The sheer ubiquity of smartphones has opened up a range of disruptive innovative opportunities in almost all the sectors. Healthcare is no stranger to that. Mobile Health or mHealth as it is fashionably called these days, has a range of economic benefits for the struggling NHS in the UK. Technology is already transforming care from primary to secondary/tertiary and follow-up. In addition to patient-centric Apps, even the work of clinicians and care providers can be transformed by using mobile technology.
5 key opportunities as below:
Faster Access to Health Care
Public health service in the UK has a reputation of long waiting lists of patients trying to access the specialist care. The mHealth can change this in many ways i.e. The patient will not need to visit the doctor physically and will be able to seek advice remotely using an App, thus reducing the pressure on already stretched out healthcare facilities. The physician can also decide whether the patient really needs a physical visit to the hospital or not based on a remote assessment first, thus cutting unnecessary and wasteful visits.
Management of Chronic Illnesses
The management of chronic illnesses takes a huge toll on NHS budget. This problem has been the main focus of mHealth market too. NHS itself has a lot to gain by investing in mHealth based solutions for chronic illness management e.g. diabetes, asthma, mental health etc. There is a potential for huge savings in this area and thus the need for policy and strategy by NHS.
Access to the Second Opinion
For many serious illnesses, patients are eligible to access the second opinion at the cost of NHS. By digitizing the provision of this facility and providing remote consultation can help both patients and NHS. This is a promising ground for mHealth.
Reduction of follow up visits after Surgery
mHealth can significantly reduce the number of “in-person” visits to a doctor after a major surgery. As noted in the Journal JAMA surgery a mobile app reduced significantly the number of visits by patients to the doctor without introducing further complications or affecting patient outcome. Same is true for other areas e.g. after Vascular surgery, patients usually need to go through prescribed exercises for rehabilitation. A mobile app based solution can help the patients through a guided recovery process from the treatment. It also provides the healthcare specialist insights into the compliance of patients with their assigned exercise regime.
mHealth Gaming for Clinical Treatment
This is a very promising ground and can be adopted by NHS here in the UK for a more effective and cheaper treatment of many illnesses. As reported in the article by mHealthIntelligence, work on a gaming platform is underway by two Canadian digital health companies, that aims to create mHealth games to help people diagnosed with autism or dementia, among other conditions. This kind of gaming has a huge potential especially if a social aspect can be embedded in it.
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