July 17, 2014

Is mHealth ready to change the healthcare industry?

Written By Martin Sandhu
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We’re used to on-demand entertainment, financial services, and many more. But now we’re seeing the rise of mHealth – the healthcare industry going mobile.

mHealth is enabling healthcare to become more personal than ever before. It provides patient choice, control and flexibility whilst helping medical professionals better understand the conditions in question.

It is estimated that there are currently over 97,000 health, fitness and medical apps on the market, describing themselves as tools to help users improve anything under the broad spectrum of health and wellness. From apps to aid weight loss, help stop smoking or combat depression, consumers certainly have a vast choice. However most of these apps are not created or reviewed by clinicians, medical advisory boards, or public health institutions and their effectiveness is difficult to quantify.

mHealth For The Patient

The most prolific form of health app is fitness related; fitness fanatics have hundreds of choices when it comes to recording their diet and exercise output. Some aim to make keeping fit a social experience by sharing (or in some cases shaming) everything onto personal Facebook or Twitter profiles. Others aim to make it as simple as possible to understand when you should be working out and what exercises to do.

However there is now a growing market for medical apps that work alongside other monitoring devices. The idea behind this is to make health management easier than ever before. By recording the food users eat on a daily basis through an app, diabetics can manage their condition more effectively. On top of this glucose readings can be uploaded to help create a record of the diabetics condition. Similarly pregnancy tracking apps record vital statics which can be passed on to healthcare professionals or stand alone to make the experience a less daunting for expectant mothers.

mHealth For The Professional

The addition of the right app to a smartphone can turn a mobile into a portable piece of medical equipment. Transforming it into a heart rate or blood pressure monitor, improving the insights of a healthcare professional.

Not only that but the treatment of patients becomes easier through the use of mHealth technology. Professionals can recommend applications to patients, enabling them to record their activity or bodily functions more accurately. For doctors themselves essentials details are then more readily available leading to quicker diagnosis’ or more effective treatment.