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.

REFERENCES:

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 Milestones

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

Here’s how tech can help governments fight corruption

Khashoggi trial in Saudi Arabia falls short of independent, international probe needed: UN rights chief

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

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Venezuela-Colombia baby breakthrough, Italy piles on rescue boat pressure, States must combat hate, Kashmir rights latest and a musical plea to combat CAR hunger

Climate change will force us to redefine economic growth

This AI can predict your personality just by looking at your eyes

Northern Ireland: Parliament wants to secure post-Brexit regional funding

UN launches Facebook Messenger-powered bot to take on climate change

Keeping cool in the face of climate change

‘Favour dialogue’ over violence, UN chief urges all parties following clashes in Mali’s capital

Building climate resilience and peace, go hand in hand for Africa’s Sahel – UN forum

Being blinded by labels stops social change. Art helps us see a better future

Here’s why upskilling is crucial to drive the post-COVID recovery

UN, African Union make significant joint commitment to global health

Protecting refugees in Europe: UNHCR calls for a ‘year of change’

Yemen: UN envoy asks Security Council for more support ‘to move back’ to the negotiating table

Is the EU denying its social character favouring a banking conglomerate?

UN rights chief Bachelet appeals for dialogue in Sudan amid reports ‘70 killed’ in demonstrations

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

One million facing food shortages, nutrition crisis after Mozambique cyclones: UNICEF

4 ways Africa can prepare its youth for the digital economy

UN agencies launch emergency plan for millions of Venezuelan refugees and migrants

Do doctors need to know their patients’ sexual orientation and gender identity?

The next 48 hours may change the European Union

The UK referendum has already damaged Europe: even a ‘remain’ result is not without cost to Britain and the EU

Mali facing ‘alarming’ rise in rights violations, warns UN expert

A European Discovers China: 3 First Impressions

5 things to know about African migration

MWC 2016 LIVE: GTI shifts to phase two – 5G – after hitting milestones

If we want to solve climate change, water governance is our blueprint

Minsk “ceasefire” leaves more doubts than safety, with EU already planning steps further

Trade: First year of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement shows growth in EU exports

Electronic Cigarettes: Are they really as safe as we think?

UN and African Union in ‘common battle’ for development and climate change financing

Parallel downfalls of Merkel and Deutsche Bank threaten Germany and Europe

For video game addiction, now read official ‘gaming disorder’: World Health Organization

A new proposal breaks the stalemate over the Banking Union

To Brexit, or not to Brexit…rather not: 10 Downing Street, London

AI can be a game-changer for the world’s forests. Here’s how

What young people can teach world leaders about mental health in 2020

How can you or your organization support the Hour of Pride initiative?

Why do humanitarian crises disproportionately affect women?

Russia and the West to partition Ukraine?

Uzbekistan wins its long fight against malaria, as global rates continue to rise

Clean air is good for business

These are the world’s 20 most dynamic cities

Making the most of the Sustainable Development Goal 3: its overlooked role in medical education

Capital transaction tax on Ecofin table

International Women’s Day 2019: more equality, but change is too slow

An all-out fight for the EU budget

World Digital Media Awards winners announced at WNMC.19 in Glasgow, in association with The European Sting

Millennials (and Gen X) – Here are the steps you should take to secure your financial future

Forget GDP – for the 21st century we need a modern growth measure

David Attenborough’s worried about this ocean threat – and it’s not plastic

Is this the way to finally beat corruption?

80 adolescents a day will still die of AIDS by 2030, despite slowdown in epidemic

UN ceasefire monitoring chief tours Yemeni port of Hudaydah

DR Congo elections: ‘historic opportunity’ for ‘peaceful transfer of power’ says Security Council

Consumers’ rights against defective digital content agreed by EU lawmakers

Parliament mobilised to channel EU funds to those affected by Coronavirus pandemic

More Stings?

Comments

  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:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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