Over the years, more patients have invested their trust in digital health tools. In March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was starting to take shape, the CDC reported a 154% increase in telehealth visits. That’s primarily thanks to the development of mobile health apps–also known as mHealth apps. Progressive utilization of these technologies has sparked a revolution in all aspects of the healthcare industry.
The Definition of mHealth?
Mobile health is a generic term in the field of telehealth. It employs the use of mobile healthcare applications, or wireless technologies in general, to deliver virtual healthcare. mHealth apps are changing the way that doctors treat their patients. This wildly popular innovation in the healthcare industry is going through constant reforms to develop a solid virtual network, and ensure a seamless connection between doctors and patients.
What gives this concept a pragmatic approach is the fact that over 4.68 billion people use mobile phones. Google Play alone hosts over 47,000 mobile health apps.
Thus, the provision of worldwide healthcare via mobile health apps will soon become one of the medical industry’s most practical notions.
How Mobile Health & Telehealth Differ
The main difference between mobile health and telehealth is that telehealth refers to a broad spectrum of technologies employed in healthcare. In contrast, mobile health pertains to the use of mobile phones only for accessing desired healthcare.
Telehealth strengthens the clinical model even though it is a non-clinical service. Patients are offered various health solutions for their problems via different technological modalities. Mobile health is a consumer-focused category of telehealth where patients can track their health and extract essential data about themselves.
This study emphasizes the need to explore the mobile health industry in-depth to equip individuals to monitor their health. Mobile health empowers the user to monitor their health safely, whereas telehealth primarily relies on the involvement of a physician or healthcare provider to provide consultations and share their medical expertise.
Telehealth conveys extensive and problem-focused information to the patient that is influenced by a healthcare provider or a similar alternative. Mobile health mostly delivers generic information via mHealth apps for patients.
The Similarities Between Mobile Health & Telehealth
Mobile health and telehealth have the same backbone: technology. They share a common goal to make healthcare accessible, reliable, and convenient. Both also demand a medical user interface and pertinent technology.
The two facilities are designed to ensure better patient health and monitoring. Also, these techno-influenced medical reforms have the common aim to reduce the cost of care and provide healthcare remotely, regardless of a patient’s location.
Current mHealth Trends
Technological standards are constantly changing; we witness brighter, more innovative advancements in the healthcare industry with each cycle. Listed below are a few developments that enable and empower the mobile health industry to grow further.
Stakeholders in the Healthcare Industry are Investing Now More Than Ever
Ever since the pandemic took over the world, industrialists have realized the fragility of our healthcare system. COVID-19 has impacted every level of the healthcare sector and has highlighted prominent flaws in our approaches.
The need for a virtual healthcare domain is even direr, considering the workload of frontline healthcare workers. Therefore, incoming investments in the telehealth and mHealth sectors have become inevitable.
Cloud Computing for Data Records
Gone are the days of having piles of registrars on hand to record and store extensive patient data. Before the rise of telehealth, physicians would spend their valuable time extracting the data that they needed.
Cloud-computing tools have equipped healthcare professionals to bypass the use of paper and contribute to a sustainable society. Not only is this an environmental-friendly health trend, but it’s also one that caters to a much-needed convenience.
The Use of Artificial Intelligence for mHealth
There’s also a bigger demand for technologies mHealth that mimic human cognitive abilities. This is where revolutionary AI comes in. AI possesses the ability to analyze, comprehend, and present medical data in an accurate manner. This commendable reform has established a successful coalition between technology and medicine.
Reimbursing Healthcare Expenses via mHealth Apps
The ‘fee-for-service’ model is now transitioning to value-based care. This has led to a number of favorable fiscal changes for providers and patients. Certain insurance companies, including Aetna International, now offer reimbursement for healthcare expenses via mHealth apps. This reform will bear fruition slowly, but surely.
Apt & Swift Healthcare Delivery
The dominance of telehealth and mHealth guarantees a relief of burden on the healthcare force. This, coupled with the increasing number of physicians in 2022, ensures patients’ timely and appropriate healthcare delivery.
5G and Healthcare
Every person deserves equal access to quality healthcare. The need to access patients who cannot afford daily commutes, or are stranded in remote areas, is of utmost importance to many healthcare providers. 5G can ensure excellent communication between doctors and remote patients. It will also allow smoother implementation of telehealth and mobile healthcare models.
Replacement of Pagers with Mobile Phones
Pagers are unreliable and have also become an antiquated communication device. Their inability to make two-way exchanges renders them incompetent in the modern era. Mobile phones can better ensure premium two-way exchanges at a low cost. This study concludes that 85% of physicians use mobile devices in a wide variety of clinical settings, including hospitals, to aid their convenience.
Live Call Routing
Live call routing enables a patient to contact a healthcare provider with one touch of a button. It provides rapid healthcare access to address time-sensitive situations. This reform is gaining pace and further brightening the prospects of mHealth.
Categories of mHealth apps
Informational mHealth Apps
Informational apps enable healthcare providers to keep track of their patient’s progress without the patient having to visit them in a clinical setting – like Trapollo’s own RPM software offerings and solutions. Information such as heart rate, respiratory rate, blood glucose levels, and more can be evaluated by an informational mHealth app.
Diagnostic mHealth apps
Diagnostic apps allow the healthcare provider to share, discuss, and export the patient’s data to relevant areas. Most of this data is recorded in the Electronic Health Record (EHR) system.
Examples of diagnostic data may include laboratory tests such as blood tests, urine tests, etc. Some diagnostic mHealth apps have a built-in, symptom-checking technology that allows physicians to evaluate the patient’s health appropriately, and schedule them accordingly.
Monitoring mHealth apps
Most lifestyle apps are monitoring mHealth apps. They’re used to track exercise progress, the number of steps taken in a day, dieting habits, and more.
Internet of Things (IoT) mHealth apps
IoT apps need devices or adapters that need to be plugged in. They relay accurate information to the mHealth app that they are synced with. IoT apps are similar to diagnostic mHealth apps, but they are more reliable and expensive.
Examples of IoT devices in healthcare include:
- Glucose monitoring
- Parkinson’s disease monitoring
- Heart-rate monitoring
- Connected inhalers
- Connected contact lenses
- Hand hygiene monitoring
- Depression and mood monitoring
- Ingestible sensors
- Robotic surgery
What are the Benefits of Mobile Health Applications?
The benefits of mHealth apps don’t just pertain to patients, but also healthcare providers. Here are ways that they have benefited all aspects of the healthcare industry.
Seamless Data Collection
Thanks to connected health, nearly any patient file or record can be made available with the tap of a button. Healthcare providers can now focus on their patients rather than rummaging through their records.
Better Control of Health
Patients assess and manage their health more efficiently when they have all the stats in front of them. mHealth grants them the authority to govern their health independently.
Less Costly & Time-Saving
Telehealth can provide patients with wider access to quality healthcare. It also allows patients to conserve gas money, energy, and time. Cost-effectiveness is one of the most beneficial aspects of telehealth, especially for individuals who struggle with fatiguing chronic illnesses.
Seamless Communication Between Patients, Providers, and Pharmacists
Pharmaceutical industries can form a coalition with healthcare workers to explore endless business opportunities. The launch of mHealth apps and the establishment of sustainable virtual health consultation platforms are some of the newly born opportunities in this sector.
Fewer Human Errors
When everything is computed and technologically managed, there are fewer chances of human errors occurring. For example, a large influx of patients in the triage department can lead to mismanagement of raw data and patient records. If left unchecked, patients could possibly receive a wrong prescription or a misdiagnosed report card.
With cloud computing of data, physicians can easily track each patient’s progress without making human errors. This would allow your staff to focus on their strengths instead of organizing and tracking patient histories.
How to Remotely Manage Chronic Diseases
Chronic conditions demand frequent hospital visits, regular check-ups, and routine tests. In addition to this, they are also quite costly to patients. Mobile health apps are set out to change that. Managing chronic conditions via mobile health apps can improve the patient’s lifestyle while lowering expenditure. There are different technologies that patients can use to manage a chronic disease or condition.
This program requires patients to update their vitals and other necessary details onto a portal. These portals are user-friendly and allow a healthcare provider to easily evaluate the patient’s progress on the disease. With the information provided from a patient’s submission, physicians are more equipped to prescribe appropriate medications and properly service the patient based on their needs.
Remote Patient Monitoring
With the use of this powerful engagement tool and medical technology in the mobile health industry, physicians can monitor and coordinate with their patients flawlessly. They can also deliver premium healthcare advice, medications, and therapies remotely.
Chronic Diseases Management via IoT
This is where the role of IoT devices can favorably come into play. These devices relay important information needed to evaluate and manage the condition of an at-home patient. While monitoring a condition, the physician can schedule their patient for a physical appointment when necessary.
Diseases & Chronic Conditions That mHealth Apps Can Benefit
The availability of mobile phones has extended to even low and middle-income countries. Thus, a variety of diseases and chronic conditions can be virtually screened worldwide. Chronic diseases are those that prevail beyond a period of one year. Such diseases demand frequent hospital visits, regular check-ups, and multiple lifestyle changes deemed necessary by a physician.
mHealth can help influence the patient’s awareness of their condition, lifestyle interventions, clinical decisions, medication adherence, screening regimens, and rehabilitation support efficiently. Individuals suffering from chronic diseases have sought mHealth as a convenient and affordable approach for managing their disease.
The use of telecommunications and videoconferencing have allowed convenient monitoring of the following diseases:
- Colds and Flu
- Arthritic Pain
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Cardiovascular Diseases (e.g., Coronary heart disease)
- Chronic kidney diseases
Experience Trapollo’s Robust Contribution to mHealth
Trapollo is an end-to-end connected health solutions provider. It offers a broad range of mobile healthcare and telehealth solutions.
Our powerful techno-medical framework extensively governs everything from program design to patient support and logistics.
Our bring-your-own-device (BYOD) solution–in partnership with m.Care – engages patients and clinical staff seamlessly via a mobile application. The app is available for both iPhone and Android users. Healthcare providers can even monitor COVID-positive patients remotely.
Trapollo is successfully led by a powerful group of technologically-influenced individuals that know the ins and outs of Telehealth. Click here to learn more about our solutions.