The term “mobile health,” or mHealth, applies to any healthcare organization that incorporates the use of handheld mobile devices—such as cell phones, smartphones, tablet computers and PDAs—for communicating with and among participants, clinicians and payers. Globally, according to WinterGreen Research, mHealth markets related to telemedicine currently stand at $1.4 billion and are expected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2019 because of the use of 7 billion smart phones and half that many connected tablet devices..
The massive adoption of mobile technology by Americans over the past few years (91% of adults own cell phones, 56% have a smart phone) has led to a consumer preference for using the mobile devices in their pockets as their hub for communications, shopping, entertainment, travel, photography, education and networking. GenerationOne has created a mobile health service that impacts participants’ behavior and empowers case managers and physicians with the ability to deliver ongoing reminders, automated support and health monitoring.
Participants using GenerationOne have affirmed that they depend on mHealth Connect and often say they don’t know what they would do without it. They especially like the ability for their doctor to be monitoring their health status outside of an office visit.
Seniors and mHealth
While GenerationOne is valuable to participants of any age, many who suffer chronic health problems are senior citizens. This rapidly expanding age group today includes the generation that invented cell phones, email, online chat and the Internet, so it would not be surprising if seniors were just as enthusiastic about communicating with their providers by mobile devices as are many younger groups.
A 2013 study from the Pew Internet Spring Tracking Survey discovered that 76 percent of those 65 or older own a mobile phone. A 2012 Pew survey survey found that, “even among those currently ages 76 and older, 56% report owning a cell phone of some kind, up from 47% of this generation in 2010.”
Seniors are increasingly likely to benefit from mHealth Connect for medication reminders, testing and feedback that can be communicated to them in their homes to minimize visits and optimize communications with care givers.
Physicians and mHealth
A HIMSS survey conducted in late 2012 noted that “use of mobile devices by physicians to view participant information or access non-protected health information is widespread.” More than half of clinicians surveyed reported gathering health information on their phones.
Both research and anecdotal experience thus suggest that mHealth can be a highly successful vehicle for increasing touch points between care managers and participants and for prompting participants to maintain their health regimens. The outcome often is better participant adherence to protocols, healthier participants and an associated reduction in costs to carriers and employers. GenerationOne capitalizes on the benefits of mobile and digital technology to provide a highly efficient and productive exchange of health data and advice between participants, care managers and providers, as needed.