TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATED MEDICAL CARE
Revolutionary changes have been taking place in all sectors like banking and media and the healthcare industry is not far behind, even though healthcare is quite different from other sectors in terms of compliance and faces more sets of challenges. Despite increasing amounts of money being pumped into healthcare, our country is still far behind and not able to provide good basic primary health care.
There are massive new changes in the delivery of healthcare, out of which a significant proportion are being enabled by technology. Nowadays, with the rapid increase in the use of smartphones, mobile technology has become an integral part of our medical services. The most recent technological advancement in healthcare is mHealth, which simply means mobile health. It literally means health care and services through your cell phones or any other wireless device.
Mobile technology is practically present everywhere and this enables us to use this in providing better healthcare and preventive services. This can improve overall public health and ensures that the health status of people in remote areas is also maintained. The most important factors in a rising emergence and development of mHealth are population overload, increasing prevalence of diseases, limited medical professionals and financial resources. The vital point here for medical professionals is how to utilise these advances to improve healthcare facilities and medical education.
Collection, generation and dissemination of healthcare information via cell phones or wireless devices is simply known as mHealth. It is considered to be a new vision for many developing countries for improvement in the quality and outcome of their medical services.
USES OF mHEALTH
Simple innovations of mHealth are reminders to patients in the form of SMSs for follow ups, or taking medications, or for immunizations, etc. Diagnosis and treatment advice for people who dont have direct access to physicians is possible. Various other applications which can help monitor an individual’s condition are available. In fact, mobile health applications are becoming increasingly popular and are used by a number of people on a daily basis.
One of the most commonly used mobile application is one which educates the common man about preventive health. mHealth is also used for disease surveillance, epidemic control , treatment and disease management. Various other mHealth tools available are Pill reminders or tools related to women health care.
With widespread penetration of wireless technology even in rural areas, it indicates better prospects of mobile-based healthcare even in inaccessible locations. It is also possible to bring about changes in public health on a wider scale than was possible earlier. Another advantage of mHealth is the management of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and Alzheimer’s. Frequent monitoring through mobile apps or SMS reminders regarding dosage or appointments can help both patients as well as medical professionals better management. Improving patient’s life by reducing the number of visits to a hospital, enabling them to lead happier and healthier lives is an added advantage. Healthcare costs too are reduced by frequent monitoring.
NEW VISION FOR HEALTHCARE- mHEALTH
mHealth is still in its infancy and lots needs to be developed strategically in order to use this mobile technology efficiently. mHealth could be a major change in the way health care functions and operates. Telecom operators play a major role in this wireless technology which can help reduce expenses in delivery of healthcare. mHealth though is definitely not a substitute for a physician’s visit and cannot qualify as a panacea for health care. This innovative technology is rapidly changing the face of healthcare and improving the standard of medical services.
Contributed by Dr. Rachita Narsaria, MD
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