Mobile healthcare, or simply mHealth, is becoming more and more prevalent as it offers real-time solutions for patients. Additionally, patients and doctors are only a call away, and can transfer data like patient records and other medical services instantaneously. This new concept has had an especially strong reaction in developing countries, where the need for better healthcare options is evident. More healthcare services would help to reduce risk of disease and increase life expectancy.
Mobile healthcare evolved from eHealth, and the two are similar, yet different. The first, eHealth, is generally described as the technology behind innovative health care solutions. The newer mHealth facilitates health care access. Despite their differences, eHealth and mHealth are not that far apart and often work as a pair to improve overall health care for patients. Developing countries have seen tremendous benefits from this tandem to help combat the shortage of doctors — these countries are able to tap into other countries’ resources to help deliver the best possible solutions to their patients.
The shortage of doctors in developing nations is well documented by the World Health Organization (WHO), which estimates that there is a shortage of doctors in nearly 60 countries, totaling a deficit of nearly 2.5 million. Almost one quarter of these countries are located in Africa. As eHealth and mHealth evolve with technology, solutions will be more widespread, and not just for people in wealthier countries. People who need healthcare the most, those in developing areas, will reap the benefits too.
The CloudMD Foundation is helping people in these countries by linking their general physicians with remote specialists located in the United States. Specialists would be able to give physicians more sound advice and recommendations on best practices and treatment options with access to electronic medical records. Sharing patients medical records electronically allows even remote specialists to make the appropriate diagnosis in a matter of seconds and decrease patient risk. The combination of eHealth and mHealth is a formidable pair that CloudMD Foundation looks to benefit from in bringing physicians and specialists together to make a difference in the lives of people in developing countries that continue to grow. For these countries, this is just one step closer to reaching their full potential.