Mobile Health in Today’s World
Mobile health can, simply, be explained as the concept that uses mobile technology for making significant improvements to one’s health and overall wellness. The recent advancements in mobile technology have enabled identifying and monitoring health issues using simple wearable gadgets and mobile phone apps.
In this modern era of technology, it’s not just the doctors who provide patient care. There are innumerable mobile health care apps and digital services that play a major role in our daily lives. There are several mobile apps for assisting consumers in monitoring their health and even accessing personalized medical care. Such digital health apps not only benefits the patients but also makes the job of healthcare providers much easier. The data generated through such apps coupled with artificial intelligence can be used to improve the health of the users. Such digital health apps can enormously lessen the financial burden on public healthcare by reducing the number of avoidable hospital visits of the patients.
As of 2017, there were more than 325,000 mobile health apps available on Android and iOS, together. In the year 2017 alone, there were more than 78,000 new health apps that were added to the app stores. It is only logical to presume that number has gone up high in 2020 and will continue to rise in the foreseeable future. Although so many health apps are being added to the app stores, it is worthwhile to note that only 60% of these companies are from the health industry and only 10% of the mobile health app companies have 7 or more years of experience in the digital health industry. According to Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, an expert on the health economy at Health Populi, the majority of the digital health care innovations are rarely catered to the needs of the vulnerable and underserved populations despite having tremendous potential.
Impact of COVID-19 on Digital Health Industry
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on our lives and businesses. To understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global digital health industry, research2guidance was surveyed in April 2020 (R2G Team, 2020).
The survey revealed the impact of COVID-19 was not uniform across the industry type. As shown in Figure 1, COVID-19 negatively affected 67% of hospitals and healthcare providers. On the other hand, 44% of the digital health companies were positively affected by COVID-19. Among the digital health industry, COVID-19 had a positive impact on telehealth (65%), remote monitoring (42%), and self-testing (31%). The survey also revealed that 48% of companies in the field of diagnosis contribute towards managing the pandemic.
Challenges in the Post-Pandemic World
Although there was a clear surge in the usage of digital health services in the recent past, the adaptation among the Finnish citizens remained low. This was largely attributed to concerns regarding data security. The experts in the field of digital health have been talking about technical challenges for quite some time now and efforts are being made to overcome these challenges. However, other challenges need immediate attention and one such challenge is the mental health crisis related to the ongoing pandemic.
According to an article published by Helsinki Times, COVID-19 has led to an elevation in the number of anxiety and depression patients, and the rise in the number of cases is expected to continue even after the pandemic is over. According to a recent survey conducted by MIELI, the Finnish Mental Health Association, a little over 33% of immigrants have complained about their deteriorating mental health due to the COVID-19 situation. We, at Inme Oy, are already working toward making a digital mental health solution backed by in vitro diagnostics tools and plan to roll out our services soon.