Monitoring

Mobile heallth can help people who do not have access to healthcare facilities through remote diagnosis and monitoring. For example, according to hearX, 1 in 7 people have hearing problems and about 10% of the population have mild or great hearing loss. Many people with hearing problems don’t have access to basic healthcare facilities. HearX has developed an affordable and time efficient mobile health based solution to this problem with the hearScreen app. It improves access to hearing-related healthcare, so that more people have access to detection, allowing for timeous interventions to take place. The fact that this can all happen remotely, thanks to mobile health, makes it even better!

hearX

Source: hearX


Fitness and Activity Tracking

When it comes to mobile health technologies, fitness trackers are by far the most well-known, having become extremely popular in recent years. Fitness trackers track many activities of daily living - be that walking, running, sleeping, grocery shopping, kettle bell swinging, or cycling. The lines that separate a fitness tracker from a GPS running watch or a smart watch are becoming blurrier by the day, with all three types able to record activities, record sleep patterns and receive push notifications as examples.

No single watch can be the best in all three categories. When it comes to fitness tracking, there is none better than the Garmin fēnix® 5X Plus. What makes this watch even better is the well-designed app which goes with it, Garmin Connect. This watch is GPS enabled to track outdoor activities, it tracks stress levels and it functions as a smart watch! All the data which it records can be monitored through the nifty Connect app.

Garmin fēnix® 5X Plus

Source: Garmin


Vital Sign Monitoring

A perfect example of an all-inclusive vital sign monitor is the B.O.L.T One (B.O.L.T stands for Body Organ Life Tracker). It is a wireless health monitor that measures blood pressure, oxygen saturation, pulse, body temperature, blood sugar, Blood Cholesterol and Total Haemoglobin Count. This is all done with help of single-channel ECG Monitor. B.O.L.T can also track your lung condition with help of spirometer.

B.O.L.T helps you to keep track of your vitals using a handy mobile app. The app allows you to send your measurements to healthcare professionals and loved ones on the go. B.O.L.T is arguably the future of home-based healthcare! This is why it was rated as one of the 10 best Mobile Health apps.

B.O.L.T. One

Source: AMI BOLT


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Jason Collier

I am a current masters student at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. I recently completed my Bachelor of Engineering in Mechatronics, but decided to follow my passion for Healthcare Technology and further my studies with a Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering. I started HealthTechHub.net to use as a platform to discuss the latest developments in the Health Tech & Digital Health fields!