From underestimation to valorization: how mobile technology is transforming global health – The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on European Politics, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Business & Technology


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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Lucas Gheller Machado a 19 years old medical student from Brazil at the third year of medicine. He Is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Today, the world reality is viewed from an easier perspective with regard to access to information and the eradication of several diseases that were once considered potentially deadly. However, to reach this level that humanity is at, several changes have occurred and had to occur in the past in order to be able to minimize impacts and social evolution. Oswaldo Cruz, for example, was an essential sanitary doctor in the fight against yellow fever, bubonic plague and smallpox, which, regardless of other determinants, made it possible to mitigate the impacts that the population could suffer. Currently, according to the World Health Organization, several diseases, such as cardiovascular, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, HIV, lung cancer and diabetes mellitus result in a rate of more than 22 million deaths per year, representing approximately 10% of the Brazilian population every year. In this sense, despite the efficacy of conventional, adjuvant and neoadjuvant treatments, access to information remains the basis of the therapeutic success adopted by professionals, since, although there is an indication for treatment, if there is no patient compliance, the treatment will probably not be effective. This is one of the examples found today that reflects the importance of information as a fundamental core to help raise awareness of the individual as a modifying agent for himself and society in general. 1

One study pointed out that ten and fifteen years after quitting smoking, the risk of lung cancer ends up being halved and similar to those who have never smoked, respectively. 2 In addition, there is an effective HIV prevention measure which is education for safer sex practices. 3 Last but not least, weight loss in overweight people can reduce the incidence of diabetes. 4 In this bias, despite having the guidance of health systems, they find it difficult to promote this continuing education, so that individuals are also informed and remembered in their homes, without having to go to the health unit. Therefore, mobile technologies appear as an extremely valid alternative in supporting individuals, mainly for promoting individual and targeted support. 5

Furthermore, the use of mobile technologies is not restricted to a specific group of diseases, on the contrary, it affects even diseases with no apparent cure, such as Parkinson’s disease (PD). A study revealed that the care of PD patients will undergo significant changes in the coming years. The implementation of electronic patient-controlled health records (EHR) and the technology-based home monitoring system are likely to constitute new trends in efficacy in PD, as they enable substantial empowerment and remote monitoring of motor and non-motor manifestations of the disease. 6

From the underestimation that has spread for years to the valorization through the perception of its potential effectiveness, mobile technology has been transforming global health like never before imagined. Mobile technology is not the future: it is the present.

References

  1. World Health Organization (2011) World Health Statistics, 2011. Geneva: WHO.
  2. Doll R, Peto R, Wheatley K, Gray R, Sutherland I (1994) Mortality in relation to smoking: 40 years’ observations on male British doctors. BMJ 309: 901–911.
  3. UNAIDS (2003) AIDS Epidemic update.
  4. Hamman RF, Wing RR, Edelstein SL, Lachin JM, Bray GA, et al. (2006) Effect of weight loss with lifestyle intervention on risk of diabetes. DIABETES CARE 29: 2102–2107.
  5. Free C, Phillips G, Galli L, et al. The effectiveness of mobile-health technology-based health behaviour change or disease management interventions for health care consumers: a systematic review. PLoS Med. 2013;10(1):e1001362. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001362
  6. Hansen C, Sanchez-Ferro A, Maetzler W. How Mobile Health Technology and Electronic Health Records Will Change Care of Patients with Parkinson’s Disease. J Parkinsons Dis. 2018;8(s1):S41-S45. doi:10.3233/JPD-181498

About the author

Lucas Gheller Machado is 19 years old and he courses the third year of
medicine. Currently, he is local coordinator of IFMSA Brasil UniCesumar,
president of the Miguel Nicolelis Academic Center (CAMN), president of the
Academic League of Intensive Medicine in Maringá (LAMIM) and member of the Academic League of Medical Genetics (LAGeM). In addition, he constantly participates in Humanizart social actions, aimed at serving vulnerable populations and collaborating with humanization in the streets and hospitals. His objective is to combine graduation with scientific and artistic development, constituting a formation of solid and essential pillars.





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