July 01, 2013 Science and Technology Law

The mHealth Revolution: Legal Implications of Mobile Health Technology

Deborah Runkle

If you can monitor your e-mail, the weather, and your horoscope on your mobile phone, how about your health? It turns out you can monitor that, too, by downloading one of the more than 10,000 health apps for mobile devices. This phenomenon is known as mHealth, broadly defined as “the use of mobile telecommunications in health care.” Although life science companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, hospitals, insurers, and health care providers all are taking advantage of the new opportunities available through mobile communications, it is use by individual patients and consumers that holds out the possibility of a promising disruptive technology. mHealth is a low-cost platform that can engage patients by communicating actionable information to health care providers in a manner that fits into the day-to-day lives of patients and by providing advice and feedback that allows them to manage their own health and wellness.

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