These and places stress on society’s plate as a

These days, it is simple to assess our own health by the touch of a few buttons as we remain tucked in nice and snug to the warmth of our beds. Mobile health, otherwise known as mHealth, has pushed people to be more obligated in tracking their health. The accessibility of technology has allowed individuals from various regions across the globe to analyze their health conditions free of charge from their mobile devices. The concept of mHealth as a whole is often overlooked, for many don’t realize they use self-management tools on their devices when they indeed do. Smart-phone apps serve as self-management tools that an individual can install onto their device to monitor his or her health conditions. A few examples of widely-known self-management apps are MyFitnessPal, Natural Cycles and The American Red Cross. All three of the previously listed applications can be downloaded for free and prompted to begin usage in just a few minutes. In response to these easily accessible sources, the aging population is ultimately increasing in time. The 21st century has introduced self-monitoring techniques that will ease the chaos of the overwhelming population size demands yet to come. In this paper, I will examine how mHealth is used and how it both positively impacts and places stress on society’s plate as a whole. To effectively create a visual of this topic, I will be incorporating research and information provided by several authors. In Thomas Martin’s article, he clearly illustrates what mHealth is and how it is most often seen used. However, he narrows his focus on how mHealth dramatically impacts the population health as a whole. While he is a firm believer in the concept of mHealth being beneficial, he feels that technology is evolving faster than we can keep up with. William Milton seems to relate with Martin’s fear, for he views the future as a slight problem for his career. Milton was a medical student at Manchester Medical School of the United Kingdom at the time that he wrote a letter to the Medical Education and Informatics Unit of Sultan Qaboos University. Within his letter, he addresses the fear that many students like himself have, in that they believe technology will outpace their work capabilities and perform better than them in diagnosis and in surgical operations. Milton suggests that students should be endorsed in the rapid evolvement of technology pertaining to mobile health through the incorporation of mHealth into their medical school curriculum. Brenda K. Wiederhold assesses how sensor-enabled mobile health apps are impacting the medical field. She dedicates her attention to how these apps influence one’s behavioral health conditions. Shrirang Mare addresses some of the risks pertaining to mHealth and the sensors involved in its use. She believes that low-power sensors are not as secure when it comes to keeping one’s personal health information private. Mare developed a mHealth sensing protocol, addressing the problems of each layer of the networking system and provides her own research and insight throughout her work to counterbalance any negatives. Some believe that sensored smartphone health apps are the only components of mHealth, but Ken Congdon addresses a different perspective. He mentions in his article that some individuals believe that anything technologically related to medicine can be considered mHealth, even though it is most familiar to consumers through the use of apps. Regardless of which definition holds true to mHealth, Congdon believes there are numerous beneficial aspects of mobile health on society and that the future has great things in store. All of these authors provide great insight and detail in regards to the beneficial aspects of mHealth on society, as well as some of the leading concerns for the general population.Mobile Health is defined by Thomas Martin as “the practice of medicine and public health through the use of mobile devices” (Martin). The digital world now obtains endless possibilities, especially in regard to assessing an individual’s health conditions. With apps commonly being a free source to install on a device, the inexpensive mHealth options tend to be favored by plenty of people. Martin addresses how this incredibly affordable alternative serves as a way for patients to become more involved in and aware of their own health. This further pushes individuals to create consistency as they stay in the know of their daily symptoms and bodily feelings while using tracking apps or virtual programs. Therefore, Martin sees the heavily incorporated concept of mHealth to be an excellent way to bring about population health benefits and decrease the rising expenses within the healthcare system. A highlight of the smartphone apps that sticks out to Martin is the ability for patients to adjust their mobile settings to receive short message service (SMS) or texts. These messages can be sent as a tool to inform or remind someone to take action with their health. This process is considered to be a direct impact on bettering population health, for it reminds individuals to stay connected with their progress. In addition, the messages often are sent to individuals that live within discordant populations that experience medical hardships and offers them a source of education that’s easy for them to comprehend and further apply to their lifestyle. While this is a clear indication of improvement in the healthcare system, Martin feels that technology is evolving at a rapid pace that policymakers, education systems, and doctors are unable to keep up with. Illustrating the same fear as Martin, William Melton, a medical student at Manchester Medical School, writes a letter to the Medical Education and Informatics Unit to request the incorporation of mHealth into their medical school curriculum.  He suggests the use of Apple iBooks Author application in clinical studies, for medical students are given iPads for their clinical years. Melton tested this platform and noted its efficiency and ease of use. He states within his letter, “iBooks Author is an intuitive and simple piece of software. It was easy to create an attractive and professional text in a relatively short amount of time” (Melton). Along with Melton, Brenda K. Wiederhold directs her focus towards the patients and their changing of scenery. She identifies the cultural shifts into mHealth and how it is affecting the individual’s behavioral health. Wiederhold shares her findings through her article and brings the light to the benefits. For instance, she discovers through her own research other authors claiming that mHealth can aid diagnosis, better treatment plans, and provide the accessibility of services to those of all social statuses. “However, evidence-based research is sparse, and those studies that exist focus primarily on the use of mHealth for treatment purposes, including all the self-management activities performed by patients” (Wiederhold). She continues to explain how sensors used within apps or electronic health devices like a Fitbit have evolved and improved tremendously. There are numerous types of sensors seen today, including motion detectors, pedometers, and cameras with the ability to detect trends. “Recent advances in sensor technologies have enabled sensors to become more comfortable, more reliable, more transparent, and less invasive to consumers” (Wiederhold). She deems that through the use of mHealth, medical breakthroughs are more possible than ever before. In agreement to the other authors, Shrirang Mare feels that mHealth serves as the bridge for caregivers to monitor their patients and provide better care. Although, Mare takes into account the potential harms that sensor-enabled apps invite. For instance, she claims that maintaining privacy with low-power sensors is a constant battle and that three contributions must be made to the networking system to resolve any security issues. First Mare proposes Hide-n-Sense, “a wireless protocol that provides strong security and privacy properties at link layer for mHealth sensing with low energy overhead for the sensors”(Mare). Secondly, she creates a prototype of the protocol on a wireless device and tests if it works at a low power. To test the protocol’s privacy, Mare and her research group uses MAC striping, adaptive security, and an unbalanced resource necessity.  For the third addition, she analyzes the security, privacy, and energy levels of the protocol. In conclusion to her experiment, she finds that her protocol is “more energy-efficient than the existing security protocols for low-power sensors, and much more energy-efficient than existing privacy-preserving wireless protocols”(Mare). Ken Congdon brings attention to the contrasting definitions of mHealth. He proposes the belief by many that mHealth only pertains to programs and applications on cellular devices. He stresses the alternative belief that mHealth can be considered as anything pertaining to technology within the medical system. Through his research, Congdon discovers that the way the World Health Organization defines mHealth doesn’t match up to the way in which the National Institute of Health defines it. The first believes that mHealth is used to address health priorities while the second believes the purpose of mHealth is to improve healthcare services and studies. He feels that the most recognizable benefit of mHealth is “improved care quality and patient empowerment” (Congdon). He feels that the most influential apps that make up mHealth are designed to give patients access to appropriate healthcare. Congdon includes an example of this within his article that reflect his findings from David Collins, the Senior Director of mHIMSS. “For example, Collins references CallDR, a mobile app dedicated to streamlining the consultation process by allowing physicians to securely send patient data (including photos and video) and engage in real-time collaborations with specialists (anywhere in the world) via a mobile device” (Congdon). This app was created by a physician. Collins believes that is verification that mHealth is being taken advantage of by members of the scientific community. In my opinion, mHealth is something we shouldn’t fear, but we should monitor closely. I agree with Martin and share the same belief that mHealth is truly benefiting the population health. If there is a way for us to connect our medical sources to individuals within disparate countries or regions we shouldn’t take that opportunity lightly. As Melton discussed, I strongly support the idea of educating medical students with the incorporation of mHealth. Melton’s letter directly portrays how medical students are pushing their teachers to become more endorsed and aware of the technological evolvement as well, which is the direction teachers truly need to be taken. Sometimes we have to work backwards with our teachings, for it seems that the younger an individual is the more the person is familiar with technological applications and objects. Therefore, there is so much that elders can learn from younger adults in regard to technology. I find what Wiederhold states about the lack of evidence-based research to be intriguing, for it is true that when researching mHealth it is easier to locate information supporting the treatment purposes and not so much the ways that mHealth can be reshaped in the future. When considering the effects of mHealth on an individual’s behaviour, I feel that it should also be taken into consideration the effect on one’s cognition abilities. I feel that some individuals comprehend information better when they receive it from their doctor in person, while others digest the information easier through their own virtual research and or application usage. This would be a great test to experiment with. I agree with the research of Congdon, for he address the need to familiarize ourselves with the actuality of what mHealth truly serves as. Identifying the definition of mHealth clarifies how we can proceed to fine tune its use in all aspects of the healthcare system and not just the treatment process. Mobile health has impacted today’s society and healthcare system in drastic ways. It has been incorporated into so many free self-management tools that so many individuals use without even realizing they are. We must bring to our attention the way in which mHealth is affecting the future of health and the effectiveness of its purposes. It is important we devise a clearer system and educate doctors to provide care that is compatible to mobile softwares and applications. The healthcare system and technological advances must remain on the same page, or else there will be room for error to take place. We must not allow the mHealth system to take the reins, for if there were to ever be a flaw in the system, it would be out of our hands to resolve.

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