Concept of mHealth: mobile technologies in modern healthcare
According to Zion Market Research, the global mHealth market volume will grow by 32.5% year by year and reach $102.43 billion by 2022. What is the uniqueness of the mHealth industry? And what are its development prospects?
What is mHealth?
mHealth is a wireless system consisting of smartphones, tablets, and wearable devices that help people to care for their health. By the way, mHealth is not synonymous with telemedicine, as it includes only mobile gadgets controlled changes in the body. The most popular variety of mobile healthcare services is the usage of wearable equipment for health monitoring and disease prevention. Besides, mHealth is used to check patient's condition, help in treatment, monitor outbreaks of infection, and manage chronic diseases.
Therefore, the mHealth segment is developing in two areas:
Fit (when people monitor health using gadgets and apps on their own);
Med (doctor-patient interaction using special devices and programs).
By estimates of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), approximately 500 million people worldwide already use apps for personal medical services.
Despite the fact that mHealth is a relatively young industry, it shows the great dynamics because of depending on the advancement of mobile technologies as well as artificial intelligence and IoT solutions. In the digital health sector, mHealth covers all telecommunication and multimedia technology apps that provide medical aid and information.
Application of mHealth in various countries
mHealth is widely used in economically developed countries to prevent and diagnose heart diseases, diabetes, autism, insomnia, and asthma. The USA, the UK, Spain, and Sweden are extensively implementing and utilizing mHealth capabilities. mHealth projects are also being developed in Canada, South Korea, and Australia.
The American Medical Group Foundation titled ‘Measure Up/Pressure Down’ has already helped to detect and control hypertonia in 414,167 people. As part of the program initiated by the Foundation, patients use a smartphone-connected automatic blood pressure device that automatically sends recorded data to doctors. It allows to prescribe drugs and advise patients remotely.
Canada is developing a wireless insole to track and control a type of load on the footstep. It informs diabetics when they put too heavy pressure on the heel (which can lead to the progress of foot ulcer).
Sweden has launched the mHealth system allowing to take readings of heart pacemakers, assessing device operations and patient’s state.
As reported by US-based Transparency Market Research, the market volume of personal health monitoring gadgets was $650 million in 2012, and it would exceed $8 billion in 2019. The world’s main share of this market belongs to cardio devices and gadgets for diabetic patients.
mHealth priorities differ in various countries. Developed states use services to improve living standards and medical assistance. Emerging countries focus on relevant challenges such as fighting against epidemics and making medical aid more accessible.
Advantages and disadvantages of mHealth
The main advantage of telehealth for end customers is its usability. Wearable devices and other mobile technologies allow to constantly track and control health data without addressing specialists.
Mobile health is an alternative option in places where competent medical care is unavailable. Such non-commercial organizations as mHealth Alliance are in favor of mHealth promotion in developing states.
The mHealth industry also has the following benefits:
reduction of health expenditures;
increase in the overall level of population health;
establishment of mHealth service standards;
new investment opportunities;
possibilities for research and development.
Advantages of mobile health, in particular its flexibility in all areas of medicine, can significantly help both doctors and patients. It especially refers to people suffering from chronic diseases who require monitoring and constant control.
Regular recording, possibility to receive remote consultations, and prompt contact with doctors allow to decrease the amount of hospital visits. Moreover, remote healthcare services will be also available to those being far from doctors and specialized facilities.
Due to its potential, mHealth is able to revolutionize the healthcare sector and enhance the efficiency of medical aid all over the world. The demand for mHealth on the international market will be able to provide a steady growth of high-tech production worldwide.