5 reasons why mHealth isn’t “telemedicine without wires”

“mHealth’s potential continues to grow, but roadblocks exist” is a Destination ATA editorial by Jeff Rowe that highlights a common misunderstanding of mHealth that I’m noticing amongst professionals with eHealth and Telemedicine expertise:

But despite the seemingly daily introduction of new gadgets – and new uses for those gadgets – those who have been involved in telemedicine in recent years can be forgiven for viewing mHealth as essentially telemedicine without wires

Here’s 5 reasons why I think mHealth isn’t just Telemedicine without wires:

> In the vast majority of instances Telemedicine was never personal

Typically it didn’t belong to the patient (eg. they were loaned it) or the Healthcare Professionals (eg. it was owned by their employer). In 2012 watch a Doctor or nurse at work and they’re looking or picking up their mobile every few minutes. Patients are more likely to leave their home without their keys or wallets than their mobile.

> Telemedicine was never permanently carried

There never was Doctors carrying their telemedicine kit with them to a restaurant or bar for a night out. Patients left/lost them if they weren’t plugged in (they normally are). On the other hand we have most people in 2012 taking their mobiles to the bathroom!

> Telemedicine was never permanently on

Unlike the mobile phones that remain on while we sleep. Telemedicine devices were switched off for the most part.

> Telemedicine never had the ability to make payments

This extra capacity is enabling a step change in ease of use for prescription pick up authorisations etc and patient identification. In the next few years we’ll get used to seeing this capacity used to drive greater patient engagement through financial rewards and penalties!

> Telemedicine was rarely there when you wanted it to be

Trauma Surgeon Dr Rafael Grossmann Zamora makes the case for this in this passionate TedXDirigo talk:

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