Your Mobile Phone: Your Health Care Helper

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Mobile technology has come so far in recent years and today it’s being used for health care delivery throughout the developing world.

Twenty years ago, people who lived in rural villages had very few options should they be in a life threatening situation. There are no nearby doctors or hospitals. Today, mobile technology can help those people by allowing them to connect with doctors, nurses and other health care professionals in major cities.

Dr. Alain Labrique, a professor of International Health and Epidemiology at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, is just one of over 60 faculty members and 120 students involved in the John Hopkins Global mHealth Initiative. This initiative currently has 51 projects exploring how mobile technology can be used in the health sphere.

The institute’s work has received an immensely positive response, but while mobile technology is one of the quickest ways to help those in need, there is the concern of just how effective the technology can really be.

According to Dr. Larry Chang, a Johns Hopkins researcher who studied H.I.V./AIDS and the use of technology in Uganda, “there hasn’t been a lot of rigorous evaluation of their impact. We need to study and make sure that these devices are doing what people say they are doing and that they are really helping people.”

The efficiency of the technology isn’t the only challenge facing researchers. Dr. Labrique also noted that the number of resources, such as the number of health care professionals and medical services, will need to increase in these areas to support a larger workload.

These concerns have to be addressed and the technology proven before it will be recognised on a global scale, but it does provide a platform for healthcare professionals to impact public health and populations in new and beneficial ways.

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