As telecommunications evolve, the uses for phones and smart devices increase as well. In addition to communication, these tech tools now have applications in other areas, such as healthcare.

With nearly nationwide coverage for 4G LTE and the rapidly increasing reach of 5G, telecommunication is more seamless and faster than ever. The speed and connectivity make it possible for people to conduct business at home. In addition to work and school-related tasks, people can get services from home, as well. This can include virtual doctor visits.

At the same time, doctors are utilizing mobile devices when treating their patients. This is a welcome trend because more than 70% of all doctor visits, including emergency ones, are unnecessary or could be completed virtually. 

While demand for mobile healthcare, or mHealth, has been on a steady upward trend, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated that growth.

Here is a closer look at the growth of mobile healthcare services. 

How Does Mobile Health Work?

A first step to understanding how mobile health works is knowing the difference between telehealth vs. telemedicine.

While telemedicine refers to the remote diagnosis and prescription of medicines and treatment, telehealth is a more general term covering all the various health services that might be offered remotely by a hospital or general health facilities.

Mobile health has related-but-different applications for both medical professionals and patients. On the medical professional side, it may be used for the following:

  • Health records: Mobile devices can be used by medical professionals to update the health details of their patients in the database.

  • Patient monitoring: Wearable devices can monitor patient vitals, while mobile phones check in on the patient from time to time.

  • Communications: Medical professionals can use mobile devices to communicate with both patients and fellow professionals.

  • Education and training: Mobile devices and VR technology can help train future medical professionals. Surgery is one promising area for this technology.

  • Time management: Mobile devices can help set and monitor schedules for medical professionals and provide reminders when an important task is coming up.

  • Information management: Mobile devices store and manage information related to patients, medicines, and hospital schedules.

When it comes to patients, there are a different set of uses: 

  • Health trackers: Wearables combined with smartphones now make it possible for patients to track various aspects of their health, from heart rates to blood pressure to mood.

  • Symptom checkers: Mobile apps can help check a list of symptoms and determine the likelihood of a patient having a given condition before consulting a doctor. This can speed up the diagnostic process at the clinic or hospital.

  • Medication reminders: Mobile apps can provide regular reminders for patients to take medication.

  • Access to medical helplines: Mobile apps can assist with access to helplines like the Medi-Nurse service, where patients can talk to a licensed nurse. Such medical helplines are a vital part of the future of telehealth nursing.

  • Communication with medical professionals: Patients can use mobile devices to communicate with doctors via e-visits. An e-visit, or virtual visit, is a consultation with a doctor or other medical professionals done digitally on a mobile device, such as through text, voice, or video call.

  • Education on medical conditions and how to manage them: Patients can learn about the conditions and how to manage them via interactive apps.