mHealth Rant

Check out my latest article in Technology for Doctors, an online publication for which I write a monthly column.  You can find it here.

I’d like to hear views on whether we need yet another buzzword.  I argue that mHealth will cause more confusion among potential users and divide the health IT community at a time when it should be united.





4 responses to “mHealth Rant

  1. Glad you said it, Mike. mhealth, if I may use the word, is a subset of ehealth and we shouldn’t be favoring the former over the latter. For some odd reason, technology seems to be our driving factor rather than need.

  2. Hi Mike,

    It’s been a while. Hope all is well.

    I agree with your perspective that mHealth is the flavor of the month and that we can’t disregard the enthusiasm it has brought to the medical/healthcare community. I feel that mHealth is underpinned by the main tenet of ehealth that is the use of ICT in healthcare. At the end of the day, isn’t mHealth looking to achieve the same goal as ehealth? A full integration of all health data sources to support patients and health care delivery?

    I suppose the use of mobile devices for healthcare in lesser devloped nations -such as the HIV SMS trials in Africa- does somewhat leapfrog the use of the Internet in supporting the patient journey as they just don’t have enough infrastructure to support the ehealth innovations we see in developed nations. In those cases I can understand why a new term would be warranted; however, I still see it falling under the umbrella of ehealth. Regardless of moniker, I hope that mHealth hype can be leveraged to illuminate the importance and need for these types of innovations to help overcome cultural adoption barriers experienced by ehealth innovations such as EHR and PHR.


  3. I believe the problem is we have been concentrating far too much on the technology, be it m for mobile or e for electronic, and not enough on the healthcare it is supposed to deliver. We muddy the waters by making assumptions that a technical solution will lead to better outcomes, when in fact what we need to do is develop models of care that utilize the technology to deliver better health outcomes. Let the clinicians use the technology without branding it, and see what innovations they can come up with.

  4. Hi Mike,

    I’ve also been in the technology business for a while and I have no particular love for buzzwords. However, when a new buzzword emerges I have noticed that there has often been some iteration in the thinking or technology beneath the surface to warrant such a change in terminology.

    In the case of eHealth and mHealth, I believe that this shift represents the beginning of the mass movement towards consumer (patient) empowerment and the patient as the central actor in their healthcare. eHealth to me represents the jurisdictional infrastructure required to achieve an interconnected healthcare system. mHealth to me represents the “edge devices” and contextual “apps” that patients, their circle of care and their providers use to consume patient information and create meaningful experiences at the point of care. Both are important parts of the ecosystem and each is completely dependant on the other for the entire system to work.

    eHealth is a highway without cars, mHealth is cars without roads.



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