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Healthcare goes mobile! How can mobile technology empower both patients and save money to the providers?

Published: 2019-01-25

The number of health apps has doubled in the last 3 years to over 318 000 on the top app stores worldwide!*

Taking into consideration higher smartphone penetration percentage every year, top pharma companies and governmental healthcare institutions have been investing more and more into mobile solutions.

  • Mobile healthcare reduces the cost of services, improving the clinical outcome and the patient’s independence.
  • Apps like MovereX External link. help patients follow the doctor’s prescription and stay healthier.
  • Finnish government introduced e-administration app External link.that also allows easy access to healthcare related documents like prescriptions.
  • Collecting big data in healthcare can improve the knowledge about the diseases or even reduce the time reaction during epidemy.

Why is mobile health crucial?

Healthcare industry is especially interested in improving their systems to focus attention on using clinical and non-clinical information. By providing mobile solutions, institutions not only minimize costs of their services but also improve outcome and raise the patient’s independence through self-management of their health and well-being. Patients are delighted with the access to health apps since they find them trustworthy, easy to use and handy. The e-health providers note a huge time-save within paperwork which gives them time, for example, to visit more patients.

The cost-effective aspect of introducing mobile solutions in healthcare is enormous taking into consideration the maintenance of hardware and software that requires skilled personnel and repeated capital expenditures to keep up with the demands. Moreover, the data flow is smooth, and there is a deeper insight into the patient’s history, as well as it makes the user’s journey easier and far more effective. Technology has the power to improve access to healthcare services, especially for people with mobility problems. In the Healthcare industry, there are lots of examples where mobile solutions have already been successfully used.

It all starts with wellness

It is well known and scientifically proven that exercise is one of the methods to prevent and reduce a vast number of health issues as physical inactivity is one of the ten most significant risk factors contributing to their early onset. To counteract sedentary life, more and more physicians and physiotherapists use Physical Activity on Prescription (FaR®). The world of wellness, exercise or sport apps is already vast. Lots of people train with their smartphones already. But there is also a way to motivate patients to follow the prescriptions as well as monitor their activity by the caregivers.

An app called MovereX makes it smooth and easy. Changing the lifestyle may be hard to start, but the app supports the patient in the process, making him feel well cared for and motivated to achieve their interim goals in the treatment. The app shows the activity times and intensity levels thanks to the wearable bracelet, helping to accomplish activity that will provide health benefits. The most attractive part, for both patient and prescriber, is that the data can be viewed remotely, giving a possibility to provide feedback to the patient through personal messages or being able to offer support when it is needed.

The number of wearable solutions and apps for patients is growing all the time, and the market provides other solutions, like contact lenses that monitor glucose level, smart pills to observe medication intaking behaviours, wrist bands for the heartbeat, blood pressure, seizure detection – and this is just the beginning!

Integrated mobile healthcare – from paper to digital

According to Eurostat, Finland is the leader among countries benefiting from the digital transformation. Other statistics* show that smartphone usage in that country has grown in the last five years by around 33% – which is a considerable increase. That is why both private and public sector put their focus on delivering more mobile solutions for the citizens.

At the moment, the Finnish government introduced both computer and mobile versions of an e-administration platform suomi.fi through which it is possible to have a quick access to different documents. Sick leaves and medical prescriptions are available within the range of a smartphone, without unnecessary paper trail. The suomi.fi External link. government app has been active since June 2018, and the users emphasize the extraordinary convenience with which they can receive their documents.

Same mobile services designed for the public healthcare systems are being introduced in Poland. The growing opportunities associated with technology make the implementation of such digitization solutions more and more effective. Public administration has a crucial role in supporting digital processes.

Improving healthcare through the screen

Most of the pharmaceutical companies are already using many apps to collect patient’s data. It leads to a better understanding of the health issues for the researchers, leading to improvement of medications, as well as giving a possibility to offer a more holistic service.

It can be easily seen especially in developing countries that still have large, remote and disconnected communities with low per capita spend on healthcare, struggling with a high number of infectious and increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases. Innovating the healthcare system with mobile solutions when the infrastructure is still limited offers a massive opportunity for the developers.

Africa, where there are around 15 doctors per 100 000 inhabitants, and more than half of the population lives in areas with no or limited access to medical facilities – is an excellent example of such a market. In countries where tuberculosis, malaria or pregnancy-related problems cause around 3 million deaths per year – the mobile penetration (which stands now at 43% and until 2020 is expected to hit over half a billion) gives a chance to introduce mobile healthcare solutions. Countries like Kenya, Botswana or Mali have already launched mobile technology to improve antiretroviral medication compliance, reduce the government response time to malaria outbreaks (from 4 months to 3 minutes) and spread awareness to prevent perinatal and maternal mortality by 30 %. ***

Diagnostics future?

Mobile solutions are already helping to evolve and improve the healthcare, putting their focus on patients. The decreasing cost of the technology and an increasing number of smartphone users around the world is making this trend become a reality.

The mobile trend can evolve strongly in laboratory diagnostics which is an extremely fragmented market still heading towards consolidation. The primary challenge here will be to maintain the same availability of services. Diagnostics is also under-funded, especially in the public sector and it has to find its way to new market solutions. Mobile technologies will impact and resolve these problems. Already laboratories make “results” available online and POCT (Point-of-care testing) is a fast-rising trend, also based on mobility. This is just the beginning of the possibilities that mobile technologies give us. We bet that in 10 years the diagnostics market will look completely different and today is the moment when companies may even partially disrupt themselves to get prepared for it.

*https://liquid-state.com/mhealth-apps-market-snapshot/ External link.

**https://www.statista.com/statistics/568091/predicted-smartphone-user-penetration-rate-in-finland/ External link.

*** https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/uk/Documents/life-sciences-health-care/deloitte-uk-connected-health.pdf External link.


Posted by: Michał Grabarz