Brookings Report Reviews mHealth’s Global Impact

10-23-2013 12-59-12 PM

The Brookings Institute publishes a research paper on the impact mobile health is having on care delivery. The paper, which was released in conjunction with a live-streamed panel discussion on mobile health, highlights the inventions and innovations that enterprises are embracing to improve outcomes or quality of life for patients.

The webinar was hosted by Darrell West, founding director at the Center for Technology Innovation. Panelists included Erik Augustson, a program director with the Tobacco Control Research Branch, and Iltifat Husain, MD the founder and editor of, also an emergency medicine resident.

Remote Monitoring

Brookings points to innovations in remote monitoring as a growth sector within the mHealth space that has demonstrated an ability to both improve outcomes and quality of life. Remote cardiac monitoring solutions, like AliveCor, are profiled as innovative solutions that provides high-risk cardiac patients an at home safety net.

Propeller Health, formerly Asthmapolis, was also profiled as a disruptive new technology. Propeller Health helps asthma patients identify their environmental triggers by mapping where and when attacks happen, and pulling in third-party data sources to paint a clearer picture of the root cause.

In Japan, a new program called the “Wireless Health Care@Home” program allows patients living in remote areas to send health information to doctors over a wireless network. This allows them to live at home, managing their own condition with the supervision of a remote doctor.

Remote monitoring tools designed to improve physician satisfaction were also discussed. AirStrip being one. AirStrip lets physicians monitor their patient’s fetal monitor or cardiology waveforms via a smartphone. Deployment of tools like these have been attributed to a five to 10 percent improvement in physician satisfaction scores.

The report states that globally 75 percent of healthcare costs are associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and asthma. Remote monitoring is pointed to as a viable vehicle for improving outcomes while reducing costs in these areas.

Mobilizing Medical Information

Globally, access to medical reference materials has been a problem that clinicians have started using mobile devices to resolve. Epocrates is a prime example. The mobile health company provides a comprehensive drug library via an app that can be accessed over a smartphone or tablet. Critical drug information that was once difficult to access for everyone is now generally available and widely accessed.

A new program, called “mPowering Frontline Health Workers” is also cited. The program is  compiling clinical information created by health experts into a digital repository that can be accessed remotely by frontline health workers around the world as long as they have access to a cell phone.


mHealth is still a relatively new field in medicine, but it has already started proving itself to be a valuable tool when working with patients in remote or resource limited areas. It is also a viable tool to help combat the physician shortage that is affecting care delivery both nationally and abroad. To help expedite mHealth’s positive impact on healthcare, Brookings recommends governments remove barriers to adoption of mobile applications that aid in chronic disease management and make these tools much more widely available.

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