Remember the time when you had to go through the long drudgery of waiting in long queues at the doctor’s clinic, get treated, pay the bills and then again stand in the queue at the chemist’s to get your medicines, no matter how dreadful your condition was. However, the times are changing now, all thanks to a brilliant phenomenon called ‘technology’. Smart phones and advanced technologies have now actively emerged, which brings forth a new improved vision of providing healthcare all over the world, with the potential to significantly expand consumer access. This modernized use of mobile communication technologies for proper deliverance of healthcare solutions is termed as Mobile Health. The process of MHealth has already begun transforming the way patients interact with their doctors, how their diseases are diagnosed, treated, and paid for. Despite being at a stage of nascence, The overall mHealth ecosystem is in a constant state of a dramatic transformation.
One of the analysts at BIS Research said, “The mHealth services dominated the market in 2014, and is expected to hit $55.63 billion by the end of the forecast period, on an account of increasing deployment of mHealth solutions by healthcare providers and pharmaceuticals along with end users (patients).” Some of the instances of mHealth technologies include: phone calls and SMS alerts for patients to take proper medication and attend appointments, remote treatment of patients who do not have easy access to doctors, payment of bills, , and health monitoring devices to track the health conditions of patients, among others.
In spite of rapid advancements in medical technologies, mobile healthcare continues to face challenges of affordability and complexity worldwide. Everyone is not well-aware or educated enough to use smart phones or for that matter, even a computer to contact through emails. There is always a risk of hardware and software failure. The privacy of patient’s health information is not fully secure, and this turns out to be a serious issue when there’s a potential for anyone to gather the information of a mobile phone. Not all healthcare service providers are trustworthy. Another challenge faced in this aspect is the difference in perception, which may vary with doctors and patients on matters of cost-effectivenes. However, mhealth is likely to gain a strong foothold in the healthcare industry, due to opportunities such as, introduction of mhealth in developing economies, among others.
Some of the renowned names working in mhealth domain are Fitbit, Apple, Nike, Jawbone, Zephyr Technology, and many more. Mobile Health, despite its associated pros and cons is turning out to be a a boon in the global reality. MHealth is changing the way the patients receive their care and with this changing industry fortunate, the differentiation between healthcare approach and mobile healthcare approach will be dissolved. Mobile healthcare strategy is very essential as the usage of mobile technologies is starting to define the future of healthcare.