What can we gain from mHealth? – Question from Zack Martin, NFC News

Last updated: 18 December 2019

As well as posing us questions on mobile-ID, NFC News’ Zack Martin also asked us a couple of posers on mHealth:

What’s a unique mobile health program that you’ve seen? If there isn’t one that sticks out can you give me an example of something that can be done with mobile health that couldn’t otherwise be done?
Many European countries have e-health programs, have any been thinking about moving to the mobile? Pros/Cons?

Well, first things first, let’s look at the game-changing improvements that mHealth can bring before we look at specific examples of where this has been put into practice. The greatest benefit of mobile technology is, of course, that it offers absolutely unparalleled ease-of-use for the patient. Devices can be shipped preconfigured to the patient and work ‘out of the box’, without the need to enter WIFI keys or Bluetooth-pairing the devices with a phone. mHealth also makes it far easier to remotely access those devices, for instance to adapt patients’ treatment parameters or to perform maintenance tasks.

Meanwhile, the use of M2M technology has the potential to truly transform healthcare provision. Not only will M2M bring about improvements in treatment standards but will also streamline the way that care is delivered, resulting in efficiency savings for providers. Medical devices using M2M could include ‘smart pill boxes’ (which ensure only the recommended dosage is dispensed), wearable health monitors or personal emergency response systems. Devices such as these can help to create a new communications channel between clinicians and patients, breaking down geographical barriers and meaning quality care can be delivered at distances of hundreds of miles.

One example of this theory being put into practice to great effect is Philips’ Respironics technology. Their System One is a sleep therapy system for sleep-disordered breathing (i.e. sleep apnea). System One practically puts a sleeping lab in the patient’s home, providing CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy, recognizing when treatments need changing and feeding this information back to the clinician.

So are any countries seriously looking at taking advantage of these many benefits? The short answer is yes, but as with any technology adoption there are some hurdles which will need to be overcome first. Any mHealth program will need to be easily-scalable in order to be economically viable, and the key to achieving this is interoperability. To help speed this process along, Gemalto is a member of the Continua Health Alliance, which is working towards establishing a standardized ecosystem of interoperable health solutions. Countries such as Japan and Singapore have already mandated the Continua guidelines for new projects, while Denmark is taking the lead in Europe.

If delivered correctly, the possibilities of mHealth are almost limitless. So, if you’re visiting MWC this week, why not swing by our stand (Hall 5 #5G120) to see a demonstration of how to mobilize medical devices using Gemalto’s M2M technology.