Safety fits into our palms: The role of mobile technology in healthcare systems and life saving

health

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr Ahmed M Lahmady, a first year medical student at Hadramout University (HUCOM). He is a member in NAMS-Yemen. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Centuries ago, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said “The only thing that stays the same is change.’’ And I guess he couldn’t have possibly imagined the changed world we are living in today. a change mainly due to the huge and great technological advancements which affected all the aspects of our life.

The healthcare system is not an exception. It has seen and still witnessing continuous transformational changes in relation to the developing technology. And according to new report from Global Market Insights, the global healthcare IT market is expected to surpass $441 billion dollars by 2025.

The adoption rate of mobile technology has increased rapidly. You can take one look around and see most people are using smart phones, iPads and tablets. Such mobile devices are today used in delivering healthcare services and facilitating many medical procedures.

For instance, many physicians and nurses use iPads and smart phones to aid hospital rounds, communicate and guide patients in treatment recommendations. On the patient level, mobile technology can help patients adhere to medication orders. It can tell patients why medical adherence, especially prescription adherence, is important by sending them messages and information. These capabilities offer hospitals a method to lower medication noncompliance, one of the biggest factors in high hospital readmissions.

According to a recent study published by the Health Works Collective, there are over 97,000 total health and fitness apps currently available. Mobile applications can now track all kinds of health-related activities and patients can share this information as they conduct video-chat “appointments” with their doctors from the comfort of their own homes.

Diabetics can now monitor their blood sugar without having to prick their fingers and patients recovering from or at high risk of a heart attack can get peace of mind by using “pocket EKGs” on their mobile devices. There are even apps that can assist doctors before, during, and after complicated medical procedures like surgeries and transplants.

Mobile devices have proven time after time how important they are in saving lives of many critical cases around the world. One example is Yonatan Adiri’s mother who fell down and briefly lost consciousness when travelling in China, an initial diagnosis suggested she had a few broken ribs, but nothing more serious. Doctors were keen to fly her to Hong Kong for treatment. But Yonatan’s father was worried and took photos of the CT scans of the injuries, emailing them to his son. Yonatan showed the images to a trauma doctor, who instantly diagnosed a punctured lung. The flight to Hong Kong might have killed her. “Who knows what would’ve happened if he hadn’t taken photos?’’ Yonatan wonders.

As we learned earlier from Heraclitus’ quote, it seems that technology will continue making changes in the healthcare systems, which is something beneficial for both of them. However, the biggest winners are the people who are having their lives saved and their health improved.

About the author

Ahmed M Lahmady is a first year medical student at Hadramout University (HUCOM). He is a member in NAMS-Yemen and involved in the standing committee on human rights and peace (SCORP). He is commitment to participate in creating a healthier community and improving the quality of healthcare services.

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