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Use of mHealth Technology Continues to Grow

By Ryan Mcaskill

A new study examined how mhealth technology is being used across the healthcare landscape and found room for growth.

The Affordable Care Act and the push toward value-based approaches have many healthcare organizations looking for new care models. In many cases, this involves a shift in thinking from hospital based care to a delivery systems that are centered around primary care settings, day care facilities and health centers.

To improve the effectiveness of these solutions, many organizations will need to turn toward new technology. Specifically, mobile technology will play a big role when it comes to improving communication and elevating care models to a new level.

Recently, the Journal of Medical Internet Research published a report that examined the role of mobile technologies in the healthcare process. To determine this, the report examined 106 existing report to see how mobile health is being used in different stages of cancer care and cancer supportive care.

“mHealth can be introduced at each phase of the health care delivery process in order to support structured activities, such as data collection, semi-structured activities like monitoring and unstructured activities, like assisting human-executed processes,” the report reads. “The prevention phase uses mobile apps for promoting healthy habits by scheduling reminders, as well as more unstructured campaigns that use mobile technologies for mLearning activities aimed at teaching people about diseases.”

The report also found that smartphones and tablets were used in 75.5 percent of studies, while remoting monitoring  was used in 28.3 percent, text messages in 18 percent and telehealth in 11 percent.

The study also found that a majority of mobile devices are used during the treatment phase of healthcare. Nearly 80 of the reports has a portion that focused on the use of mhealth services during treatment. By comparison, Prevention was used 28 times, diagnosis was used 31 times and follow-up was used less than 10 times.

“The results of the analysis show that mHealth is a broad concept that can have several uses and different degrees of pervasiveness in the healthcare process,” the report reads. “Nowadays, mHealth is used in various fields related to chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cancer. However, it is still underutilized in cancer supportive care compared to its potential contribution and mHealth will only be able to support new models of care if it has a high degree of pervasiveness and a wider range of applications.”

The use of mhealth technology is growing across the healthcare landscape. Through the use of these devices, healthcare organizations are able to improve efficiency and the quality of care provided. However, as the reports show, there is clearly much room to grow across multiple aspects of care.

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