Accessibility to good healthcare is still a challenge to many. A significant number of the population still lacks access to even basic healthcare facilities. Unavailability of healthcare professionals has resulted in unchecked spread of dangerous diseases and untimely deaths from escalated stages of otherwise easily curable illnesses. With the intervention of the internet and smart devices, a solution to this challenge is seen to be taking form.
The practice of medicine and public health supported by mobile devices is called mobile health or mHealth. It is a sub-segment of e-health which delivers health services through portable mediums such as mobile phones, tablets, computers, wearables etc. mHealth services include a collection of community and clinical data collection, delivering clinical information to researchers, practitioners, and patients, real-time monitoring, recording data from wearable products, predictive analytics from complex data, communications etc.
By the end of this year, it is estimated that around 4.68 billion people will start using mobile phones. Smart devices like mobile phones have the potential to solve a wide range of challenges, including those that are accessibility related. People from developed and developing countries, urban and remote areas are all benefitting through the use of smart devices - the time is ripe to explore different uses of such devices, especially in sectors like healthcare where the impact could be resounding.
Today, there are mobile apps that can support healthcare and wellness activities, act as decision support tools to healthcare professionals, connect doctors and patients, store records of medical information, remind users to take medicines on time etc.
mHealth is set to bridge the accessibility gap towards the unified dream of good healthcare for all. Uses of mHealth include:
Tracking outbreak of communicable diseases
Treatment support etc.
mHealth is categorized into four opportunities for the healthcare sector based on simple and complex usage.