mHealth on the rise

Mobile healthcare is transforming the medical environment

By Claire Marchand

Mobile technology is affecting almost every facet of our lives, at home, in the workplace and everywhere in between. The emergence of smart devices in the last decade has also had a major impact in the healthcare sector.

Health workers being trained online
Smart devices are used to train health workers in developing countries (Photo: mPowering Frontline Health Workers)

Smart changes

Smart devices, smartphones in particular, have changed the way people interact with one another and with the world around them. According to statistic portal Statista, the number of smartphone users worldwide is forecast to reach 2,08 billion in 2016 and 2,66 in 2019. Access to mobile data and a wide range of applications and services touches on everyday life, both in developed and in developing countries. 

Instant access to GPS mapping, online banking, entertainment, movie and restaurant recommendations or news reports make life much easier for smartphone users. The ever growing number of fitness-related devices and associated smartphone applications, which some saw as a fad, seems to perdure and make people more conscious of their well-being. They can even share some of the data they collect, such as blood pressure or heart rate, with their physician. 

Worldwide benefits of mHealth

Going a step further, developers are now producing apps for professionals in the medical sector. eHealth, i.e. healthcare practice supported by electronic processes and communication, has led to mHealth – mobile health – to collect community and clinical health data, deliver healthcare information to practitioners, researchers, and patients, and provide real-time monitoring of patient vital signs, among other things. 

In developing and emerging markets especially, smart devices have come to play an important role for millions of people. They provide access to education, business opportunities and health services that wouldn’t otherwise be available. 

This is just the beginning of a new era in the medical environment, but one that may forever change the doctor/nurse-patient relationship.

Gallery
 Online medical consultation Patients can consult their physician online
Health workers being trained online Smart devices are used to train health workers in developing countries (Photo: mPowering Frontline Health Workers)
Claire Marchand, Managing Editor e-tech Claire Marchand, Managing Editor e-tech