Mobile Technology in Nowadays Medical Practice: Is It a Safe Path?

Credit: Unsplash

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Isabela Lucchesi Rangel and Ms. Ana Beatriz Venturini Santos, two fourth year medical students at UniCesumar in Maringá, 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.

In 1993, the very first Smartphone “The Simon” from IBM was launched. By this time, no doctor could ever imagine how this invention would impact medical profession forever. Nowadays, there’s an exponential growth of mobile health (or just mHealth) – defined as “medical and public health practice supported by mobile devices” – that has changed health care systems in infinite ways.

It is well known in the medical environment that the effectiveness of a treatment depends as much on the professional’s commitment as on the patient’s. And it is in this matter that mHealth can be seen as an innovation in the doctor-patient relationship, as well as in the monitoring of chronic diseases. Patients can get in touch with applications that help them to communicate with healthcare providers, to access disease information or to purchase health habits and abandon the bad ones. There are also technologies that allow their mobiles to control medical devices (e. g. controlling the delivery of insulin on an insulin pump), or even transform it into one (e. g. a glucose meter). Finally, some apps can provide patients diagnosis or treatment recommendations, almost playing a doctor´s role.

When it comes to doctors, they can have quick access to information such as medical literature, disease or drug references and medical calculators. They can access and maintain recordings through electronic health records (EHRs), image accessing and electronic prescribing. Additionally, mHealth can help them to promote a better clinical decision-making, with clinical decision support systems, diagnosis and differential diagnosis aids, and treatment guidelines.  Mobile devices have also flexibilized their communication: doctors can assist each other by texting and calling. Other areas improved by this technology are medical education and training, as seen during COVID-19 pandemic.

However, research has shown that many medical applications have flaws that could be harmful to healthcare systems. Some of them don’t cite the references used, while others use references that haven´t been updated over time. In addition, there are devices with no physicians involved in the process of creation, with low diagnostic accuracy, fail mechanisms or even false promises. Another point to be considered is that many patients may struggle accessing health services on cellphones, especially elderly patients and many of the low socioeconomic status population, which is particularly common in third world countries. At last, it’s good to remember that the use of technology may deteriorate doctor-patient relashionship if done in an unbalanced way.

In the light of the above mentioned, it can be concluded that mHealth is essential to medicine evolution. Before using it, doctors must certificate its efficacy and search for reliable information about such applications, or even a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Being aware of what patients are using and guide them through it can also be useful. Finally, doctors should never forget that behind their hands using the mobile device, there is a hand of a person expecting an authentic and secure relationship with them – the patient’s one.


AUNGST, T. D.  et al. How to identify, assess and utilise mobile medical applications in clinical practice. Int J Clin Pract, v. 68, n. 2, p. 155-62, Feb 2014.

BOULOS, M. N. K.  et al. Mobile medical and health apps: state of the art, concerns, regulatory control and certification. Online journal of public health informatics, v. 5, n. 3, p. 229-229,  2014.

GAN, S. K.-E.  et al. An overview of clinically and healthcare related apps in Google and Apple app stores: connecting patients, drugs, and clinicians. Scientific Phone Apps and Mobile Devices, v. 2, 12/01 2016.

MOSA, A. S. M.; YOO, I.; SHEETS, L. A systematic review of healthcare applications for smartphones. BMC medical informatics and decision making, v. 12, p. 67-67,  2012.

RYU, S. Book Review: mHealth: New Horizons for Health through Mobile Technologies: Based on the Findings of the Second Global Survey on eHealth (Global Observatory for eHealth Series, Volume 3). Healthcare Informatics Research, v. 18, n. 3, p. 231-233,  2012.

SARWAR, M.; SOOMRO, T. Impact of Smartphone’s on Society. European Journal of Scientific Research, v. 98, 02/01 2013.

VENTOLA, C. L. Mobile devices and apps for health care professionals: uses and benefits. P & T : a peer-reviewed journal for formulary management, v. 39, n. 5, p. 356-364,  2014.

About the author

Isabela Lucchesi Rangel is a fourth year medical student resident in Maringá. She is proud to be the local IFMSA Brazil coordinator LC UniCesumar!

Ana Beatriz Venturini Santos is 20 years old and courses the fourth year of medicine school at UniCesumar in Maringá, Brazil. She is a member of the academic leagues of Endocrinology and Metabology (LAEMMA), Pediatrics (LAPEM) and Medical Clinic (LACMMA) of Maringá.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Social justice, inclusion and sustainable development need a ‘Great Reset’. Here are 3 key steps we can take

Better protection against non-cash payment fraud

Quicker freezing and confiscation of criminal assets in the EU

Sexual education in a school at the Brazilian Amazon

Mergers: Commission approves DIC’s acquisition of BASF Colors & Effects, subject to conditions

Coronavirus: EU funding for the transport of medical goods, medical teams and patients

UN General Assembly celebrates 20 years of promoting a culture of peace

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: Busting the myth by looking at the facts

A young European voice on Grexit: too high a bill and too big a deal!

UN chief underscores value of cooperation with Southeast Asian countries

Viktor Orbán, Hungarian Prime Minister, at a 2015 event in Brussels, Berlaymont. (Copyright: European Union , 2015; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Lieven Creemers)

Hungary and Ireland build front to say no to EU tax harmonisation plan

COVID-19 and natural disasters: €823 million in EU aid for eight member states

UN food relief agency airlifts aid to DR Congo province hit by Ebola outbreak

ECB guarantees the liquidity of the Atlantic financial volume

EU Commission: a rise in wages and salaries may help create more jobs

MEPs: Focus on crisis response when coordinating economic and budgetary policies

What’s happening to Greenland will affect the whole world – and our leaders need to understand why

Women in video games: ‘Accept it, or don’t buy the game’

A Sting Exclusive: “China is Making Good Stories not Bad Ones”, Ambassador Yang highlights from Brussels

Will we join hands for a tomorrow without antimicrobial resistance?

Austria’s EU Presidency: Chancellor Sebastian Kurz aims to “build bridges”

Trust in OECD governments back at pre-crisis levels as governments seek to be more open and engaged

Mental health and suicide prevention: the contradictory access in a reference city of southern Brazil

These LGBTQI Davos leaders shared their advice on coming out

Nearly two-thirds of children lack access to welfare safety net, risking ‘vicious cycle of poverty’

3 of Jack Ma’s best pieces of advice

New Mozambique storm rips off roofs, brings lashing rain as aid response kicks in

How our food system is eating away at nature, and our future

Women outliving men ‘everywhere’, new UN health agency statistics report shows

Delhi Declaration: Countries agree to make ‘land degradation neutrality’ by 2030, a national target for action

What is the UN General Assembly and what does it do?

Postal workers in France are helping elderly people fight loneliness

UN chief ‘deeply alarmed’ over military offensive in south-west Syria

Giving humanitarian help to migrants should not be a crime, according to the EP

State aid: Commission invites comments on State aid rules for the deployment of broadband networks

These countries have the most nuclear reactors

The needs, challenges and power dynamics of refugee resettlement

Top global firms commit to tackling inequality by joining Business for Inclusive Growth coalition

COP21 Breaking News_05 December: UN Secretary-General Announces “Climate Action 2016” Partnership

At global health forum, UN officials call for strong, people-focused health systems

Why enterprise risk management is the future for banks

ECB’s first flight in Eurozone’s banking universe will be just a reconnaissance

EU steps up its strategy for connecting Europe and Asia

Here’s how innovation could help car companies hit by COVID-19

6 ways countries can prepare for the next infectious disease pandemic

The issues of practicing medicine in Pakistan

Women’s empowerment ‘essential to global progress’ says Guterres, marking International Day

How is the global economy fairing 11 years after the financial crisis?

EU Commission and ECB rebuff Germany on the Banking Union

These clothes were designed by artificial intelligence

Eurozone: Disinflation engulfs the industrial goods sector

Human trafficking, slavery reports and health of migrants in Libya

A Sting Exclusive: “Regulators and the shipping industry collaborating for a sustainable future”, written by the Secretary General of IMO


Mobile technology saving lives: Changing healthcare systems with simple technology solutions

Three ways the Fourth Industrial Revolution is shaping geopolitics

Antitrust: Commission seeks feedback on commitments offered by Broadcom concerning TV set-top box and modem chipset markets

Guatemala Dos Erres massacre conviction welcomed by UN human rights office

Impossible Brexit options: WTO or new referendum?

How the US should react to the pandemic, according to Bill Gates

More Stings?



  1. newswatchtv says:

    Thanks for delivering such a exciting post. I hope i will see more great post like this in future, Thanks again.

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s