Mobile eHealth is the practice of medicine and public health provision supported by mobile communication devices. Most commonly, this involves the use of mobile phones, tablet computers and personal digital assistants (PDAs) for direct communication with health providers or accessing health-related information.
Under traditional health service provision, patients, sometimes with mobility issues, have to travel to a clinic or hospital, or, conversely, health care providers have to travel to see the patient. Obviously, mobile eHealth provision, where no one has to go anywhere, can potentially be much more efficient. Nevertheless, the establishment, acceptance and use of mobile eHealth services is still not widespread.
The EU-funded project MOVINGLIFE ('Mobile eHealth for the vindication of global lifestyle change and disease management solutions'), led by Spain's Atos, researched ways to accelerate the spread of mobile eHealth solutions that could ultimately lead to better, more efficient health services for users.
The project's most significant output has been a set of roadmaps for technological research, implementation practice and policy support. To create these roadmaps, the project partners first undertook a number of specific tasks, including a detailed description of the current state of play and trends. The team developed possible scenarios for mobile eHealth applications, and identified technological and policy gaps.
The partners took a global perspective. They looked at current systems and best practices in developed and developing countries. For example, they consulted experts from countries such as Brazil and India.
The MOVINGLIFE roadmaps address a broad group of fundamental issues such as: technology options for applications and services; options for new and improved medical guidelines; user empowerment, acceptance, ethics and privacy; socio-economic environments; and policy and regulatory frameworks. The partners also considered specific technical aspects such as network resilience, interoperability and security.
The project also completed validation and impact assessments in selected areas using accepted healthcare technology assessment methods and simulations of mobile eHealth applications in daily life.
Project partners believe their work has provided a better understanding of the mobile eHealth options available to health care providers. This understanding will help improve Europe's capacity to define research policies - and the business and regulatory framework needed to develop both private sector-driven and publicly-funded mobile eHealth services.
And who will benefit? Anyone and everyone who might become a user of healthcare services at some point in time, which means - all Europeans.
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