The use of mobile devices within the health care space continues to grow. Mobile technology within health care is exciting because of its enormous potential to improve the industry. Many see it as a “game changer”. But what exactly is mobile health and how is it currently being utilized?
To gather the big picture on mobile health, we must first evaluate its definition. Mobile health can be defined as “the practice of health care as supported by mobile devices.” Mobile devices typically refer to mobile communication devices such as smartphones, tablets, and PDAs.
The excitement generated by mobile health is its capacity to integrate into virtually every aspect of health care practices, such as:
• Education and awareness of patients, health care students, and health care professionals
• Diagnostic and treatment support for patients
• Training for health care workers
• Increased communication across the health care spectrum
• Remote data collection
• Data access regardless of time or location
• Health care data assessment and tracking
Much of the mobile health movement focuses on the use of health related apps used to empower and educate consumers. The hope is that these apps will help consumers mitigate and prevent health related issues through knowledge leading to behavioral changes.
Other outcomes and objectives within the mobile health space include:
• Improved access to health care and health-related information by providers and consumers
• Improvement in diagnosing and tracking widespread disease
• Increased engagement between public health officials and the public
• Expanded treatment and information to developing countries
For now, the latest research shows that mobile apps will continue to see explosive growth for the foreseeable future. A study done by ABI Research, shows that the mobile app industry is projected to hit $400 million in revenue by 2016. That’s currently four times the current size. The majority of the apps are projected to be health care provider, sports, fitness, and general wellness apps that touch on diet and nutrition, exercise, information, medication and diagnosis, and tracking.
Popular Mobile Apps
This is a popular mobile app that can be used for the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and Android devices. It’s a professional and highly organized reference website for clinicians. Medscape Mobile features drug interaction charts, drug references, disease and condition reference, and news alerts.
Sermo is the equivalent of Facebook for physicians. The app is free and allows doctors to share information, ask questions, and have easily tracked on-the-go discussions. Sermo is used in large medical facilities across the nation and offers a means to connect with each other in the medical community.
MIM is a remote diagnostic image tool for the iPad and iPhone. It works so well that it has recently received FDA approval. The app is widely used in diagnostic and x-ray departments.
ICD-10 Premium costs just $1.99 in the app store. It allows users to have complete access to all of the ICD-10 diagnostic codes. Each code has sub codes and full descriptions.
The BMR calculator is popular with diet and exercise enthusiasts who want to know their basal metabolic rate. BMR is the number of calories someone at rest burns.
Food Information Database
This robust database app provides nutritional information for thousands of foods found in the grocery store and even restaurants.