Mobile health (mHealth) applications are rapidly evolving to take advantage of new image support capabilities in mobile networks and devices, according to a new report from Strategy Analytics M2M Strategies service, “Remote Healthcare Imaging Has Growth Potential in Both Developed and Developing Markets.”
mHealth image-based applications range from remote interpretation of blood samples taken in a remote jungle clinic to sending fetal sonograms to the smartphones of friends and relatives.
Remote diagnostics has seen significant growth in recent years, as it is a way to get around shortages or poor distribution of specialists. In Egypt, for example, a partnership of Qualcomm, Mobinil, Click Diagnostics and the Ministry of Health allowed remote health clinics to send smartphone-captured images of skin conditions for diagnosis, by some of the country’s few dermatologists. “Smartphones and tablets have improved so much as image capture and display devices that they permit remote diagnosis with accuracy rates that approach in-person examination,” says Tom Elliott , Director of Emerging Markets at Strategy Analytics and the report’s author. In late 2011, for example, MIM Software received FDA 510(k) clearance for the use of its iOS viewing application for diagnostic x-ray and ultrasound viewing.
A richer clinical interaction between patients and practitioners is now supported by videoconferencing, taking advantage of a combination of more capable mobile devices, more pervasive high bandwidth networks, and improved image handling software. Management of the vastly increased volume of clinical imaging data is inviting the attention of mobile operators like AT&T, whose cloud-based image access and management service supports service delivery over multiple platforms and wide geographic areas.