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Mobile Health Field Stresses Wellness, Disease Management

By Vera Gruessner

- The mobile health field is bringing key medical information to patients and consumers that had once had to visit a physician’s office to receive the same tips and advice. New findings from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy shows that mobile health applications are enabling patients by offering them health and wellness information whenever they need it, according to a press release from the University.

Mobile Health Field

Over the last two months, researchers from Rice University conducted an extensive online search to determine which technologies and mobile health applications are making an impact on American consumers and medical providers.

“Technology has permeated every sector of the market, making services and goods faster, cheaper and mobile. Not surprisingly, advancements in technology have also increased access to health information and self-monitoring for individual consumers, as well as increased healthcare providers’ ability to diagnose, monitor or treat their patients remotely. A plethora of health-related technology is available on the market,” the report stated. “Our search results presented numerous options for consumers, patients and health care providers to address a variety of health concerns and increase access to health care. The results also demonstrated a particular demand for health technology focused on physical fitness.”

The report shows a total of 170 devices and applications throughout the mobile health field that offer insight into the needs of patients throughout the nation. The devices and mobile health applications vary from fitness trackers and remote monitoring tools to electrocardiographs that detect abnormal heart rhythms.

“Technology has permeated every sector of the market, making services and goods faster, cheaper and mobile,” Dr. Quianta Moore, the Baker Institute’s scholar in health policy, said in a public statement. “Not surprisingly, advancements in technology have also increased access to health information and self-monitoring for individual consumers, as well as increased health care providers’ ability to diagnose, monitor or treat their patients remotely. Our search results presented numerous options for consumers, patients and health care providers to address a variety of health concerns and increase access to health care.”

Moore discovered that there are many mobile medical devices and applications that address high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes, which are common chronic conditions spreading throughout the country.

The mobile health field also includes technologies that are geared toward improving fitness and overall wellness among the general population, the report found. Usually, tracking devices are worn on the wrist and are able to measure a wide range of biological processes including heart rate, posture, activity levels, speed, breathing rates, distance, sleep duration, and sleep cycles. This shows that more consumers are interested in improving their health and fitness.

As the mobile health field continues to evolve and more mHealth technologies are designed and implemented, management of chronic medical conditions and a push toward health and wellness is likely to continue being a central force for the sector.

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