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As the digital transformation has taken the healthcare industry by storm, one thing is certain that the trend of mobile health or mHealth is here to help healthcare professionals. Although mHealth is still in its nascent stage, increased use of smartphones and smart wearables is expected to propel its demand. According to Allied Market Research, the mobile health market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 33.5% during 2015–2020.

Convenience of smart medical devices, recent technological innovations, and rapidly changing lifestyle have made mHealth a popular buzzword in the healthcare sector. Thus, it is expected that many mHealth apps would get personalized according to the requirements of both patients and doctors. Technological innovations, such as blockchain, internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and big data and analytics, are expected to provide a new dimension to the mHealth market.

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AI-powered mHealth to diabetes patients

WellSpan Health, a Pennsylvania-based integrated health care system, recently rolled out a novel mHealth platform named as a Sweetch solution that is based on AI technology for those suffering from type 2 diabetes. The solution consists of a mHealth application with a wireless Bluetooth connection that can connect around 15,000 employees.

Charles Chodroff, MD and Vice President of Population Health and Chief Clinical Officer, stated in the press release , “We have been developing this tool to augment our wellness assessment program and providing personalized assessments to identify risk factors associated with chronic diseases. This mHealth platform would take our program to the next level by providing patients a tool that can automatically adapt to each individual’s life habits.

The solution is developed to process weight measurements from the scale and smartphone-based data streams such as geo-location, physical activity, patterns, weather and surrounding, and driving and walking routes. Moreover, the product showed positive results in the study conducted at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

mHealth applications for studying chronic diseases

Tech moguls including Apple have been investing in various mobile health applications to conduct research about patients suffering from chronic diseases. Recently, Apple announced that several hospitals and health systems would participate in a massive mHealth survey to determine whether Apple Watch or a mHealth app can be used to enhance care management and improve results of patients who have undergone knee or hip surgery.

The study is facilitated by Zimmer Biomet Holdings and Apple, which aims to analyze whether healthcare providers can use mHealth apps to remotely monitor patients by their team of caretakers before and after the surgery. mHealth application can be connected to the healthcare providers and send daily surveys and reminders about physical rehabilitation and medication after the surgery. Moreover, patients can communicate with their doctors and send daily reports, which can be used later to modify healthcare plans.

Similarly, researchers at Penn Medicine have decided to use mHealth wearables to monitor the daily routine of patients with chronic kidney diseases (CKD) and help improve their care management. The research is led by the researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. According to them, about 90 percent of the group of American patients did not realize that they have CKD, which ultimately leads to kidney failure and dialysis or the urgent need for an organ transplant. This five-year mHealth study is conducted to pinpoint the cardiovascular risks associated with CKD and help patients monitor and identity markers of CKD.

Penn Medicine’s Harold I. Feldman, stated in a press release, “By combining biostatisticians, epidemiologists, and informaticians, we are hoping to dig deeper into a public health threat to identify interventions that can be tailored according to patients suffering from CKD.”

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Apart from Apple, several other tech giants have been collaborating with hospitals to launch their dedicated mHealth applications, which can help monitor and reduce the aftereffects of chronic diseases. The rapid demand for mHealth applications and increase in investment in R&D have boosted the mHealth market and thus, it is certain that the future of healthcare is bright.