Even if you haven’t heard the exact term mHealth, chances are you would have used an app to monitor your health condition for yourself or someone else at least once in your life. Everyone would have used something that falls under this category, knowingly or unknowingly. They might use an app to track and monitor their blood sugar levels, or they might check the app for their health system to check the results of the blood tests their doctor ordered. These are all representations of mobile health or mHealth.
It goes without saying that over the past ten or so years, smartphone use and popularity have skyrocketed. Mobile health applications are being used to enhance the way healthcare is delivered because so many individuals are almost always connected via these devices. Both mHealth applications and patients' expectations of them are expected to keep expanding. One study, for instance, indicated that patients are 70% more likely to select a practitioner who sends follow-up reminders through email or text than one who doesn't.
Is healthcare poised to see a similar change to other sectors like retail and banking that have experienced significant shifts as a result of leveraging the power of mobile technology? We'll examine what mHealth is specifically in this post and how it currently fits into the healthcare environment.
What is mHealth?
The practice of medicine and healthcare using mobile devices is known as mHealth. These mobile gadgets can include smartphones, tablets, laptops, specially designed medical equipment, and personal digital assistants that use mobile technology. Mhealth, which Robert Istepanian first defined as the application of "emerging mobile communications and network technologies for healthcare," is seen as a subsegment of the greater e-health market.
mHealth standardizes access to healthcare tracking and lessens doctors' reliance on patient data collecting and health monitoring. The strain on the healthcare system is decreased as a result of Mhealth's involvement in educating people about preventative healthcare, supporting treatments, and maintaining disease surveillance.
According to Extrapolate, mHealth was valued at USD 35.2 Bn in 2021. The market is anticipated to reach USD 293.2 Bn in 2030, recording a robust CAGR of 22.3% in the projection period. Additionally, according to a survey, there were over 318,000 mobile health apps available in app stores as of 2017, and more were being added on a regular basis. It's clear that a lot of work is being put into developing mobile health apps within this market, even though obviously not every single one of these apps will be of excellent quality. These apps can be divided mostly into two groups:
- Apps for managing one's nutrition, way of living, and exercise routines.
- Apps for managing health conditions include diabetes, heart conditions, women's health conditions, and prescription reminders.
Redefining Healthcare with mHealth
- Tracking Patient Details
Patients can use logical apps provided by Mhealth to keep track of their daily progress, prescriptions, activities, and vital signs like heart rate. This incorporates the patients in the healthcare process and guarantees that the patient data is carefully tracked throughout time and is easily accessible to the doctor during the appointment. Regular patient monitoring can help with chronic diseases by raising the alert for emergencies before they happen and by making the patient more responsible for treatment, drug, and exercise adherence.
- Accurate Data
Patient data is not centralized in the majority of the world's developing nations, making it difficult to access it via the cloud. Mhealth eliminates this barrier by keeping track of patient care, medical history, and other crucial information on an app that healthcare professionals can access whenever necessary, including in an emergency. Additionally, doctors and other healthcare professionals use tablets with healthcare apps to take notes, write prescriptions, and deliver consultations over the phone with extremely accurate data.
- Advent of Telemedicine
Even if it is preliminary, one-on-one consultations are widely relied upon in traditional healthcare systems to provide healthcare recommendations. However, since the epidemic, healthcare organizations and institutions all around the world are reevaluating this entire procedure. When it comes to handling emergencies, certain healthcare systems are overloaded, but others are not. Physicians cannot take the chance of calling in patients with comorbid diseases who are prone to infections or who need prenatal care in places where infections are common.
The use of mHealth apps in telemedicine enables medical professionals to expand consultations remotely through video chats and the sharing of encrypted documents. To balance the cognitive burden, telemedicine also enables doctors from less contaminated areas to offer targeted consultations to patients from highly infected areas as well as general medical advice. Additionally, infected and isolated medical professionals can still conduct consultations online using telemedicine enabled by mHealth.
- Medical Care that Fits the Pocket
Patients can save money by using mHealth, which allows them to get the greatest point-of-source medical care regardless of where they are in the world. Additionally, the patient saves money by traveling to the clinic less frequently because the majority of basic healthcare issues are resolved over the air via mHealth apps. This can be extremely helpful in less developed areas where the prices involved deter people from getting medical care. Hospitals and healthcare facilities can manage with fewer workers, which will aid in cost reduction.
How Key Companies Play a Role in mHealth?
The mHealth industry, often known as mobile health, is populated by a large number of businesses. Some of these businesses are:
Apple Inc.: Through its HealthKit and ResearchKit platforms, which let developers make healthcare apps, this corporation is participating in mHealth.
Google Inc.: Through its Google Fit platform, which enables users to keep track of their wellness and fitness objectives, Google is active in mHealth.
Omada Health: Omada Health offers digital health solutions to aid in the management and prevention of chronic illnesses.
Livongo Health: Livongo Health offers a digital health platform that offers coaching and support to people with chronic illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.
AliveCor: AliveCor has created a mobile electrocardiogram (ECG) tool that enables users to keep tabs on their heart health using their smartphones.
The cutting-edge approach to healthcare, known as mHealth, may soon catch up in nations where it hasn't already. These mobile health applications can increase access to high-quality healthcare, facilitate the acquisition and use of health information by healthcare systems and clinicians, and enhance patient care in general.