Mobile Health Care

Mobile computing has been touted by many industries as the next frontier. Apparently, this trend will include health care, although the development of mobile health is expected take longer than developments in other fields because of familiar concerns about standards, security, privacy, and confidentiality of e-patient data (see Part Four, particularly Chapter Fourteen; Tan, Wen, and Gyires, 2003).

Nonetheless, the transition and transformation from traditional computing technology and methodology to a wireless platform is already happening in many of our routine work and leisure activities. Hence, it is only a matter of time before this transformation moves into the realm of health care. The benefits for mobile health will be significant, given that immediate data capture and retrieval will become convenient when specialists, physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, nurses' aides, public health professionals, and home health care workers all begin using wireless-enabled personal data assistants (PDAs).

Many executives today have converted to a mobile platform, making schedules, writing memos, engaging in complex analysis, listening to music, creating alerts and alarms, and e-mailing via BlackBerries, Palm Pilots, iPods, advanced pagers, cell phones, and other handheld devices. These handhelds provide a very convenient platform for generating future-oriented applications in health care. For example, both Pocket PCs and Palm Pilots are currently being tested and used for e-prescribing, capturing charges (e-billing), on-line research, e-book resources and references, e-patient education, e-clinical tools, and real-time retrieval of daily scheduling information.

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