mHealth 2.0: Experiences, Possibilities, and Perspectives
With more than 1 billion users having access to mobile broadband Internet and a rapidly growing mobile app market, all stakeholders involved have high hopes that this technology may improve health care. Expectations range from overcoming structural barriers to access in low-income countries to more effective, interactive treatment of chronic conditions. Before medical health practice supported by mobile devices ("mHealth") can scale up, a number of challenges need to be adequately addressed.
From a psychological perspective, high attrition rates, digital divide of society, and intellectual capabilities of the users are key issues when implementing such technologies. Furthermore, apps addressing behavior change often lack a comprehensive concept, which is essential for an ongoing impact. From a clinical point of view, there is insufficient evidence to allow scaling up of mHealth interventions. In addition, new concepts are required to assess the efficacy and efficiency of interventions.
Regarding technology interoperability, open standards and low-energy wireless protocols appear to be vital for successful implementation. There is an ongoing discussion in how far health care-related apps require a conformity assessment and how to best communicate quality standards to consumers. "Apps Peer-Review" and standard reporting via an "App synopsis" appear to be promising approaches to increase transparency for end users. With respect to development, more emphasis must be placed on context analysis to identify what generic functions of mobile information technology best meet the needs of stakeholders involved. Hence, interdisciplinary alliances and collaborative strategies are vital to achieve sustainable growth for "mHealth 2.0," the next generation mobile technology to support patient care.
Becker S, Miron-Shatz T, Schumacher N, Krocza J, Diamantidis C, Albrecht UV. mHealth 2.0: Experiences, Possibilities, and Perspectives. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 2014;2(2):e24. DOI: 10.2196/mhealth.3328