Health technology is a new way of focusing on healthcare by improving efficiency, effectiveness, and safety, especially mobile technology. If you’re new to this area, here’s an overview of what you should know and consider.
What Is Health Technology?
If you’re unfamiliar, healthcare reform refers to changes made to the US healthcare system to make it more affordable and sustainable through expanding insurance coverage and decreasing out-of-pocket spending (OOP).
In the last few years, we’ve seen a rise in health technology and tech-enabled products in healthcare, including electronic health records (EHRs) and mobile health (mHealth) apps. These products help doctors and patients provide better care through advanced communication and data analysis. Tools like the Apple Watch can help monitor and track vital signs like heart rate and blood pressure. In contrast, Fitbit and other activity trackers help individuals keep track of their physical activity levels.
Why Is Mobile Health Important?
The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that an increasing number of healthcare services will be provided through mobile health applications. This increase is attributed to the growing number of people adopting smartphones and the widespread availability of mobile healthcare apps.
However, not all mobile health apps are created equal, so it’s important to consider the factors that make up a successful mHealth app. These include the following:
- Ease of use of health technology and applications
- Engagement of users
- Data integrity
- Continuity of care (no matter what device is used)
If your mHealth app doesn’t address these areas, you leave much room for potential problems. If you’re still unclear on what makes up mobile health, check out these articles from The New York Times to get an idea of what is happening in the field.
Types Of Mobile Health Apps
To get started in mobile health, it’s important to know the various types of apps and their similarities and differences. Some of the more common types of mobile health apps include the following:
- Basic (for simple tasks)
- Advanced (for complex tasks)
- Caret (for medical tasks)
- Secure (for storing confidential patient data)
As you can see, all of these apps require different levels of effort to use. However, you should have the option to choose the complex user interface you want for your app. If security is a concern and you need your patients to be able to use the app easily, then you can choose a more basic UI and possibly lose some of the advanced features.
Who Is Using Mobile Health?
In today’s world, the lines between healthcare, fitness, and tech have blurred, and it shows in the increasing number of people using mHealth apps. The rise in mobile health use among adults is evident in the numbers. More adults now use mobile phones to get health information, while others have incorporated virtual wellness coaching into their stress-reduction programs. While older adults are using mobile health apps, millennials are growing in prominence as healthcare consumers. This trend is attributed to the generation’s familiarity with digital culture and the ease with which they can find and engage with healthcare providers via the internet.
How Is Mobile Health Being Used?
Here’s how people are using mobile health apps:
- Wearable technology (like fitness trackers) to analyze or track their health
- Use social media to find health information
- Read online reviews of health apps
- Ask physicians or other healthcare providers for help
This usage pattern is not surprising when you consider that most apps are made by pharmaceutical companies, tech companies, or medical device manufacturers to provide better care, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. These same companies often provide health insurance coverage, so their continued support is tied to the well-being of their customers (and bottom lines).
If you’re looking for a place to start your search for the perfect mobile health app, check out the Google Play Store. The search giant offers many options, from basic fitness trackers to smartphone apps that analyze your sleep quality and pattern to medical apps that help manage various complex conditions.
You can also use the App Store to find the perfect mHealth app for your condition, whether it’s sleep apnea, diabetes, or asthma.
While the Google Play Store provides a great starting point for finding a perfect mHealth app, it’s also important to be wary of the apps that hide behind a clean face. Be careful not to download any app that offers a promise of quick weight loss or offers to ‘cure’ any disease. These apps are often created by marketers who see the mHealth industry as a massive ‘undiscovered’ consumer market and often put unsubstantiated claims on their websites or within the app itself.
These apps often come with steep shipping charges, so make sure you’re aware of those before making a purchase. You should also download any app you’re interested in using, as this will help you determine its true functionality before committing. If you have doubts about the app, it’s not as good as you think.
As you can see, mobile health involves much more than just smartphone apps. It also includes wearable technology, which is why most people choose to use these types of items when they want to utilize the services of a mobile health app. The popularity of mobile health is evident in the numbers, as seen in the pie charts above. In 2022, healthcare, fitness, and tech will be closely tied together, as mobile health apps will help individuals get the most out of their training sessions and allow healthtech and healthcare providers to provide better care through advanced communication and data analysis.