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mHealth is booming, but riddled with challenges

17 July 2012

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Advancement in mobile technology is improving health care consultations, data delivery and outcomes in the developing world. However, inspite of advances, mHealth faces a lot of challenges, says Jaclyn Schiff, correspondent at Devex.

As mobile technology advances and expands, it could change the way health care is delivered around the globe. Six billion people, or 87 percent of the world, had mobile subscriptions by the end of last year, up from 5.4 billion in 2010, according to the International Telecommunication Union. In India alone, the market for mobile health interventions will be worth $557 million by 2017, PricewaterhouseCoopers forecasts.

This development has had investors and aid groups pouring money into mHealth, the practice of using mobile devices for medicine and public health practices. Earlier this year, for instance, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation committed $9.9 million to the mHealth Alliance, founded in 2009 by the Rockefeller Foundation, Vodafone Foundation and United Nations Foundation. Related networks include the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action and TechChange, which offers an online mHealth certificate course. Research institutions like Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health are adding mHealth courses to their curriculum.

As the mHealth field grows, it has now become a common belief that technology will play a growing role in building health capacity in the developing world. Technology is getting cheaper, which means that even the poorest citizens are able to access mobile phones. In addition, the development of low-cost or free open-source software is spreading. mHealth proponents highlight these factors when explaining why mobile devices are ideal for improving health care consultations, data delivery and outcomes.

To read the full story, click here.

Source : Devex

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