We use our mobile phones for banking, to find directions and sometimes to shop. But would you use your phone to track your diabetes, asthma or mood and send that information to your doctor?
Today, there are many Americans doing just that! That’s the word from the mHealth Foundation who brought more than 300 experts together in early February in DC to discuss the growing field of mobile health, also known as mHealth. Though the promise of mobile phones has yet to reach its full potential in the U.S., as compared to parts of Europe and Asia, that hasn’t stopped the boom of health applications. mHealth estimates there are more than 5,000 health applications in existence. What’s even more eye-opening is that more than 3,700 of these are estimated to be used in a clinical setting – including those among health care professionals and between doctors and patients.
mHealth has identified 12 clusters to catalog the broad range and function of mobile health applications. Some of these clusters include:
- Patient Communications – These include communications before, during and after visits to your doctor including searches via your mobile phone to find a doctor based on your zip code and send back relevant information via text.
- Disease Management – Used both by patients and their caregivers, this area is growing by the day with applications that allow you to track your meals and exercise, measurements such as blood pressure or your A1c level (or that of your child), daily reminders sent to pregnant women based on their due date, and encouraging reminders for smoking cessation.
- Emergency Care – These applications provide first aid tips and CPR instructions or can be used by EMS departments to help relay critical patient statistics en route to the hospital. (more…)