mHealth Rapidly Becoming A Global Movement

Eric Wicklund | mHealth News | December 6, 2013

While mHealth technology may be saving lives in places like Africa and the Caribbean, in Europe, Asia and Australia the results aren't so dramatic. Healthcare is already an established industry there, and the adoption of mHealth tools and services is following a more gradual path. The emphasis there is on improving lives and healthcare management, rather than preventing a stillborn death or heading off a malaria epidemic.

Still, Chuck Parker, executive director for the Continua Health Alliance, a 200-member international consortium dedicated to ensuring the development of mobile interoperability standards around the world, spots positive gains. “We’re starting to see an awareness of what mobile health technologies can bring to the marketplace," he said.

In his view, the spread of the smartphone is the driving factor. With Google and iOS platforms now available on a widespread basis, no longer are health app developers faced with the burden of creating custom delivery mechanisms that run the risk of quickly becoming outdated.

While baseline platforms may be becoming ubiquitous, Parker said certain countries are well ahead when it comes to putting mobile health technology to use. Denmark is one example, Singapore another. Parker pointed out, however, that these countries have an advantage over others in that they’ve enjoyed the nearly universal use of electronic health records for several years – unlike the United States, which is well behind the EHR curve despite the current push to transition away from paper.