A Glimpse into the Future of the Health with Mobile Technology

(Marjan Grabowski, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Raunaq Al-Mughairi, a 3rd year medical student at the national university of science and technology-college of medicine positioned in Sultanate of Oman and Ms. Al-Zahra Al-Hashmi, a 3 rd year medical student at Sultan Qaboos University, Oman. 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.


The aim of the healthcare sector has always focused on the quality of services provided to patients, affordability, and effectiveness. This may seem a challenge especially in a world where non-communicable diseases are escalating with 424.9 million suffering from diabetes, 1.13 billion from hypertension, and 31% of the world’s population is wiped out by cardiovascular diseases. [1, 2, 3] These alarming figures, place healthcare infrastructure in danger especially in developing countries. Yet, victory could be brought to this field by using mobile health!   

Despite the actual purpose of inventing mobiles -with technological advances- apps are now managing an individual’s life! Homo sapiens have been incorporating these apps on a daily basis due to the ease of access. As life is becoming a buzzing place, in which everyone is directing their energy to work, stress is surging. Consequently, mental and physical health issues are increasing, and as stated by ministers of health on the 54th World Health Assembly “there is no development without health and no health without mental health.” [4] To prevent exacerbation of the issue, meditation and sleep tracking apps are used. Fitness apps have also been created in which one could tackle their BMI, follow a diet, and exercise accordingly. These apps have also assisted healthcare workers during this pandemic to monitor, track, and advice infected ones to isolate themselves to reduce the infectivity rate.

These apps could enhance a smooth flow of work which improves productivity and safety. [5] For instance, apps are used to check drug interactions before prescribing them to avoid detrimental outcomes ranging from hypersensitivity to toxicity. Similarly, they could be utilized for searching for information instantly from reliable sources rather than flipping pages. By doing this, clinical decision making will be improved and time wasted by physicians and patients to find out the right diagnosis will shorten. [5]

Even in rural areas where specialized hospitals are absent, these apps could provide a better method of communication between patients and physicians regarding consultation. Moreover, if minimal health-related cases are to be controlled by mobile health, then the hospital admission rate will decrease, hence reducing pressure on physicians and cut-off treatment costs, thus focusing on serious cases.

The fact that chronic diseases are expected to grow up to 57% by this year, should be a concern to medical infrastructure. [6] This would place a huge burden on health systems, especially financially since the cost of treating and preventing these conditions is very high. Additionally, it impedes the economic growth of developed and developing countries. [7] Furthermore, some patients are underserved, resulting in deterioration of their medical state. [8] So these apps will be helpful in managing the patients’ status by tracking their compliance and reduce the number of visits to clinics. [9]

A glimpse into the prosperity, perhaps, what if your daily forgotten pills could be reminded? What if your insomniac nights could be defeated? All are attainable with increased utilization of mobile technology!

References:

  1. Who.int. 2019. Hypertension. [online] Available at: <https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hypertension&gt;
  2. European Society of Cardiology. 2020. Global Statistics on Diabetes. [online] Available at: <https://www.escardio.org/Education/Diabetes-and-CVD/Recommended-Reading/global-statistics-on-diabetes&gt;
  3. Who.int. 2017. Cardiovascular Diseases. [online] Available at: <https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cardiovascular-diseases-(cvds)
  4. 2001. Mental Health A Call For Action By Minister Of Health. [ebook] Geneva. Available at: <https://www.who.int/mental_health/advocacy/en/Call_for_Action_MoH_Intro.pdf&gt;
  5. C, Lee Ventola and MS, 2014. Mobile Devices and Apps for Health Care Professionals: Uses and Benefits. P&T, 39(5).
  6. Who.int. 2020. WHO | 2. Background. [online] Available at: https://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/2_background/en/
  7. 2005. Preventing Chronic Disease: A Vital Investment. [ebook] Geneva. Available at  https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/43314/9241563001_eng.pdf;jsessionid=0CA14708ED307AFEBA137877D36C5A47?sequence=1
  8. Moore, S., Fischer, H., Steele, A., Joshua Durfee, M., Ginosar, D., Rice-Peterson, C., Berschling, J. and Davidson, A., 2014. A mobile health infrastructure to support underserved patients with chronic disease. Healthcare, 2(1), pp.63-68.
  9. 2011. mHealth New horizons for health through mobile technologies. [ebook] Geneva. Available at <https://www.who.int/goe/publications/goe_mhealth_web.pdf&gt;

About the authors

Raunaq Al-Mughairi is a 3 rd year medical student at the national university of science and technology- college of medicine positioned in Sultanate of Oman. She is dedicated, passionate student with genuine interest in participation in extracurricular activities by being the
participant of EMR16 and attended EMRM virtual SCOPH camp recently. While, organization of various events by being the assistant to LOME and a member of OC for NGA- 2019. She has been actively enrolled in IFMSA and related committees and currently seeking to be the national of SCOME’S committee. She has a strong passion for writing fluently in both English and Arabic languages and had contributed with herritings in several occasions.

Al-Zahra Al-Hashmi is an organized, enthusiastic and compassionate 3 rd year medical student at Sultan Qaboos University, Oman. She has been an active member in MedSCO since 2018 where it all started by being a member of OC for EMR15. Similarly, she held positions as being
LORE and LORP where she has organized multiple activities such as best research poster contest, wrote the script for short film on World Refugee Day, elder abuse awareness and many more. Ever since she was young she enjoyed writing in both languages’ Arabic and English, and have participated in many competitions as she finds it a way to express her thoughts.

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Comments

  1. Awesome article I am impressed to see your website trying to do like you.

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