Mobile health can be defined as the use of mobile devices to support the provision of medical care. The services achieved by the use of mobile phones have led to the provision of different business, societal and governmental services. Such services include important applications such as mobile banking, access to parliamentary representatives through short messaging services, and access to vast health information through short messaging services enquiries. People can also access a lot of information through mobile internet. Some phone applications improve the eminence of life by sensing physiological and environmental factors and remote monitoring of patients.
Mobile phones, however, have disadvantages compared to desktop computers in relation to power consumption and computational capacity. These should also be considered when creating mobile phone applications as they affect the performance of the mobile phones. There is a continuing debate over the significance of communications technology in solving development problems. Due to the diversity of opinions in literature, some people view the use of mobile phones, computers and the internet as a ‘quick fix’ solution to developmental problems which should be solved using a wide range of policies that address all sectors.
Mobile phones can bring positive development in making health services and information available to different categories of people. Mobile phones are much more affordable as compared to other communication technology devices such as computers and the internet. It is important for mobile phone health care applications to be safe and trust worthy.
Mobile devices are applicable in different ways in provision of health care. Short message services can be used to spread mass information from one person to another. Messages sent to different people can offer information on different topic including availability of health services, diagnostic and treatment methods and management of certain disease. Short messages have an advantage of being modest which offers patients confidentiality. Phone massages also are effective in reaching people in rural areas where there is always limited access to health education and information as well as health workers and clinics. Mobile devices are also important in providing medical help line services where patients can easily access information on medicine, equipments and counseling.
Mobile phones are used in remote data collection, disease surveillance and tracking epidemic outbreak. Mobile phones are used to collect and transmit data cheaply, quickly and efficiently. Data collected on the levels and locations of certain diseases in an area can be used by ministries and medical systems to identify outbreaks and influence the dispensation of medical resources to areas where there is the greatest need. Data is a very significant aspect of mobile health. Collection of data requires collection devices as well as software to store the information. Data is importantly focused on visualizing inert text though it can also broaden to interactive assessment support algorithms and communication capacities through the amalgamation of email and SMS elements. Combining the utilization of GPS and GIS with mobile technologies affixes a geographical mapping element that is able to mark data and voice communication to certain location or a sequence of locations. Such amalgamated capabilities have been utilized for urgent health services and for disease surveillance, services mapping and health facilities and other data collection related to health care.
Mobile devices are also very important in the management of chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, HIV, tuberculosis, asthma, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Remote monitoring allows for more involvement and treatment support from care givers. Patients are also able to keep their care givers updated on the progress and changes in their health status. Health care workers are also able to track the patients’ medication routine adherence, patients’ conditions and follow up schedules. Remote monitoring has been very effective in medical adherence for patients with diabetes and aids. Reminders through SMSs are also very important in enhancing medicine adherence in patients with chronic conditions.
In conclusion, Mobile health is the use of mobile devices to enhance the provision of medical care. It requires mobile devices that are controlled by operating systems that are secure and maintain confidentiality, availability and integrity. Through these mobile devices, services such as short message services can be used to spread mass information many people. Mobile devices are also used in remote data collection, disease surveillance and tracking epidemic outbreak. Remote monitoring has been exceptionally effectual in medical adherence for patients with diabetes and aids.
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