There are plenty of areas of our daily lives that our smartphones can cover these days, but one area that is usually left without use in further developed countries is that of mhealth. Mhealth is a term used which describes the practice of medicinal use and public health through a mobile device, tablet or PDA, and it’s something that developing countries have adopted, but could it be useful in further developed countries like those in Europe or America?
How has mhealth developed?
Anything from making a call to someone educating the caller about their own health and what actions they should take to remain healthy, to have an app that can monitor certain conditions such as heart rate and pulse through the use of external hardware applications can count as mhealth, and as of now is being used in developing countries, largely in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, where patients will use their mobile devices to keep track of certain information and keep in contact with their doctors and others within the health community.
Over in further developed countries, it’s currently something you see little of, and if it were to be adopted it would branch off of ehealth, which like mhealth, makes use of computer electronics to give the user information shared with their health clinics.
Mhealth is slowly starting to emerge in industrialized countries though, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see it being placed into your country’s health budgets over the next five to ten years.
Two examples of mhealth in developed countries today are products that come from the US which both make use of your mobile to ensure your health is the best it can be.
The first example is by a company called Vitality, which uses their GlowCap technology to help patients remember when to take their prescription medicine. The GlowCap can replace traditional prescription-based bottle caps that contain medicine and will glow when it’s time for the patient to take their medication. If a patient forgets, they will be sent a text from the GlowCap device to remind them. The GlowCap has a few more advanced features and was based on a similar product used in South Africa called SIMpill.
The second example is a product named GreatCall which is similar to the GlowCap technology, and will remind the elderly about when they need to take their medication. Once again, GreatCall was based off of technology that has also been used in South Africa for the past few years.
Mhealth seems to be developing to a point that developing countries can actually help industrialized countries to build upon their own mhealth services, ensuring that everybody can make even more use of the smartphone they carry around on a daily basis.