Over 95% of American adults own a mobile phone and, for many, it is their primary means of online access, according to the PEW Internet and American Life Project, a research organization located in Washington, D.C. that tracks the impact of the internet on families, communities, work, and home. Today, just about every person, from the time they get up in the morning until the time they go to bed, has a mobile telephone tucked in their pocket. Increasingly, these cell phones are a vital part of our lives, functioning as our primary mode of personal and business communication, as well as serving as our calendars, cameras, media players, address books and computers. It is hard to imagine a world where we didn’t have all these capabilities at our fingertips.
In healthcare, mobile technology has shown great results in improving the quality of patient care, as well as contributing to back-office operations and medical training. Some of the specific benefits of (mobile health) m-Health for patients include:
1 Mobile technology opens faster communication channels and decreases response time, resulting in immediate response to patients in an emergency and faster response to frequent questions that come up in between office visits with a clinician.
2 Mobile technology has opened channels for remote communication to keep patients in touch with their clinicians regardless of their location. This is particularly important for addressing chronic conditions, for monitoring, post-operation recovery at home, and for providing a channel for communication in a crisis such as a pandemic. to reduce the influx of patients into the emergency departments of overburdened hospitals.
Specific benefits of m-health include:
- Timely access to emergency health services
- Easy access to digital health records
- Greater control over health issues
- Improved medication adherence
- Remote consultations
In 2015, your mobile device came out of your pocket and landed on your wrist with the introduction of the Apple Watch, Fitbits and other variations of watches and trackers. Equipped with sensors, these devices, synch with your mobile phone, and respond to the same wellness and fitness apps so that you can: answer calls, check the news, play games, listen to music and podcasts, get directions and navigate to locations, check the stock market, track Mobile technology is empowering the elderly with monitoring and managing chronic conditions, helping expectant mother with questions, reminding people to take medication at the proper time, extending services to underserved areas, and improving health outcomes and medical system efficiency. They execute their apps with three types of embedded sensors to track and analyse an individual’s health data:
- Motion Sensors – that track exercise and movement
- Environment Sensors – that track location, weather, air pollution,
- Position Sensors – that detect falls.
By leveraging these sensors, your mobile phone will capture and identify changes you undergo and send real-time data to you or to a clinician.
Most smartphones come pre-installed with basic health apps, such as a pedometer or a heart rate monitor. Third-party health apps are also available (some free and some for a fee) that monitor various aspects of your health, such as blood pressure, heart rate, glucose levels, sleep patterns, respiratory and lung health, daily activity, nutrition, and food intake. These apps can also provide alerts and reminders to assist you in staying on track with your health and fitness goals.
The importance of smartphone use in healthcare cannot be overstated and with the right technology, total quality patient-centered care can be executed effectively. Mobile devices enable Individuals to get the care and attention they require at the time it is needed, however, there are risks, such as data security and erroneous outcomes. The technology continues to evolve to ensure that patient data safety and quality care is always the top priority.