mHealth can reduce costs in some areas of health care

Added May 1, 2020

Citation: Iribarren SJ, Cato K, Falzon L, et al. What is the economic evidence for mHealth? A systematic review of economic evaluations of mHealth solutions. PLOS One 2017; 12: e0170581

What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic is placing a strain on healthcare systems. Existing research on the cost effectiveness of mobile health (mHealth) to deliver health care may provide useful information for policy makers.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for research that evaluated the costs and outcomes of mHealth (including the use of mobile phones, patient monitoring devices, personal digital assistants and other wireless devices to support medical and public health practice). They restricted their search to studies published in English up to April 2016. They included 39 economic evaluations assessing mHealth for behavior change communication (27 studies), data collection (7) and service delivery (5). Most (34) of the included studies were from upper and upper-middle income countries.

What was found: mHealth, either as a primary intervention or as a component of an intervention, can be economically beneficial and reduce costs.

Text messaging and apps are effective platforms for delivering mHealth.

Disease detection and point-of-care testing using mobile devices have high potential for increasing access to testing and can be cost-effective.

The economic effects of mHealth in low and low-middle income countries are uncertain.


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