Mobile health, or mHealth, is a general term for the use of mobile phones and other wireless technologies in healthcare. mHealth is actively used to inform patients about preventive medical services, monitor patients’ conditions, control and treat chronic diseases, and track epidemic outbreaks.
Today people don’t have lots of time to visit hospitals and clinics, wait their turn to see a doctor and wait for a diagnosis. Mobile health frees patients from the bureaucratic and time-consuming part of accessing medical care. In general, progressive telecommunication technologies are allowing us to move from reactive to proactive healthcare.
Reactive healthcare is about responding to an adverse condition or symptom. For example, if you have a fever, you might go to the doctor. Depending on the diagnosis, the doctor will prescribe a treatment. You and the doctor both react to the symptoms of the disease.
In proactive healthcare, action is taken before symptoms appear. For example, you might strengthen your immune system with vitamins, a healthy lifestyle, quality sleep, and nutrition. You do not wait for symptoms of disease but rather take action so as not to get sick.
Let’s take a closer look at mobile health and consider its possibilities, ideas, advantages, and disadvantages, as well as prospects it offers for our future.
What is preventive (preventative) healthcare?
Preventative health measures help prevent disease and increase life expectancy. They involve medical intervention before a disease progresses through such methods as medical consultations, regular scheduled medical examinations, immunizations, and screenings.
Preventative healthcare solutions help reduce the incidence and prevalence of non-communicable diseases, delay their onset, and slow their progression.
- 80% of strokes are preventable
- Between 30-50% of all cancer cases are preventable
- Prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are largely preventable by making lifestyle changes
What is mHealth and how does it differ from telehealth?
Many people confuse telemedicine with mHealth. While mHealth is part of telehealth, it has its own characteristics. So what is the difference between telemedicine and mHealth?
Telemedicine refers to all cases of providing medical services using modern technologies. On the other hand, mHealth is the use of mobile and wireless technologies to support the achievement of health goals. Mobile health includes outpatient medical services and self-care using mobile technologies. In other words, mHealth encompasses the consumer-facing technology and devices that enable users to track their own health data.
mHealth allows for the minimization of direct patient–doctor interactions. Users of mHealth apps can take care of themselves autonomously and allow healthcare organizations to monitor their condition remotely.
Both patients and healthcare providers can quickly and effectively prevent diseases thanks to instant mHealth information.
mHealth has already deeply penetrated our lives, especially in the field of healthcare. Users of mHealth applications are seeking to change their health habits with the help of mobile technologies. Today, unlocking the potential of preventative health measures based on the collection of mobile data is the key to winning the competition in the field of healthcare. Whoever does this will be able to provide their users with the best quality of medical services. If this is part of your plans, we’re ready to assist you from the technical side as your partner in developing an mHealth application. Get in Touch.
How mHealth solutions can support disease prevention and management
Since disease prevention has so far yielded insufficient results, it is hoped that the development of mobile technologies will stimulate preventative healthcare solutions. As people increasingly connect their lives with electronic devices, mobile medical solutions can effectively support medical practitioners in providing preventive patient care.
The concept of mHealth integrates mobile communications, wearable devices, and technologies to collect and monitor health-related data and physiological signals. Patients use mobile health solutions to track their vital signs, set up health-related alerts and reminders, get nutrition and fitness advice, and remember to take their medications. In the long term, mHealth applications allow users to record health habits over time and identify patterns and risk behaviors, making mHealth highly useful for preventing chronic conditions.
By offering more affordable and accessible healthcare, technology is expected to transform centralized, reactive healthcare into personalized, proactive, and patient-centered healthcare. This makes it especially promising for developing countries: through the implementation of cross-border m Health solutions, countries can radically improve the efficiency and sustainability of their health systems by reaching the most underserved regions and populations.
- There are more than 350,000 mHealth applications available in major app stores. The number of such applications has doubled since 2015 due to the widespread adoption of smartphones and large investments in the digital health market.
- 74% of patients say that using wearables and other mHealth tools helps them improve their health.
- 47% of all mobile health apps focus on managing specific health conditions (for example, chronic diseases or mental health)
The potential for mHealth applications is constantly growing around the world. According to a Booz & Company report, medical staff benefit as much from mHealth applications as patients themselves. Medical staff sees these solutions as essential for increasing their productivity as well as the quality and convenience of healthcare services. mHealth has proven its effectiveness for both patients and medical staff. Using mHealth apps saves healthcare workers from cumbersome and time-consuming hospital rounds, allowing them to spend more time actually treating patients rather than organizing the treatment process.
Two-thirds of the largest US hospitals offer mobile medical app development. Patient-centric applications can better align functionality with patient needs.
But those are not all the benefits of mHealth. Today, mHealth is revealing many new ways to optimize remote care. For example, SMS alert campaigns to change patient behavior can be more personalized than mass media advertising.
mHealth: Pros & Cons
While mHealth seems to be full of positives, there are actually some negatives as well. Let’s look at both to better understand mHealth’s possibilities for your business.
- Helps people in rural areas
- Reduces cancellations and no-shows
- Сovers more people
- Reduces costs
- Easy follow-up
- Saves time
- Lots of options
- Reduces the spread of illness
- Receptive consumers
- Accessible to many people
- Relies on internet
- Requires technology devices
- Generational differences
- Limits assessment
- Geographical barriers
- Developing lots of unreliable mhealth apps
- A large percentage of elderly people cannot access mHealth apps
Of course, this is not a complete list of the advantages and disadvantages of mHealth. But downsides of existing products present opportunities. For example, consider the poor quality of many mHealth apps. This is in fact an opportunity to create a relevant, convenient, high-quality application loved by many users. But to do this, you need a reliable technology partner with experience developing healthcare software. Would you like to discuss this in detail? Get in touch with our experts.
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Common mobile health applications
Mobile health applications are powerful tools that allow users to care for their health preventively. The value of mHealth solutions is still being explored. But even today, the massive potential of this technology is undeniable. Let’s take a look at common preventative healthcare solutions.
Remote health monitoring
Remote health monitoring technology monitors and manages a patient’s health outside of a medical facility. Monitoring devices collect key health metrics such as heart rate, blood pressure, sugar and insulin levels, ECG data, sleep quality, and sleep duration, then send this data to a healthcare facility, allowing medical professionals to manage patients’ health remotely.
Diagnostic and treatment support
Diagnostic and treatment support technologies provide a preliminary assessment of the state of a patient’s health so doctors can make a diagnosis. This greatly facilitates the provision of medical care to people living in remote regions. These mHealth solutions help doctors provide emergency medical consultations in urgent cases.
Disease and epidemic tracking
Together with diagnostic devices, mobile applications can collect data from multiple sources to detect and help contain the spread of diseases.
The fight against the Covid-19 pandemic immediately comes to mind. But even before Covid-19, solutions for mobile devices had been used to contain bird flu, tuberculosis, malaria, and Ebola.
Mobile health apps help patients keep track of their medications, receive reminders to stay on schedule, and refill prescriptions. This is a critical feature for elderly people, those with chronic diseases, and people with disabilities that limit their mobility.
Medication management mHealth solutions help healthcare providers improve treatment adherence and mitigate the effects of missed doses or dose confusion.
The widespread adoption of mHealth makes many people want to anticipate the trends that will emerge among developers of mobile health apps. So let’s take a shot.
Today, there is enormous demand for mobile medical solutions from both patients and medical staff. This means that solutions in this area will become more and more complex, convenient, and personalized. As they do for FinTech apps, users have high expectations for healthcare apps. What should we expect in the near future from mHealth? As an experienced provider of healthcare application software, we predict the active development and distribution of the following solutions:
- Remote patient monitoring devices
- Emergency response systems
- Advanced medical Human Resource Management systems
- Synchronous and asynchronous medical diagnostic and support solutions
- Systems for monitoring pharmaceutical supply chain integrity
- Services for distributing medical services
- Medical education/mobile learning incentives
- Health promotion apps
- Advanced solutions for treating chronic diseases
- Individual solutions for lifestyle control and support
- Support systems for doctors at the point of medical care
- Systems for improving skills and communication among medical staff
Read our latest vision: Health Tech 2022: Top Predictions and Trends
With the advent of new market trends, the monetization of the mHealth industry will also grow. Data from Grand View Research shows that both fitness apps and medical apps are set to be hits in the healthcare industry.
Using mHealth is essential if you want to improve patient care and keep your staff happy. Let’s arrange a 15-minute call to provide you with a free consultation on where to start.
The digital transformation of the healthcare industry is in full swing, and mHealth solutions represent a key advance in this process. These technologies are ushering in an era of affordable and individualized medical care and preventative health measures to both preserve health and improve the quality of life. Also, mHealth addresses the lack of effective methods for preventing many chronic diseases.
S-PRO experts will help you use the benefits of mHealth and accelerate its implementation. Leverage our expertise to add value to your healthcare solution just like other clients have already done.
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1. What is mHealth?
mHealth refers to mobile and wireless technologies that help to support and improve health. This is public healthcare supported by mobile devices such as mobile phones and patient monitoring devices. Examples of mobile healthcare devices include diabetes monitoring sensors, a foot strip to determine heart rate, ingestible drug adherence sensors, and apps that provide health advice after typing in physical or psychological symptoms.
2. What are wearables?
Wearables are portable devices that can generate, exchange, and process data. They include fitness bracelets, smartwatches, and other devices worn on the body or clothing. Wearables collect data on a user’s number of steps, heart rate, insulin level, duration and depth of sleep, and so on.
Some wearable devices store and reproduce measured data locally on the device itself, while others transmit the collected data via an application to third parties, such as doctors or other medical personnel.
For example, smartwatches not only partially perform the functions of a smartphone and control connected devices but are also equipped with various sensors to measure body functions.
As technology advances, sensors and processors are becoming smaller and more powerful. Therefore, they can be integrated into glasses, shoes, and textiles, or even implanted into the body.
3. What are health apps?
Health apps are software without associated hardware that can be downloaded from app stores. There are different types of health apps.
For example, medical device applications include decision support software, telemedicine software, hospital information systems (HIS), and picture archiving and communications systems (PACS). This class of applications is predominantly used by healthcare professionals to support the diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of patients.
The next class of applications is telemedicine software. With its help, an attending physician can monitor and control a patient’s condition using telecommunications. Telemedicine services can be used for both data transmission and diagnostics.
The third category of apps is for fitness, dieting, and general wellness.
4. What are the key factors stimulating the growth of mHealth apps market?
Among the top factors we see is the growing promotion of mHealth apps for positive health outcomes, as well as the growing preference for mobile apps.