Often what affects us locally and personally is what we put the focus on. By taking a broader view we can visualize our future, and understand how mobile health can change it for us. The biggest disadvantage to getting good health care is usually financial restraint, and mobile health solutions have already narrowed the many cost factors.
With the advent of new mobile health technology there is hope for reducing health costs in an overall manner, by implementing comprehensive software into existing hardware. The money saved can then be used to increase health service access and therefore improve general public health more than just in a nationwide manner, but globally too.
One of this year’s biggest Mobile Health Expositions will be held in South Africa. The Expo goes hand-in- hand with the GSMA-mHealth Alliance Mobile Health Summit 2012. Another Mobile Technology conference coming soon is the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. They will be dedicating a portion of their conference to Mobile Health. Not to be outdone, mHiMSS will be sponsoring an e-Health Week Mobile Health Symposia in Copenhagen, Denmark on June 2012.
The Mobile Health Industry incorporates a large number of interested parties besides the many international health care organizations and practitioners. Solution vendors, mobile network operators, regulatory and policy makers as well as development organizations are all taking part and representing their interests at the multinational conferences. The continuing advances in technology on this global scale make it necessary for all involved to ‘meet and compare notes’ as often as possible.
The devices that make it all possible can be as basic as a mobile phone with Internet and medical software applications. Hospitals are full of equipment like cardiac monitors, ventilators, fetal monitors, defibrillators, and other life-saving equipment that are integrated to the hospital’s EHR. The speed of accessibility to the information is because of the specialty software integrated into the system. Without the ingenuity of information technologists and the companies that back them, mobile health would not be the support system that it is today.
Mobile health has made incredible advances in the field of medicine, especially for people outside of the range of medical care, due to their rural environments. If not for the availability of the medical information to doctors in the remote areas, sick or dying people would not have received life-saving care. If not for the technology that permits doctors to confer about procedures and patients through mobile phones, while exchanging reports and graphs, the health of many people would suffer.
Other small health companies have started up due to the advances in mobile health care. In the ‘old days’ some doctors would to make house calls to check up on patients who could not come to the clinic or hospital. These new health practitioners have started house calls on a larger scale, providing care not only to home bound invalids, but also to employees of large companies. Carrying around large expensive equipment is not even in the equation because small electronics with the right software applications are all that is needed to do the job.
The use of mobile health devices has always put the spotlight on patients that benefit the most from the devices and the data that is collected during their checkups and procedures. The doctors are benefitting from the information gathered and dispersed to them, as it helps them do more to help patients. It seems as if the technology companies have found their niche in the health industry too, and it’s becoming harder to say who benefits more… the patients or the IT companies. In this case though, maybe the Mobile IT companies do deserve their fair share, for after all they have truly aided public health in a major and global fashion.