Mobile Health, also called mHealth, is increasingly impacting the way patients are cared for and the way doctors and nurses do their job. It is also a big part of how people are managing their own health and welfare.
Here are some interesting statistics on mHealth. 1) By year’s end, people will have downloaded 44 million health apps. This number is supposed to increase to 142 million app downloads within the next 4 years. 2) The iPhone has 13,000 consumer health apps ready for download. Of those, half are designed for medical professionals. 3) About 80 percent of physicians already own a mobile device. This compares to about 50 percent of regular people. 4) Almost 30 percent of physicians are using smartphones and/or tablets in order to treat patients.
There are mobile health devices that are clipped to a belt loop and log your workouts, weight, meals and activity level. The device, like “FitBit”, is designed to help you lose weight with a minimum of hassle keeping track of your progress.
Mobile devices are available that help physicians remember dosages, medications and look up medical illnesses. One of these programs is called Skyscape medical reference technology, which is being given on iPhones and iPads to underserved areas of the world where access to a large medical library just isn’t possible. It’s being used in places like Africa, Haiti and China. The idea is to improve patient care in places where the best medical education just isn’t available.
There’s a program known as iTriage. It is a downloadable app for patients that’s been downloaded 6 million times. It helps patients identify and recall their symptoms and that can help them find the best physician for their symptoms. It helps them decide whether or not to go to the emergency room and eases the check in process to either a clinic or an ER. The ER check-in can be done via an iPhone.
Hospitals are getting into the mobile app business. Some hospitals have developed apps that provide an interface between patients and staff people at the hospital. Registration is included as part of the app and there is a part that discusses important things like health and wellness.
The US Veteran’s Affairs department is giving away iPads for family caregivers so that they can better care for their patients. The patients can receive certain treatments without ever having to leave home.
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