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“How Does This Work? Using Mobile Health Technology While Protecting Your Privacy” American Health Lawyers Association

October 17, 2016
Patricia A. Markus

What is Mobile Health Technology?

Mobile health technology, commonly referred to as “mHealth,” is the use of wireless mobile communication devices—such as smart phones, tablets, and “wearables” (e.g., Fitbit®)—to assist and/or improve the delivery of health care services; enhance communication between the patient and health care provider; help an individual track and/or achieve a personal health goal; or all of the above.

Consumers can now choose from a vast array of wearables and mHealth applications or “apps,” which can be instantly downloaded to their smartphones or tablets for free or minimal cost. In September 2015, an IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics (IMS) report revealed that the number of mobile health apps available to consumers now surpasses 165,000, nearly two-thirds of which are focused on general wellness such as fitness, lifestyle, stress, and diet. The remaining one-third are health apps that address specific health conditions, including many that are dedicated to women’s health and pregnancy issues and apps that provide medication information and reminders. Mental health apps led among disease-specific apps, followed by apps for diabetic patients.

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