(Roebuck, 2012) posits that mHealth which in full means mobile health is a general term, which refers to the use of mobile phones as well as other wireless technology in health care.
The commonly used applications in mHealth are mobile phones and communication devices that educate customers about preventive health services. However, this service is also used for chronic disease management, disease surveillance; epidemic outbreak tracking and treatment support (Istepanian et al, 2011).
This technology is becoming a popular alternative in underserved region where there is a huge population and a high level of mobile phone usage. NGOs like mHealth Alliance are pushing for for continued use of mHealth in the developing countries.
Impact of mHealth on quality of care, life, cost of care, and access
mHealth revolves around 3 major modalities; Mobile web for health management sites, Text messaging for health reminders and Native mobile health apps
Mobile web is not defined by operating system, so nearly any smartphone can access the information. Mobile web is also advantageous design-wise, in that it provides more consistent user interfaces with PC-based web. Client customization becomes relatively easy. Because of this, mobile web product developments could take place very fast. However, mobile web is inherently passive in that it cannot proactively reach out to the people to encourage them use it. Functionality could be obstructed if cell signals are not strong, or if the Wi-Fi service is not accessible. The need for reaching out to the Internet for gathering information implies that mobile web is not as fast compared with native applications (Krohn et al, 2012).
Text messaging has a functionality that is usually lacking in mobile web. It has an ability to reach out to people proactively and grab their attention. This means that it could be used as a trigger for a call to action, for instance asking one to track daily exercise. Text messaging is a trigger that is very effective with research showing that text message open rates reach 95%, while e-mail open rates reach 11%. Most important, texts can be used on nearly every mobile phone making the service largely available. However, text messages may have huge costs to the mobile subscribers. Since it is only able to transmit messages that are short, text messaging do not allow for a more interactive user interface, for example colors and graphics (Roebuck, 2012).
The third modality which is native apps installs large amounts of data and functionality directly on the smartphone, rather than reaching out to the Internet. In other words, apps are small software pieces installed on the phones. This being the case therefore, the functionality of the apps is governed by an underlying operating system, and tends to be distributed from an app store ecosystem that is closely aligned with the manufacturer of smartphones or developers of the operating system. Apps are built specifically for the mobile phones...