Telemedicine, Telehealth, and now mHealth: The Technological Benefits of Mobile Health in...

Telemedicine, Telehealth, and now mHealth: The Technological Benefits of Mobile Health in Minority Communities

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With all the mobile apps and resources available for games, entertainment and media, have you ever thought about the impact that mobile apps could have on your health? Introducing mHealth, the term used to describe the use of your mobile phone for health. The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies released a report entitled “Minorities, Mobile Broadband, and the Management of Chronic Diseases,” which evaluates the vast potential of mobile broadband technologies to help address our nation’s most pressing health concerns.

Currently, chronic diseases disproportionately affect minority communities. These diseases include diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and obesity to name a few. The CDC reports that each year 7 out of 10 Americans die from illnesses related to chronic disease. Heart disease, cancer, and stroke account for more than 50% of all deaths in the US. In 2007, $2.2 trillion was spent on healthcare in the US, with $1.7 trillion spent to prevent and treat chronic illnesses. Eventhough chronic diseases affect minority communities disproportionately, many individuals lack the ability to effectively treat and monitor their health due to geographic, financial, cultural and linguistic barriers. Considering these facts, mHealth is our answer to breaking down these barriers.

People of color lead the way in mobile access, especially with handheld devices. 64% of African Americans and 63% of Latinos are wireless Internet users and more likely to own a cell phone than their white counterparts. A minority patient’s access to a smartphone or tablet and health app can enhance doctor-patient communication and empower patients to make informed healthcare decisions. Some current mobile apps include Mobile MIM, a remote diagnostic imaging tool that doctors can use to evaluate and manage imagining scans. There’s also Vocel’s Pill Phone which allows patients to view information on their medications and Quick MT which helps patients understand medical terminology.

Some of the report’s policy recommendations include:
• Ensure universal access to mobile broadband for households in both unserved and underserved areas.
• Reform regulatory barriers that limit the use of non-traditional medical treatment.
• Create incentives for physicians to use mobile broadband-enabled technologies for current and preventative care.
• Avoid excessive and regressive taxation on wireless goods and services.

For more information, please review the “Minorities, Mobile Broadband and the Management of Chronic Diseases” report: http://www.jointcenter.org/sites/default/files/upload/research/files/Minorities%20Mobile%20Broadband%20and%20the%20Management%20of%20Chronic%20Diseases_0.pdf

10 COMMENTS

    • Telehealth and mhealth provided via mobile smart phones have the potential to bring healthcare to underserved patient populations. The use of a healthcare app can enable a physician to monitor chronic conditions but also to help triage and guide patients appropriately to the right specialist. For example, teledermatology can enable dermatologists to diagnose and even treat acute conditions such as acne, rashes, allergic reactions and also help monitor patients who have chronic skin conditions psoriasis or eczema. Teledermatology can decrease the amount of time that a patient misses from work while providing an accurate, timely diagnosis. I hope that more mobile applications will be translated into Spanish to help serve the growing Hispanic patient population.

  1. Telehealth and mhealth provided via mobile smart phones has the potential to bring healthcare to underserved patient populations. The use of a healthcare app can enable a physician to monitor chronic conditions but also to help triage and guide patients appropriately to the right specialist. For example, teledermatology can enable dermatologists to diagnosis and even treat acute conditions such as acne, rashes, allergic reactions and also help monitor patients who have chronic skin conditions psoriasis or eczema. Teledermatology can decrease the amount of time that a patient misses from work while providing an accurate, timely diagnosis. I hope that more mobile applications will be translated into Spanish to help serve the growing Hispanic patient population.

    • Jaspal- Very good and comprehensive artlice. We are a start up business in San Francisco building an intelligent decision support mobile system for health care. We’re all former players in mobile banking and are now applying those learnings to health care. Would like to have a chance to talk to you about what we do and what you all are doing at Gobee. Dave Crosbee

    • I totally agree. As most common illness’s now can be diagnosed with just a phone call to the the doctor – sinus conditions, flue etc. I had an issue recently where my son had a fever, swollen throat glands and just feeling bad. I use a service I found at http://icalladoctor.net/ in which after joining I call a doctor and get a diagnosis and get his proscription sent to my pharmacy. Very minimal membership cost. He did not have to miss school. I have access to a doctor 24/7. With 4 kids it’s a great asset – saving us money and time.

  2. […] With all the mobile apps and resources available for games, entertainment and media, have you ever thought about the impact that mobile apps could have on your health? Introducing mHealth, the term used to describe the use of your mobile phone for health. The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies released a report titled “Minorities, Mobile Broadband, and the Management of Chronic Diseases,” which evaluates the vast potential of mobile broadband technologies to help address our nation’s most pressing health concerns.   READ MORE . . . […]

  3. Hey Myron, If you got the braces put in at VA it is VA that shulod remove the braces ! So contact your local VA hospital for information. If VA did not put the braces in maybe you shulod try to contact whoever it was that sent you to the people that put the braces in. Or contact your VA represenative for possible guidence from them. If you have very limited income you very well may qualify for assistance form Medicaid, so go to your local office and inquire there for help. Also, try VA if you have very limited income. It seems to me that if you leave braces on too long it could cause some possibly serious problems and needs to be taken care of soon. Myron I just thought I would send you this reply and give you some possible ideas to check on. Good Luck to you man. And thank you for serving our country young man and keep your head up and never,NEVER give up on anything man !!!! OKAY. No matter what kind of help you may need make sure you go get the help you need without worrying about what others may say man. Later Myron, Mike Jarrett fellow veteran

  4. Excellent article firmang the trends, advantages and role of mHealth. Indeed, consumers are leading this charge. Sensors and devices (or apps which perform those functions) will populate records on the phone or in the Cloud, but these same records will benefit from connecting to provider and payer data sources. High adoption of the Kaiser patient portal is being enhanced by mobile access – a great example of a portal and mHealth working hand-in-hand. I believe it isn’t that mHealth will replace PHRs, but will finally facilitate their use and adoption, even as PHRs might become unrecognizable – just a database in the background fed by a flurry of condition-based health, wellness and fitness apps and devices, as well as provider/payer sources. Thank you for your leadership in mHealth, and the HIMSS mHealth book!

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