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Innovation Technology

Mobile Technology In Health Surveillance

Using mobile or wireless technology for supporting the achievement of healthcare objectives can actually change the face of the global healthcare service delivery system. There have many factors that have contributed to this change. These are the huge innovations in mobile technology and its applications, the growth of opportunities for integrating mobile health into the current e-health services and the steady growth of cellular networks everywhere.

Why do you need mobile technology for healthcare surveillance?

With the continuing emergence of new infectious diseases in both humans and animals there is a corresponding demand for new health surveillance measures. Places in east and southern parts of Africa had earlier relied completely on paper-based systems to monitor infectious diseases; but these have limitations in terms of data accuracy and reliability. Data transfer is slow and this prevents effective surveillance, slowing down detection and treatment in the process. So, after a successful deployment of a project that used mobile technologies for disease surveillance, the SACIDS or South African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance and the EAIDSNet or East African Integrated Disease Surveillance Network have started a cross-national mobile system that includes 6 countries in these regions.

When there are mass gatherings it can be rather challenging for international or domestic surveillance agencies. Whether such gathering is political or religious, the accumulation of too many people in one place can threaten emergency response systems. To take care of risks of such disease outbreaks, stampedes, clinical emergencies, etc governments are trying to spend more money on public health preparedness. But record maintenance turns out to be an issue as they are only on documents and there is no real-time collection or analysis of data to mobilize resources. Mobile health technology is cost-friendly and scalable, making them very effective for managing disease surveillance. The easy availability of customizable open-source software and cheap mobile technologies as well as cloud-based analytics offers an easy way to gather and analyze huge volumes of data all in real time. Besides, digital platforms can also help to implement clinical decision support mechanisms and send out critical public health information through text messages and social media.

A case in point is the UK healthcare system which needs to use mobile technologies at the earliest opportunity because the NHS faces challenges every day due to the absence of this, especially during the harsh winter months. The only solution for them is clinical mobility. This involves use of devices like tablets, mobile computers and printers by doctors and nurses at point-of-care. If this can be implemented properly it can elevate patient care and make sure that healthcare is more personalized.

With the use of mobile technology in healthcare surveillance, healthcare workers will have easy access to data networks on all supported mobile devices. Using such devices they can view electronic health records and access innovative software and tools to save resources. The good news is that even patients are embracing this new development because they feel it is associated with better treatment.