What is mHealth?
mHealth is the use of mobile phones, patient monitoring devices, personal digital assistants, and other wireless technology to promote health education by dispensing information about preventive healthcare services. Gradually the use of mhealth is being globally used for tracking epidemics, spread of diseases as well as disease management.
Advantages of mHealth
Convenience and privacy of using mobile phones to track and manage health data without having to wait to see a healthcare provider is fast gaining popularity with more than 1000 mobile applications developed. Patients can speak to their physicians regarding their problems without having to wait for appointments or even commute to the physician. These various applications can act as alternative electronic health cards. As a health promotion option large healthcare providers are using this mobile platform to disperse preventive information as the majority of population uses mobile phones.
Disadvantages of mHealth
Health apps may breach the user’s health information as not all apps are compliant with health insurance portability and accountability Act but even major is that the information provided may not be accurate and users may be misled in not seeking actual medical care.
Difference between mHealth and Telemedicine?
mHealth and Telemedicine are two different entities where mhealth is health information delivered exclusively through mobile devices whereas telemedicine is delivery of remote care via electronic and telecommunication technologies primarily video conferencing between physician, nurse and patients.
Research required on mHealth
However mHealth is still in its nascent stages and more evidence based studies will be required to assess its efficacy and impact on preventive health improvement. If mHealth is found to be effective it will reduce the burden of healthcare delivery marginally. The data security needs to be further strengthened to protect against breach of data. Mhealth though has increased the awareness of individuals regarding medical problems but the authenticity of the information acquired and whether it is backed by a sound academic board or consultant is a task which still needs to be assessed as there are more than a million mobile health applications available.
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