Attendees at the GMIC 2015 Mobile Health Summit was treated to a lively discussion between two experts in the healthcare field today.
Anna Zhao, Business Advisor at the China-Britain Business Council took to the stage to answer the question; what is mobile health? Mobile health is in fact a US term; in the UK it is referred to as digital health. These terms encompass three distinct remote care practices. The first is Tele-care, which is home-based primary care such as mobile health devices used exclusively by individual patients. An example of this would be a blood pressure monitoring app, or a calorie tracking device. The second is Tele-health, which involves doctors providing secondary care to patients, often through hospitals or community healthcare, by interacting with them through some kind of technology. The third is Tele-medicine, where the focus is on doctors interacting with other doctors through technology. An example would be teleconferences between doctors, which are common in specialised hospitals such as those dealing with children’s disease. She went on to describe the standard patient journey of disease awareness, pre-diagnosis, diagnosis & prescription, and follow-up management.
Mobile health is very relevant to chronic diseases in particular. The China-Britain Business Council are leading a project to tackle diabetes, bringing British experience to Chinese hospitals to help manage a disease that affects millions across China. In particular she would like to see China replicate the UK system of two-way referrals. This is where patients first see a family doctor before being referred to specialists at a hospital, but can then be referred back to family doctors to deal with other less serious problems.
Zhang Cheng, Strategy Lead for Pfizer China, has the modest ambition of building a healthier China. He told of his efforts to educate Chinese patients through offline education programs with the support of doctors. While yielding some noticeable results, the efficacy of these programs was difficult to measure, and his team failed to convince themselves of the results. In response, Mr Zhang launched an innovation competition this year, inviting companies to work with Pfizer China to explore new ways to deliver mobile health solutions.
Looking to the future, Zhang Cheng was optimistic. He envisioned a world where patients were connected to their doctors 24/7, where wearable devices would provide convenient capture and transmission of patient health data, and where pharmaceutical drugs were deregulated and sold through e-commerce platforms such as JD.com. He said his goal will always be to reduce the time spent by patients and physician alike. Furthermore, he said was important to raise awareness of neglected diseases such as erectile dysfunction, and spoke of the benefits an established physician networking platform would offer.
Author: Carl Robinson