How First World and Developing Countries Can Benefit from Mobile Health Apps
The busiest doctors have always been on the move. Staying in one location for a long period is virtually infrequent as they have to go door to door checking on patients, meeting and planning with allied medical professionals, and sometimes even rushing to universities for classes and conferences. Outreach to remote places poses a heightened impossibility. Their limited time and the cumbersome trip they had to endure plus the massive load they had to prepare to take with them like medications and diagnostic devices add up to the repugnance and unaccommodating attitude health care practitioners may take on due to a busy work schedule. Good thing mobile health has been developed to ease up their work load somehow.
Owing to the elusive and impassable suburbs, inhabitants from far-flung places have always been suffering due to lack of immediate rescue especially when unforeseen catastrophe arises. The burden of emerging diseases and their prevalence have cost the lives of young and old, an occurrence that could have been obstructed had there been proper education on the maintenance of good health and an access to medications and consultations. Today, the realization of mobile health and its steady and gradual implementation offers effective means of bringing health services especially to unreached places. While developed countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United States and United Kingdom have been accumulating great benefits from subscribing to mobile health, developing countries such as Uganda, Peru, Rwanda and South Africa which have, according to statistics, have demonstrated high mobile health activity, learned to yield to its large application. Discussed below are several of the fundamental functions where mobile health operates.
Education and awareness is centered in the delivery of short message services or SMS which is a popular method of communication among teenagers and adults alike. In these applications, an SMS is sent directly to the receiver’s phone and is instantly updated on testing and treatment methods, availability of health services, and disease management. It can either be a one-way or two-way communication where subscribers can respond to surveys and engage in health-related education. This is a non-intrusive, private way of educating the people about the verity of certain diseases that may be a taboo and are bound to condemnation by the public. Moreover, the value of obtaining accurate health records surface when practitioners are faced with the quandary of adverse drug reaction emergencies. In order for practitioners to arrive at an informed decision of what medical therapy to prescribe, they have to first learn prior medical records patients have at hand. Data collection is quicker and convenient when sent via mobile phone than mailed or manually submitted. The same holds true for remote monitoring. In an outpatient scenario, practitioners can supervise medication schedule administration through frequent phone calls reminding the patients of their regimens. In Thailand, treatment compliance reached up to 90% because of remote monitoring.
Communication and training for healthcare workers is another application of mobile health. Constantly updating their knowledge keeps them abreast of latest developments and raises their competence level. This occurs when adept professionals preserve communication and continually share encouragement which boosts their efficiency and love for their work. In the National School for Nurses in Coban, Guatemala, their dedication to train Nurses involved the collaborative use of technology to serve this purpose.
Lastly, immediate diagnosis and treatment prescription is handed at once when phones are previously installed with applications framed to assist health care workers in the process of diagnosing and prescribing eliminating the need for a trip to the hospital where it may be beyond the reach for people in certain communities.
Over-all, mobile health has saved both the patient and the practitioner time which can be used in other essential matters.