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MHealth and Information; the Future of Healthcare

There is a multitude of factors that make up the healthcare system. Information comes from hundreds of sources and combines to make up one person’s medical data. The more of this information the doctor knows, the better they can diagnose and treat their patients. Electronic Health Records are usually the doctor’s first resource in diagnostics and treatment plans. A patient’s EHR holds their medical history; information about previous diagnoses and treatments. But the information in an EHR is just the tip of the iceberg. Doctors usually need more than just a medical history to understand the issue the patient is facing. And often, the EHR is not complete, or unaccessible to a new doctor. Doctors need more external and internal information about patients, to improve care and reduce costs.

Everyone cannot keep a minute by minute journal of their activities and other information. This level of data collection is nearly impossible. Yet that is the level of information that would revolutionize the healthcare system. There are, however, many systems in place that collect this data. Pharmacies collect data about prescriptions, insurance companies know the procedures and diagnoses of their clients, medical devices such as pacemakers or oxygen tanks often collect data. There is also  the data that comes from fitness apps, which can reveal even more about the patient’s health than past medical records. If you include the food bought and eaten, a fairly informed picture of a patients current health can begin to come together. If doctors were able to peruse all this information, of the patients fitness, diet, past medication and procedures, and more, they would be able to offer quicker diagnoses, more complete treatment plans, and overall better care.

This information could also be invaluable to research companies. The information from clinical trials, from insurance claims, and even from online medical websites like webmd, could provide key information to researchers. Medical research is often a matter of case studies, comparing cases to expand understanding of the common ways in which disease works, and the treatments which seem to help. Research cannot function without a constant influx of new information, and the data that is floating around would provide this influx in an excellent way. The need is some sort of system to gather this information securely and make it available to researchers and doctors. Mobility is the key to a solution. With mobile collection, data can easily be gathered and shared in cloud-based systems. Mobility offers security, with encryption abilities and limited access opportunity. If a mobile system could be developed to collect all the information of a patient and provide that information to the patient’s doctor, the doctor would be able to provide better patient care because they would have a fuller understanding of the patient’s lifestyle. The cost of patient care would go down, because diagnoses and treatment could be handled more efficiently. And if this information was made available to researchers, medical knowledge could expand by leaps and bounds because of the expansion of the field of knowledge and the foundation from which to work. This cloud based information system should be the focus of any developer wanting to work in the Mhealth world, because its consequences could be momentous.

 
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