An Overview about the Use of Healthcare Applications on Mobile Devices

An Overview about the Use of Healthcare Applications on Mobile Devices

Cristina Maria Dias (USF do Minho, Portugal), Ana Gabriela Ribeiro (UCSP de Adaúfe, Portugal) and Sara Félix Furtado (USF do Minho, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9978-6.ch024
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Introduction

Smart mobile devices have emerged as a significant communication technology in the current society provided by advancements in technology and spread of data connectivity. It is estimated that over 85% of the world’s population is now covered by a commercial wireless signal, with over 5 billion mobile phone subscriptions (WHO Global Observatory, 2011). Such a rapid progress in mobile technology has transformed many aspects of human’s life including healthcare. Mobile technology used in providing healthcare is referred as mobile health or m-health. The Global Observatory for eHealth (GOe) within the World Health Organization (WHO) defined mobile health as “medical and public health practice supported by mobile devices, such as mobile phones, patient monitoring devices, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and other wireless devices”. m-health involves the use of voice and short messaging service (SMS) as well as more complex functionalities, for example 3G systems, global positioning systems (GPS), and Bluetooth technology (WHO Global Observatory, 2011), which enable smartphones offer advanced applications to assist people with disabilities and long-term chronic diseases. A mobile application (or mobile app) is a software application designed to run on smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile devices. They are usually available through application distribution platforms, which are typically operated by the owner of the mobile operating system, such as the Apple App Store, Google Play (Android), Windows Phone Store, and BlackBerry App World (Wikipedia, 2013). M-health includes consumer- and provider-oriented medical apps which provide easy and cost effective healthcare anywhere anytime (Furht, 2013). A wide variety of m-health applications are being developed which will facilitate patient remote monitoring, diagnostics, personal wellness, prevention, m-prescriptions, follow ups and access to patient records (Furht, 2013). According to Research2guidance (2013), there are 17,000 m-health apps in major app stores, presently. We will perform a relevant review in the literature concerning the state of the art and evolution of mobile devices and apps, fundamental concepts, and benefits focusing in the field of m-health. Authors will review relevant work described in the literature concerning the scientific evidence about impact of m-health apps interventions in promoting and maintaining health behaviours’ on patients. Some relevant health apps available in United States of America and platforms used to develop them will be addressed. Lastly, research opportunities, open problems and deliberations about the regulation of mobile medical apps will be reported.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Healthcare: Or health care is the work done by qualified professionals, in health systems on diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in human beings.

Smartphone: A mobile technology that combines mobile communication and computation in a handheld-sized device, combining functionality of a pager, a cell phone and a PDA in a single device.

Mobile Applications: A software application (app) that can run on a mobile platform, with or without wireless connectivity.

Mobile Devices: A small, handheld computing device, with an operating system, where can run various types of applications, typically they have a touch screen and/or a miniature keyboard, and features such as a camera or media player feature for video or music files software and can be equipped with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS capabilities; some examples are tablets, push to talk devices, cell phones, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and smartphones.

Health: A person’s condition and a search of total physical, mental and social well-being and not only the absence of disease or illness.

m-Health: Or mobile health is a recent field of healthcare on which mobile technology helps providing medical assistance, such as mobile phones, patient monitoring devices, personal digital assistants, and other wireless devices.

Patient: A person who needs healthcares for a particular disease or condition or is under medical assistance.

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