In the 17th century, there was a technological revolution in the medical field when the microscope was perfected to the point of allowing the discovery of the cell. Since then, new technological advances have emerged, and among them is the mobile technology, which is expanding rapidly and impacting all of the healthcare network across the globe.
The definition of mobile technology consists of portable two-way communications devices and the networking technology that connects them. When applied to medicine, it can be referred to as m-health (mobile health), providing a series of benefits. Through it, health professionals are able to carry out telediagnosis, teleconsultations and teleinterconsultations. Patients in cities without assistance can have access to specialist doctors and highly specific tests, and the professional can view a patient’s exams from anywhere, extending service to underserved areas. This technology is able to improve chronic disease management, empower the elderly, remind patients to take medication at the proper time and upgrade the medical system efficiency. Therefore, m-health allows cost savings for clinics and hospitals, saves time and benefits both professionals in the field as well as patients.
In the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic, this tool has been very useful to help reduce the risk of transmission and contamination. It can decrease unnecessary travels for medical consultations and limit the number of individuals grouping in waiting rooms, as it makes possible to detect and guide suspected patients through a video or phone call, apart from allowing follow-up of mild confirmed cases from home. Also, the provision of mental health support through telehealth can help patients maintain psychological well-being, as the isolation degrades normal social support systems.
However, the m-health is a way to complement, not replace, the face-to-face medical treatment. Also, it presents some big obstacles concerning privacy and data security, due to the possibility of confidential patient data being lost or accessed without permission. Besides, some people just don’t feel comfortable with this new technology yet. Therefore, the conservative nature of the healthcare sector demands that change occurs slowly. Still, even though it needs an increased infrastructure, this helpful tool offers great potential improvements to the healthcare system.
Originally published at europeansting