A new report by the Brookings Institution says mobile technology has expanded dramatically around the world. According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, global mobile data traffic has doubled for the fourth year in a row, says the US policy think tank. And looking toward the future, the report estimates that “global mobile data traffic will increase 18-fold between 2011 and 2016”. By the end of that time period, it is projected that there will be 10 billion mobile devices in use around the world.
Along with 3G and 4G, these advances have had a huge impact on many walks of life. The utilization of smart phones and tablets has transformed communications, commerce, and entertainment, among other fields. Their emergence has improved service delivery, empowered consumers, businesses, and entrepreneurs, and changed the way in which people access information and make transactions, according to the report’s author Darrell West.
Now this technology is poised to alter how health care is delivered, the quality of the patient experience, and the cost of health care. Mobile technology is helping with chronic disease management, empowering the elderly and expectant mothers, reminding people to take medication at the proper time, extending service to underserved areas, and improving health outcomes and medical system efficiency. In this report, I focus on mobile health innovation around the world. As part of our Mobile Economy Project, the Brookings Institution review adoption of innovative examples of m-health, its impact on service delivery and medical treatment, and how mobile devices are saving money in the health care system.