As the mobile health market grows, the opportunity and potential to use mhealth to help manage the greatest health challenges increases. Previous blog posts have discussed the role of mobile health in managing conditions such as diabetes and asthma. But there is potential for mobile health to contribute to cancer supportive care. As patients are becoming more engaged with their health conditions, they are taking on an enhanced role in the care processes. mHealth has caught the attention of the healthcare system as something that can alter the way healthcare is viewed, managed and delivered.
In 2015, the estimated number of people in the UK with cancer was 2.5 million. By 2030, the number is expected to rise to 4 million. mHealth provides a platform for remote patient monitoring. Patients can record severe symptoms and send this information to physicians. For physicians, there is the possibility of access to patient data and for patients, there is the opportunity to learn more and to better manage their condition.
Cancer research focuses mainly on clinical trials. However, clinical trials can often be expensive to run and recruiting enough people to participate can also prove to be difficult. By using mhealth, the door is open for smartphone users to participate in research improving the sample size. By using mobile health apps, they no longer need to visit facilities to fill out questionnaires. With any research, improving the sample size can drastically improve the accuracy of the data and results. The launch of the Apple ResearchKit was a major breakthrough in mhealth and medical research by providing a platform to easily conduct studies and enrol participants. Launched in 2015, the Apple ResearchKit aims to turn iPhones into scientific data collecting devices for medical research.
By allowing for remote patient monitoring and aiding in clinical trials, the opportunity is there for mhealth to play a role in cancer supportive care. Apple ResearchKit is a step in the right direction for medical research, however there are plenty of opportunities for more apps to provide patients with a platform to contribute.