In the US, a mere percentage of 40% of the doctors have an evening and weekend schedule. This deprives a major number of people who have a working schedule from 9 to 5. However, in developing countries, the condition is even worse. For example, in underdeveloped Africa, the ratio for doctors to patients is 1 for 10,000 patients.
It is therefore, the need of the hour to exploit the growing mobile technology for healthcare.
mHealth, commonly known as “mobile health” or “connected health” is bringing about a revolution in the health sector. There are more than 40,000 healthcare apps for mobile phones now in the market. Patients are being monitored remotely and effectively using gadgets. In fact, there are several benefits of mobile technology in the field of medicine. From wearable technology to improved business models, connected health is bringing about a transformation in healthcare.
Technology adoption has benefited healthcare in many ways. Below are some of the advantages of mobile technology.
Data Collection and Monitoring
Wearable technology which is also known as wearable gadgets, is a category of technological devices that can be worn and usually contain tracking information related to health. They can be worn in the form of wrist bands, jewellery and glasses. This field has a lot of potential to grow in healthcare. These wearables, which are used to track and monitor one’s health, now even help to diagnose diseases. Sensors are being improved and recent developments include augmented sensory perception and bio embedded sensors. Old patients can easily be monitored from their own homes instead of at hospitals.
Mobile technology such as Fit Bit is becoming more of social activity. Fit Bit itself is a technology device that measures data such as one’s heart rate, quality of sleep, steps climbed, the number of steps walked etc. There are many other activity trackers and apps that let you monitor your own health. They help you to analyse your data and also present this data to physicians and friends. Advanced monitoring helps to save lives as physicians can step in remotely at a point when the patient may be struggling between life and death. Infants with heart anomalies can be one such example. These kind of applications are if increased in usage, reducing missed warning signs.
Remote Post Operation Care
Mobile apps are improving the quality of treatment post operation as well. Telemedicine has been adopted for surgical care. It enables efficient care over big distances. So for low risk procedures, telemedicine is a better option. Patients who have undergone surgery can be monitored remotely. There are apps to monitor the patient’s stats from home. “Medical Concierge” is an application referred to as a doctor who is a call away. This app establishes a relationship between the patient and the primary care physician which results in enhanced patient care.
Mental Health Apps
Therapists use these applications to gather data to improve patient treatment. Obsessive compulsive disorder patients can download and wear apps that act as a self-service companion in the absence of therapists. It not only controls their obsession, but it also manages their condition. However, it does not replace the therapist. Rather, it provides additional support.
Internal Operations and Knowledge Management
Management through technology cuts costs and saves lives. Advanced healthcare management results in better treatment. Systems and processes should be modified according to the increasing knowledge base. The increase in incoming data from sensors and devices will in turn generate new opportunities for healthcare providers. Current business models are not suitable for a system inundated with patient data. Data management is a new focus. Call centers have nurses, doctors and healthcare professionals who manage and respond to inbound data. Digital health apps help to effectively manage patient care in this demanding environment.
Ironically, mobile apps are humanizing healthcare. Advancements in telehealth are leading to better quality and faster speed of care. Communication between patients and physicians make healthcare seem friendlier. Mobile apps are informing patients, tracking their health and enabling communication with their healthcare provider. As a result, patient retention is higher.
Electronic Health Records are Easily Accessible
M health allows patients and physicians to access patient records and medical information with ease. Medication interaction can be examined using mobile technology for patient safety. Summaries can be shared among physicians. They can send electronic copies of health records using mobile technology. Patients can also inspect and send their own health records through a secure service to their healthcare providers.
Therefore, the main aim of mobile health is to provide basic medical information and education to people all over the world. With a good mobile connection, m health devices such as Fit Bit and the Apple watch can help you access medical information from the comfort of your own home. Sensors for monitoring blood pressure and glucose levels have been developed by Samsung to boost telemedicine. Lab tests and spot diseases using a smartphone will increase knowledge of health. The future is expected to bring mobile medical devices that not only collect data but can be used in place of hospital equipment. Mobile health has already improved daily lives, reduced medical costs and enhanced revenues. The future should result in better health decisions and improved health outcomes.