mHealth (also written as m-health or mobile health) is a term used for the practice of medicine and public health, supported by mobile devices. The term is most commonly used in reference to using mobile communication devices, such as mobile phones, tablet computers and PDAs, for health services and information, but also to affect emotional states. The mHealth field has emerged as a sub-segment of eHealth, the use of information and communication technology (ICT), such as computers, mobile phones, communications satellite, patient monitors, etc., for health services and information. mHealth applications include the use of mobile devices in collecting community and clinical health data, delivery of healthcare information to practitioners, researchers, and patients, real-time monitoring of patient vital signs, and direct provision of care (via mobile telemedicine).
While mHealth certainly has application for industrialized nations, the field has emerged in recent years as largely an application for developing countries, stemming from the rapid rise of mobile phone penetration in low-income nations. The field, then, largely emerges as a means of providing greater access to larger segments of a population in developing countries, as well as improving the capacity of health systems in such countries to provide quality healthcare.
Within the mHealth space, projects operate with a variety of objectives, including increased access to healthcare and health-related information (particularly for hard-to-reach populations); improved ability to diagnose and track diseases; timelier, more actionable public health information; and expanded access to ongoing medical education and training for health workers.
According to the analyst firm Berg Insight, around 2.8 million patients worldwide were using a home monitoring service based on equipment with integrated connectivity at the end of 2012. The figure does not include patients that use monitoring devices connected to a PC or mobile phone. It only includes systems that rely on monitors with integrated connectivity or systems that use monitoring hubs with integrated cellular or fixed-line modems. Berg Insight forecasts that the number of home monitoring systems with integrated communication capabilities will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.9 percent between 2011 and 2017 reaching 9.4 million connections globally by the end of the forecast period. The number of these devices that have integrated cellular connectivity increased from 0.73 million in 2011 to about 1.03 million in 2012, and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 46.3 percent to 7.10 million in 2017.
- ↑ Cipresso, P.; Serino S., Villani D., Repetto C., Selitti L., Albani G., Mauro A., Gaggioli A., Riva G. (2012). "Is your phone so smart to affect your states? An exploratory study based on psychophysiological measures". Neurocomputing 84: 23–30.
- ↑ Vital Wave Consulting (February 2009). mHealth for Development: The Opportunity of Mobile Technology for Healthcare in the Developing World. United Nations Foundation, Vodafone Foundation. p. 9.
- ↑ Germanakos P., Mourlas C., & Samaras G. "A Mobile Agent Approach for Ubiquitous and Personalized eHealth Information Systems" Proceedings of the Workshop on 'Personalization for e-Health' of the 10th International Conference on User Modeling (UM'05). Edinburgh, July 29, 2005, pp. 67–70