The worldwide adoption of mobile health devices, solutions, and resources has been well documented across the global healthcare spectrum. According to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, apps in particular have become ubiquitous in many aspects of our lives over the past five years, fueled by the widespread availability of tablet computers and smartphones.
Tens of thousands of health, wellness, and medical apps are now available for download to Apple or Android devices from online stores, IMS says, while cautiously noting that mHealth has not grown in all markets at the same accelerated pace observed elsewhere.
In recent years, for example, the United Arab Emirates has been slow to embrace the potential of mHealth. But this former-laggard has begun slowly warming to mobile health and could soon be classied as one of the world’s hottest emerging markets for mHealth.
The Ministry of Health in Dubai has recently created an agreement with UAE-based telecom companies Etisalat and du in the hopes of collaborating for the increased development of mobile health technologies for UAE citizens.
“The UAE is one of the most obese regions of the world, and the MoH is aiming to use mobile health tools to curb the growing risks of diabetes and an increasing overweight generation of children,” says Juliana Kenny of Blouin News. “The mobile efforts will be a part of the Obesity Control Program, and ideally help doctors assist patients remotely and monitor conditions without patients having to come into medical offices.”
From the most basic of smartphones to the most advanced wearable tech in the world, the UAE knows it must walk before it can run in mHealth. But the projects envisioned for the short term clearly portend favorably for a brighter and more innovative tomorrow for mobile health in the region.
“While these projects will launch for mobile devices that will largely be smartphones and tablets for now, the new push towards wearable technology could hold much potential for furthering the efforts of mobile health initiatives,” Kenny writes. “Perhaps the new era of wearable technology that is being ushered in by these global tech giants will give mobile health the boost it needs to continue making its way into the lives of people the world over.”