A Prognosis for mHealth

The Epocrates 2013 Mobile Trends report was published a few months ago and its results support the burgeoning notion that, in the not too distant future, mobile devices will be ubiquitous in healthcare practices around the world. It’s no wonder that Epocrates predicts that 9 in 10 healthcare providers will be using smartphones by 2014. After all, smartphones and tablets make it incredibly easy to access information at the point of care and to communicate with colleagues, employees, or patients. An even more interesting conclusion gleaned from the survey of 1,063 healthcare practitioners (including nurse practitioners and physician assistants) was that HCPs are increasingly using more than one mobile device in a professional capacity.

So it seems that mHealth (a buzzword short for mobile health, and related to connected health) is not only here to stay, but expanding rapidly and becoming a critical component of evolving healthcare models. Perhaps you, readers, have seen mHealth in action at your own workplaces or while in the care of your HCP. While not every current or future HCP needs to be an expert in mHealth, there are a number of great resources out there that can help you stay in the know on all things mHealth.

Need a quick intro to get up to speed on what mHealth is and what it encompasses? Watch the short video “What is mHealth?” below, and then visit MobiHealthNews, one of my favorite sites for news and commentary on development in mHealth.

MobiHealthNews – What is mHealth? from Hover on Vimeo.

Similarly, mHealthWatch provides news and commentary, although is often directed more towards businesses and people working in the mHealth industry and is, so far as I can tell, not written by healthcare professionals. What I like about these two sites is that there is not a lot of overlap in content. You can get news from one that you will not find on the other.

Another great site for mHealth news is the long-running iMedicalApps.com. In addition to news and commentary, this versatile site has a staff of physicians who review medical apps for Apple, Android and even Blackberry devices. They have close to 1000 reviews going back to 2009, so you can trust that they’ve been publishing in this field for a while now and likely know what they’re talking about.

If you want a more peer-reviewed, scholarly perspective on mHealth, I recommend the Journal of Mobile Technology in Medicine, an open access journal that studies the ways in which mHealth is actually being implemented in healthcare centers around the world. And because it’s open access, you don’t have to pay for a subscription to read the studies.

Of course, with the increasing use of mobile devices by HCPs comes an increase in mobile apps being marketed towards them. In upcoming posts, I’ll discuss resources for finding and evaluating mobile apps with the intent of saving you time and money while you make the most of your smartphone or tablet.

Amanda Tarbet

Role: Reference Librarian at the MGH Institute of Health Professions. Helping people find the information they need is my passion, and thus I'm excited about the potential impact that emerging technologies will have on research, education, and health care practice. Perks of being a librarian: free eBooks and a socially acceptable addiction to coffee.

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