In the past, we had focused on mHealth in a more general sense. There were discussion of worldwide mHealth stats, how mHealth apps increases the level of patient care, the benefits of doctor-to-doctor apps, real-life success stories of mHealth apps, and more. Here we discuss how mHealth can improve healthcare for children specifically.
1. Real-time monitoring capabilities, which reduces admin costs
Tablets have the capability of monitoring many health-related things. For instance, its accelerometer can be used to track sleep patterns, and its camera can track your heartbeat. This can reduce admin costs because tracking can be done in the comfort of the child’s home. Parents will not only be able to take care of them, but they will also be able to send the doctor updates on medical data. This frees up hospital resources, such as beds and nurses.
2. Easy access to analytical data
Mobile apps can track many things (e.g. number of taps on particular elements, time of taps/recording/use, duration, variables that are monitored in real-time) and provide the data in a hassle-free manner. This allows for more accurate medical plans and adaptations to better reflect the usage stats provided by the app. For instance, if the tablet app indicates that a child’s parents are only available to track health data in the evenings, a doctor will be able to cater their medical advice to fit in with the family’s natural schedule. This will improve compliance rates. As another example, if the analytics show that parents generally do not track their child’s sleep patterns when they were recommended to, that particular module can be revised to again improve compliance rates.
3. Data visualizations, that allow for descriptive conversations with parents
Due to the screen size and speed of a tablet, data can instantly be made into graphs and other easily accessible visual materials. This allows for more effective conversations, since the data can be more easily understood at a glance, especially for those who are not familiar with the field. Furthermore, not only do images and data visualizations capture a child’s attention more successfully than numbers and stats, but similarly to parents not in the medical field, it is easier for them to understand too (think: “This is where you are, and this is where you should/will be.”).
4. Offer positive reinforcement through tablet games, activities etc.
Finally, just for the kids, tablet games can educate children through interactive and fun activities. Anatomy and surgical games will help children better understand medical procedures and help reduce stress. Light-hearted quizzes can help identify gaps in their knowledge.
Glenn, B. (2011). Mobile health apps hold big potential for diabetes management. Retrieved from http://www.modernmedicine.com/modernmedicine/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=790809
Sifferlin, A. (2012). 5 great health apps you should download now. Retrieved from http://healthland.time.com/2012/08/16/5-great-health-apps-you-should-use-now/
What are Native Mobile Apps and Mobile Web Apps?
- A software application developed specifically to run on the architecture of a mobile device, and which is downloaded, purchased, and upgraded through a central distribution portal (such as the App Store).
- Uses web browser technology on the Internet to display a mobile URL on a device, often with a different appearance than the corresponding desktop website.
In the Beginning
The mobile revolution started with basic cell phones that had features such as browser, calendar, calculator, contacts and other functions, which allowed users to utilize tools to organize their content and solve basic problems. The aforementioned applications that were provided by device manufacturers were the beginning of native based apps. The iPhone revolutionized apps by allowing developers to create custom mobile applications based on the iPhone’s existing technology and Apple provided a distribution hub for developers, which allowed iPhone users to download third party mobile applications. Eventually, mobile browsers (a native app… remember that for later) began to evolve, which allowed web apps that could thrive in a browser environment.
Mobile Web Apps Serve a Purpose
Although I work for a mobile development firm that specializes in native development (we can also do complex and custom web apps), I still believe that mobile web apps serve a purpose. As a sole form of mobile media, they are great for basic information, local retail/restaurants and small business. Unfortunately, they lack functionality when it comes to extensive problem solving. For example, many enterprise organizations have existing software infrastructure, therefore developers must integrate software with browser based technology, which can be done but can have its hurdles.
I like to compare integrating existing software systems (API’s) into browser based mobile apps to making salad dressing. Think of existing software as oil and browser based web apps as vinegar. When you make salad dressing you mix oil with vinegar and they come together nicely. After you dress your salad the oil and vinegar separate. Although they are separated they can still be used when shaken up again, but in order to have oil and vinegar become one you must spend time and resources emulsifying the two. Even if they become emulsified, it is still possible they could separate.
Integrating existing software systems into a native based mobile application is similar to mixing sparkling water and orange juice. You pour the orange juice and sparkling water into a cup, give it a stir and you have a very refreshing beverage. If you make a very big jug of sparkling water and orange juice (a large mobile integration project) it is possible you may need to give the jug a stir every once in a while (maintenance). Generally the sparkling water and orange juice integrate fairly well.
What Type of Mobile Applications are going to Solve Problems? Native or Web?
Many types of problems can be solved with mobile technology. The mHealth (mobile health) market is beginning to breakthrough and has the ability to solve world issues. Marketers are beginning to use creative solutions to engage consumers through push messaging and direct mobile marketing. These are only 2 of many problems that are being solved with mobile technology.
“Browser based web apps are reliant on mobile browsers to innovate. Therefore browser based web apps rely on the innovation of native app developers”
The mobile browser is considered a native based application. Therefore in order for browser based web apps to increase functionality they are reliant on a native app. All major device manufacturers and operating systems are aligning their strategy towards native based apps. Apple is not adding extended functionality to Safari (Apple’s mobile browser), considering they recently revamped the entire app store and In July “Apple announced that there are over 650,000 apps on the Apple App Store, up from 600K in April of this year.” (Crook, 2012). Apple is not the only company aligning their strategy toward native based apps. Google announced in June that is had over 600,000 app available in Google Market, Blackberry announced that they have over 99,500 apps in App world and Microsoft announced that they have over 100,000 apps to choose from.
The Bottom Line
A mobile strategy includes a deep integration of all forms of mobile media.Read More
Source: Niobium Labs
Providing doctors with regular readings for chronic illnesses
Truck drivers spend a lot of time on the road, making it difficult for them to visit their doctors – even though they are expected to be in excellent health. 50 year old David Jesse was a truck driver who’s newly recurring headaches finally pushed him into seeing a doctor. He discovered that the headaches were due to high blood pressure, which can be treated with medication. However, medication for high blood pressure are tailored to the individual, which requires regular visits to the doctor. As a truck driver, Jesse could not do that. So, he used mobile technology to measure his blood pressure and to update his doctor periodically — all while he was on the go. This way, his doctor could remotely monitor his response to the medicine.
Assessing physical damage to athletes while they’re at a game
Concussions, depending on the severity, may lead to death. At a football game, a doctor was able to assess an athlete after possible concussion by strapping an iPad to him. A concussion is defined as a swaying at the hips of more than 30 degrees. The accelerometer feature in the iPad native app provided an objective measure of the athlete’s hip sway, reducing false positive diagnoses, but also allowing them to catch hidden concussions as well.
Real-time remote care
Dr. John Halamka is a toxicologist specializing in mushroom poisoning. No matter where he is around the world, he can be contacted to consult on a case. With the use of his iPhone, he can quickly identify the species, and send a treatment plan.
Park, A. (2012, August 16). How to carry your doctor in your pocket. Retrieved from http://techland.time.com/2012/08/16/how-to-carry-your-doctor-in-your-pocket/
Pickert, K. (2012, August 16). TIME’s mobile tech issue: Better care delivered by iPad, M.D.. Retrieved from http://healthland.time.com/2012/08/16/doctors-using-ipads/
Reducing avoidable admissions in 11 potentially avoidable conditions equates to an ~$9.5 million gain in hospitals. These 11 avoidable admission conditions can be reduced with outpatient care and early intervention – imagine the amount of other avoidable admission conditions that can be reduced by having doctors coordinate with patients through mHealth apps!Read More