mHealth Monthly Mashup: release 1.0 – an introductory mHealth Q & A

Michael Spitz

 

Ignite Health

 

Welcome to the mHealth Monthly Mashup on pharmaphorum, with your host Michael Spitz, VP of Digital Strategy at Ignite Health in New York City, New York.

 

The objective of mMM is to provide you with the latest developments in the continuously evolving field of mobile healthcare, inclusive of the people, technology, medical science, and regulatory environment. Each month we’ll check-in with hot news, app reviews, expert opinions, feedback, and other means to ensure you stay on the pulse of all things mHealth.

 

Throughout we’ll strive to tie it all back to the pharmaphorum goal of creating dialogue to help in the discovery of new medicines, diagnostics, and other treatments. Fuelled by our passion for all things healthcare communications and technology, we’ll nonetheless keep our ultimate goal of improved patient outcomes and quality of life top of mind.

 

So let’s turn on and synch our computers, smartphones, tablets, and gadgets, and help usher in a revolution in the way scientists, academics, healthcare professionals, patients, caregivers, and even the general public are accessing, analyzing, sharing, and gradually transforming medical information and science through their mobile devices.

 

“Each month we’ll check-in with hot news, app reviews, expert opinions, feedback, and other means to ensure you stay on the pulse of all things mHealth.”

 

 

What is “mHealth”?

 

Let’s begin at the beginning, in this case by defining our terms and their origins. “mHealth” seems to have been coined by Robert Istepanian, a Professor of Data Communications at Kingston University London. His simple definition is also the most cited: “mHealth is emerging mobile communications and network technologies for healthcare.”

 

Used synonymously and interchangeably with “mobile health,” mHealth is often portrayed as the mobile subset of eHealth, the electronic practice of healthcare in all its myriad forms and expressions. But mHealth significantly differs from its parent eHealth in the manner it has revolutionized the way healthcare information can be collected, analyzed, and shared.

 

How has mHealth evolved?

 

The development of mHealth is somewhat ironic and surprising in the sense that early adopters featured emergency physicians most in need of actionable medical data at the point of care, and professionals and patients in developing countries who to this day have better access to cellular phones and wireless networks than computers and the Internet.

 

As a result, the evolution of mHealth has split between increasingly sophisticated applications for smartphones and tablets on the one hand, and novel ways to make the most out of very basic functionality, such as text messaging, on the other. Whereas the latter has cumulatively had the most impact, the former drives the field and will interest us the most.

 

“For the first time in history the technology we use to communicate supplements how we naturally communicate”

 

 

Why is mHealth relevant?

 

Mobile health is a convergence of healthcare and technology in a manner that is profoundly transforming the way we understand and apply both. As the FDA begins to approve professional mHealth apps, Apple features them in advertisements, and medical schools issue preloaded iPads, mHealth has risen to the very forefront of health and medicine.

 

Central to this paradigm shift is the notion that mHealth is reflective of the way physicians, patients, and caregivers naturally interact with and utilize healthcare information. For the first time in history the technology we use to communicate supplements how we naturally communicate: not bound to a particular location, with seamless interactivity between users.

 

How is mHealth being used?

 

Within a few short years mHealth development has been nothing short of astonishing: Pharmaceutical, medical device, biotech, independent firms, and healthcare systems have created apps for professionals and consumers covering the spectrum from diagnostics to wellness, disease management, telemedicine, emergency response, and many others.

 

In terms of form and functionality the new apps and optimized mobile sites take advantage of smartphone and tablet technologies and incorporate tools from biosensors for diagnostics, geolocation for positioning, and the capability to interface with sophisticated IT infrastructure including electronic medical records (EMR) and other resident information systems.

 

“Within a few short years mHealth development has been nothing short of astonishing…”

 

 

Where can I find mHealth examples and resources?

 

The Web is replete with mHealth information, much of it a Google search and two or three clicks away. Academic websites, mHealth advocacy organizations, and wikis abound, not to mention descriptions and downloads direct from the Apple App Store and Android Markets. A few noteworthy mHealth resource sites worthy of bookmarking include:

• iMedicalApps (http://www.imedicalapps.com/)

Mobile Medical App Reviews and Commentary by medical professionals. An independent online medical publication written by a team of physicians and medical students who provide objective commentary and reviews of the latest mHealth apps and resources, receiving over 400,000 views a month.

• mobihealthnews (http://mobihealthnews.com/)

Offers a combination of breaking news, exclusive interviews, live event coverage and industry commentary to its growing readership of hospital administrators, healthcare service providers, physicians, nurses and the industry players designing, developing and deploying the wireless services that are transforming healthcare today.

• mHealth Wikilist: VitalmHealth (http://www.vitalmhealth.com/mobile-apps-in-health-care)

Comprehensive, user-submitted listing focused on tracking and organizing mobile solutions (applications, mobile web, and sms/txt) in the medical device, pharmaceutical, wellness, and biotech industries, supported by a mobile-first digital agency specializing in healthcare.

• Twitter Hashtag Threads: #mhealth, #mobile, #healthIT

Search these tags or set them up as filters on your Twitter applications such as TweetDeck and HootSuite to track the latest developments in real time across all aspects of mobile health in streams shared by enthusiastic mHealth developers, strategists, bloggers, and reviewers from around the world.

What’s next on the mHealth Monthly Mashup?

 

Please share you feedback in the comment fields below, and any recommendations you may have regarding coverage of subjects within the field of mHealth. In the upcoming months your ideas will be shared and questions answered, along with deeper explorations into mobile health applications, channels, and key opinion leader points of view.

 

Until then, keep tapping!

 

Part 2 of this article can be viewed here.

 

 

About the author:

 

Michael Spitz is VP of Digital Strategy at Ignite Health, with offices located in New York City, New York, and Irvine, California. Spitz combines his passion for technology with more than 15 years of clinical content expertise to help engineer healthcare communications solutions across numerous treatment areas for many of the pharmaceutical industry’s major companies. Follow @SpitzStrategy on Twitter for his daily – often hourly – updates on all things digital for the ultimate benefit of patients worldwide.

 

What subjects do you want to see covered within the mHealth field?