Mobile health system is a form of eHealth that uses mobile devices such as cell phones and PDAs (personal digital assistants) in order to offer easy health care services and the latest information to the whole community. Thus, this health care provision system owes to the communication technology. Computers, cell phones, satellites and patient monitoring devices are playing a key role holding this system. Mobile health care system obtains clinical health data from the community with the help of mobile devices, delivers clinical information to the health care providers, researchers and patients and then even monitors the vital signs of the patients through mobile telemedicine. Introduction of communication devices in health care system has offered an enhanced and easy approach to health care providers and health care facilities. Mobile health services provide more efficient tasks, processes and patients’ care. However, a lot of difficulties are there to face for the health care providers who are posted to cover the rural areas of developing countries because of the lack of telecommunication technology services. Actually, in the start, mobile health system was designed for the industrialized countries. But, now it is being introduced and emerging into the developing countries because of rapid telecommunication penetration into these countries. Thus it is an emerging and fast technology to provide health services to wider population of the area.
Benefits of Mobile Health:
A lot of benefits are being offered by the mobile health care system. Increasing health challenges and price issues has led to adopt mobile health. The following benefits can prove the importance and penetration of mobile health.
• Mobile services such as mobile phones, internet and electronic media offer seamless and secure access to the health services.
• Telecommunication technologies have made health services cost effective.
• Fast health education through telecommunication devices is playing an important role to provide knowledge about health conditions, and their proper prevention and management as the proverb truly sounds “prevention is better than cure”. Additionally, before time control of the common and lethal health conditions is beneficial in the long run.
• It has ability to provide health services to anyone, anytime and everywhere eliminating the all obstacles coming in the way of its working.
• With the help of mobile devices, health care providers can access and assess the medical history, labs, treatment record, insurance information and medical care provision connecting to the institutions’ internal network.
• A report on mobile health has brought to light that mobile devices have played a key role in reducing health disparities.
• Audios, videos, and texts carrying health related messages are playing an important role in developing healthy behavior.
Open Issues with Mobile Health:
There are a number of issues that come in the way of provision of mobile health to the community. Proper solution of these obstacles can make it an exemplary health care system.
• Lack of coverage of wireless and mobile networks, and their reliability
• Limitations for hand-held telecommunication devices
• Issues with medical usability of sensors and mobile devices and interference with other medical devices
• Problems of privacy and security
• Other issues like payment and management problems
Benefits of mobile health can be multiplied if the above mentioned issues are got solved. Proper mobile or wireless networking, skillful training of healthcare providers for pervasive health, secured confidentiality and security issues of the patients, helping with legal and regulatory issues, and easy and low-price health services can cause mini-revolution in the fields of telecommunication and health services.
Using wireless technologies in healthcare (Kern and Jaron, 2003) (www.cis.gsu.edu/uvarshney/papers/IJMC3.pdf)
Mobile Health: Are there serious health benefits from mobile phones? (http://www.mocom2020.com/2009/03/mobilehealth-benefits/)