Beauty of mhealth

Over the last century, many nonprofit organizations have been to trying to unify developed and developing countries in bringing equitable healthcare services. There are hundreds of agencies across the globe relentlessly working to reach out under-served or unserved populations. With the invention of mhealth, these efforts will transform into reality sooner than expected. The way health is perceived/delivered globally will be change because mhealth is a tool to monitor, diagnose, manage, analyze and disseminate healthcare.  The major advantages of mhealth applications ares global applicability, cost-effectiveness and healthcare access to remotely living population.  If implemented strategically and systematically, mhealth can revolutionize health outcomes. Theoretically, it is like giving everyone a mobile device with medical expertise and intervention real-time.

  1. Take control of your heart. This monitor provides anyone to track cardiac health anywhere, anytime. This is just like carrying a thermometer. It is free app. All one need to do is attach the monitor to mobile device and record ECG, then email it for analysis.http://www.alivecor.com/what-is-it

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  1. If someone has ascites or ectopic pregnancy, twin pregnancy, myocardial infarction, ruptured cyst or gallstones, iphone ultrasound can be performed and transferred for interpretation by the expert immediately. This is the future stethoscope of modern healthcare.

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  1. How about Face Time consultations with a registered doctor via video call and have consultation real time. http://mobihealthnews.com/7948/uk-doctors-video-consultations-iphone-facetime/. One physician from Arizona consulting another physician in LA to discuss on decision on amputation because of ulcer on a patient foot.

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  1. There is a SMS service to send and receive large group of people, two-way text messaging used for the information dissemination. Ideal in public health initiative such as disease outbreaks, disaster relief coordination, conducting large surveys http://www.frontlinesms.com

p4 Future of mhealth is fascinating. I think the future of mhealth may entail a tiered system that is evidence based.

Challenges of mhealth:

  1. Issues with licensing and credentialing of service providers.
  2. Legal implications of outcomes and failures.
  3. Regulation of products that are once considered to be properties of qualified healthcare professionals and data security.
  4. Regional health policies that may not recognize mhealth as an approach to address the health issues.
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9 thoughts on “Beauty of mhealth

  1. No question this is the way to go. Technology is certainly going to change the way we deliver health care, not just in public health programs. One of the major challenges we will see in this country is that unlike in public health arena (which is not profit-driven) for the private health care delivery system (which obviously is) CMS and many third-party payers do not currently reimburse providers for encounters with patients that are not face-to-face. It will take a major policy change for this to catch on.

  2. Great post Naranya! I was really floored when I saw the iphone ultrasound! I had no idea that they created something like that!. Randall does make a good point though as insurance companies only pay for face to face visits. Policies will need to change to account for the way medical technology is going for sure.

  3. Interstate and inter-country consultation can be tricky both from the insurance reimbursement and liability perspective. In Kaiser Permanente E-consultation is possible because physicians are paid employees. Not a fee-for-service and their model suites the application. That is only 8 million members of the country.

  4. OMG, iPhone ultrasound! Wow, that is going to eventually put someone out of work. This really makes me think that medicine is headed in a very different direction if technology is allowed to flourish. The key word is “if.” Recently I sat in a classroom of physicians who were livid at the thought of giving up control of patients to nurses and even patients themselves. In addition, I have also heard of people managing their own dialysis (http://www.davita.com/kidney-disease/preparing-for-dialysis/planning-for-a-vascular-access/overview-of-self-cannulation-for-home-hemodialysis/e/5046).

    • I hate to admit it but throughout the history of modern medicine physicians have been very territorial (and not always with the patients’ welfare in mind). I think this will evolve over time as the physicians that will be trained in the future will be selected from a cohort that has a diferent perspective and agenda.

      • For the most part, physicians are programmed (atleast trained and drilled) to think to serve only their patient. so, they feel overly previlaged. This “downstream” approach has its blessing and curse. As Randell mentioned, future physicians will (hopefully) think more “upstream” approach to address health issues. This is a major fundamental reprogramming of physicians’ mind. It has to start in medical school.

  5. Narayana,
    Interesting post with examples and I like how you talked about the beauty of mHealth as it is trying to equalize the health services in underserved communities. iPhone ultrasound would be so easy to use but I am sure the sale would be limited to health professionals and it could be sent with health workers to the remote areas rather transporting the bulky ultasound equipment to their village.

  6. Excellent post! You’ve highlighted some of the best examples that I know of. And, your estimation of the Challenges of mHealth are right on the mark. In my work in global health, these are all very relevant. I’d add only that there is a challenge around integrating all of these one-off apps and tools into one tool that portrays the holistic health of an individual or community. At this stage, our efforts are very patchwork, often adding a lot of data but little real understanding to an overall picture of health.

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