mHealth: Pocket Healthcare

Zohaib Amjad | The Express Tribune | November 23, 2014

The ability of mobile phones to monitor basic human patterns using digital input from its user has allowed it to transform every aspect of human life. Given the mobile phone’s computing capacity and wide usage, it has recently been adopted as a tool by the global healthcare industry. Mobile Healthcare (mHealth) — the use of a mobile device to provide healthcare — has the potential to change when, where and how healthcare is provided with the help of mobile applications and services that include remote patient monitoring, video conferencing, online consultations and wireless access to patient records and prescriptions.

According to the European Commission, by 2017 an estimated 3.4 billion people around the world will own a smartphone and half of them will be using mHealth apps. Currently, nearly 100,000 such apps are available, with the top 20 free sports, fitness and health apps accounting for more than 230 million downloads worldwide.

“From a cost-effective perspective on providing care, the vision of m-Health is one of greater efficiencies. [It has the power] to improve patient outcomes,” says Dr Thomas Brennan, a prominent researcher in the field. By accessing information in a timely manner, patients can better cope with their condition and diseases. They have greater control over their own health and well-being, he explains...