Challenges behind a technological way at health

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Bruna Braga Kapusta and Ms. Talyta Thibes Tecilla, two medial students at medicine at Unicesumar, Brazil. They are 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 writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Mobile technology offers hope in facing the challenges of the global health field. These obstacles include the scarcity of health services and weak public health systems that compromise the sustainable development related to this sphere. In view of this scenario, the potential that technology offers collaborates in disease management through the use of more precise and specific preventive and diagnostic measures, culminating in earlier intervention and treatment processes. It also provides a greater exchange of knowledge in part of the doctor with his patient, making this dynamic exchange be able to do greater active participation of the patient in his own process of cure. In addition, it is useful in episodes where there are transmissible pathologies that can put health professionals at risk, proving to be valid and useful in times that social distancing is suddenly preconized.

As an example, there is a proliferation of healthcare apps, now with more than 300.000 developed, that are transforming the way patients interact with the healthcare system. Through the apps, there is immediate access to patient data, in addition to promoting help in managing medications schedules and doses, or even contributing to the cessation of smoking. Another important fact is that in the current pandemic scenario due to COVID-19, these tools are fundamental for accessing information and helping the population, as there are apps that provide, in real time, the number of people infected by the virus around the world, including distribution by countries and even regarding the severity of the disease. Along with these, it can also be mentioned that some companies have adopted facial recognition by thermal image to identify people with high temperatures in China, revealing the fundamental role of technology in facing the pandemic, as it helps in the distance necessary for the prevention of the virus.

In contrast to this sphere of support for the diagnosis and acceleration of the intervention process that mobile technology can lead, the use of this requires additional studies that prove its effectiveness, in addition to planning to produce auxiliary tools that obey ethical and regulatory standards, mainly economical. Incorporating issues that meet socioeconomic conditions means ensuring greater accessibility for low and middle income populations, without overloading health systems or relying on excessive government investment. At the same time, care must be taken that it serves as a health tool, and not as an apparatus that distances the patient from the search for trained professionals.

Therefore, it is important to highlight the challenge behind the intention of introducing technology, in its mobile way, associated with a delicate field of the human dimension. However, one must be even more aware of the large scope with infinite possibilities that this technological environment can bring in medical advances and, even of a recent nature, it has shown promise regarding the viability of health in our daily environment. The application of this tool in routine clinical practice will be essential for digital health to reach the peak of its capacity, and may, who knows, exceed all expectations.

REFERENCES 

  1. Gordon, W.J., Landman, A., Zhang, H. et al. Beyond validation: getting health apps into clinical practice. npj Digit. Med. 3, 14 (2020).
  2. Ting, D.S.W., Carin, L., Dzau, V. et al. Digital technology and COVID-19. Nat Med 26, 459–461 (2020). 
  3. Schwalbe, N., Wahl B. Artificial intelligence and the future of global health. The Lancet, 2020; 395, 1579-86.
  4. Bates, D. W., Landman, A. & Levine, D. M. Health apps and health policy: what is needed? JAMA 320, 1975–1976 (2018).

About the author

Bruna Braga Kapusta, 21 years old and in the 8th period of medicine at
Unicesumar, Brazil. In the present moment, she is president of League of
Pulmonology (LAMAP), director of Academic League of Intensive Medicine in Maringá (LAMIM), participate of scientific department of Miguel Nicolelis
Academic Center (CAMN) and member of the Academic League of Angiology
and Vascular Surgery (LAMACIV).

Talyta Thibes Tecilla, 21 years old and in the fourth year of medicine at
Unicesumar, Brazil. Currently, she is president of Academic League of Forensic Medical of Maringá (LAMFMA) and member of the Academic League of Angiology and Vascular Surgery (LAMACIV). She has always been fascinated by the possibility of taking care of others and bringing information to those who never had the opportunity to have it.

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