mHealth: Sleeping Disorders Diagnosis

mHealth: Sleeping Disorders Diagnosis

Assim Sagahyroon (American University of Sharjah, UAE)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9861-1.ch006
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Abstract

The increasing computing power of mobile electronic devices coupled with advances in sensing and wireless technology have paved the way for mobile health (mHealth) to play a major and innovative role in the health sector. This chapter discusses the use of mHealth in the monitoring and diagnosis of sleep-related diseases with a particular emphasis on sleep apnea since it is considered to be one of the most prevalent disorders. Apnea symptoms and the physiological signals associated with it are described with an overview of the current sensing technology used to capture and record these signals. The chapter continues to discuss the integration of sensors with todays' mobile devices to offer mhealth platforms that allow for the monitoring, diagnosis and management of sleep apnea. We conclude by discussing the current limitations of the mHealth technology and discuss possible future enhancements.
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Introduction

Mobile Health or mHealth is the use of mobile and wireless devices such as smartphones, tablets, and other patient monitoring devices to support various medical and health practices. mHealth has the potential to turn mobile devices into personal labs that continuously assess a person’s physiology, behavior, social context, and environment exposure (Kumar, 2013).

mHealth based techniques have been applied in different domains of the health sector. In recent years, some novel approaches (where there were serious attempts to maximize the benefits offered by this new paradigm shift in healthcare delivery) are reported in the literature. Examples of such efforts include the use of mHealth and related technologies in assessing and promoting physical activity (O’Reilly, 2013). Smartphones integrated cameras coupled with an intelligent system running on the mobile are used in the skin disease analysis (Bourouis, 2013). mHealth intervention techniques are successfully utilized in enhancing the physical activity of patients with cardiovascular disease (Carter, 2013). Phippard (2012) examined the use of mobile phones as tools to support and advance HIV/AIDS work in sub-Saharan Africa. An overview of smartphones’ use in behavioral healthcare and the options available to integrate this technology into real life clinical practice is provided in (Luxton et al.). Brian and Ben-Zeev (2014) examined the integration and utilization of mobile technologies into the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders in the Asian region. mHealth techniques proved to offer valuable opportunities in service delivery for the mentally ill in parts of India (Jain, 2015). mHealth methods are recently used to identify patterns of high-risk illicit drug use in a study of drug users in Baltimore, Maryland (Linas, 2015). Recently, IBM has collaborated with Telecom companies in Africa to populate an Ebola disease-mapping system; mHealth based strategies are then used as educational tools during the Ebola epidemic to spread awareness.

Sleeping disorders play a significant role in individual activities during the daytime, and can lead to complications that make the patient suffers from other diseases. Estimates indicate that approximately 70 million Americans experience some form of sleep disorder (Abidi, 2015). mHealth oriented intervention with the aim of diagnosing and improving sleeping patterns of individuals has been an open and active area of research with some related mobile applications developed in recent areas. A case in point is the recent announcement of ‘Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep’ the use of a mobile application in a pilot study to assess its feasibility in alleviating the anxiety of many Americans who suffer from sleep-related issues (Motti, 2015). One of the most common and prevalent sleep disorders is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA); according to the World Health Organization, around 100 million people worldwide have OSA (Alqassim, 2012). In this chapter, we discuss the role of the mHealth innovations as it relates to OSA. We will first provide a brief overview of OSA then proceed to discuss the application of mobile technology for managing and diagnosing OSA, and conclude by highlighting current limitations and pointing out possible future directions. Throughout the chapter the terms apnea and OSA are used interchangeably.

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