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M-Health & eHealth - Using Technology to To Improve the Level of Care and Education to Patients

written by: Lashan Clarke • edited by: Anurag Ghosh • updated: 11/28/2010

The use of mhealth and ehealth has become quite popular especially in countries in which the main hospital is located wiithin the city. Discover what the difference is between the use of ehealth and mhealth.

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    What is eHealth?

    mHealth and eHealth are both used to describe healthcare. However, eHealth is an all-encompassing term that refers the use of electronic devices within the medical profession. These devices can be anything such as laptops, netbooks, personal digital assistants (PDAs), mobile cell phones or patient monitors. Therefore, eHealth is considered to be the use of information technology and communications within a healthcare setting. It is similar to health informatics, but has grown to evolve so much more than the concepts of health informatics used in the past.

    It is a great way to use information technology to improve the level of care given to a person. It not only looks at using technology to diagnose a condition, but can also be effective in prevention and education of the person. Thus, the technology is used to help the medical professional with better and quicker access to pertinent information such as laboratory or x-ray results. eHealth does not get rid of the old methods of patient care, but looks for ways technology and communications can be used to improve it.

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    What is mHealth?

    Mobile eHealth or mHealth is used to the ability to practice medicine with the use of cellular phones. The term mHealth is used mainly to describe how a medical professional is supported by a mobile device such as a phone or PDA. The mobile device is used to provide treatment and public health information using SMS or wireless technology.

    The emergent use of mHealth has revolutionized the way in which many health professionals are able to administer treatment to patients and conduct patient education seminars. M-Health is particularly useful within rural areas of the developing world.

    In some countries, a field nurse or doctor will rely on the technology associated with a mobile phone or PDA to treat a patient. They can be working in a very rural area that would take a long time for more specialized help to arrive. The information these medical professionals receive can be life-saving in emergency situations. Thus Mobile eHealth is often used in areas such as Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

    As a result of the emerging use of mobile technology in healthcare, a few companies have created devices that can help in diagnosis. For example, an ultrasound scanner that sends images via a mobile phone.

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    eHealth Vs mHealth

    mHealth and eHealth are both popular techniques that have augmented the way a medical professional can use technology to improve the level of care or education given to a patient. However, mHealth is only one aspect or subsection of eHealth. The use of eHealth is geared towards how all electronic devices can be used for IT and communications purposes in health care, whereas mHealth focuses mainly on communications and how a mobile phone can be used in patient-monitoring and diagnosis.