The consultation was launched by the European Commission to collect comments on the barriers and issues related to the use of mHealth, that will help identifying the right way forward to unlock the potential of mobile health in the EU.
The mHealth consultation, which recently closed on July 10th, was not confined to mobile phone applications, but included all patient monitoring devices and other wireless devices. The Green Paper, which is the subject of the consultation, included dedicated sections also on the role of “Big Data” and “Data Protection”, topics of great interest for VPH community.
The objective of the Public Consultation was to invite interested parties to submit their specific comments, suggestions, explanations or contributions on relevant aspects related to future EU action in the domain of mHealth. The Public Consultation might well be a first step for the European Commission to set the bases for specific legislation or policy-initiatives to regulate and promote the use of mHealth in Europe.
In the official press release, the European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes, responsible for the Digital Agenda, said: "mHealth will reduce costly visits to hospitals, help citizens take charge of their own health and wellbeing, and move towards prevention rather than cure. It is also a great opportunity for the booming app economy and for entrepreneurs.”
There are nearly 100,000 mHealth already available across multiple platforms such as iTunes, Google play, Windows Marketplace, BlackBerry World. The top 20 free sports, fitness and health apps already account for 231 million downloads worldwide. By 2017, 3.4 billion people worldwide will own a smartphone and half of them will be using mHealth apps. In 2017, if its potential is fully unlocked, mHealth could save €99 billion in healthcare costs in the EU.
Our Policy Affairs Work Group has contributed to the consultation bringing the vision of the VPH community on this important topic: “…thanks to the VPH technology we can imagine a future where the storage, organisation and processing of data are no longer a computational challenge, and real-time updating of each human’s healthcare avatar is enabling fully-personal simulations to be run continuously, so identifying potential health issues and enabling the environment to be interrogated for personalised threats. The central data repository is aware of every patient’s current health status and investigations are requested automatically if the status so indicates. Diagnosis and treatment options, though ultimately sanctioned by a medical practitioner, are proposed by the software system after multi-disease in silico optimisation.”
“…Additional investments are needed for research on the question how to make sense of the data collected by mHealth applications in order to arrive at an integrative solution for doctors, patients and industry. For the patient this would be Personal Health Forecasting. A personalized model is constantly adapted with mHealth data and the predictions of this model are used to provide advice and support to the patient. If thousands of patients transmit days of recordings of various sensors, additional developments on in silico technology have to be made to monitor this deluge of data, picking alarming events, observing trends, and derive public health understanding out of it (so-called big data analytics). In silico approaches become vital, from the simplest data mining, to machine learning techniques, but in many cases only a physiology-driven model can make any sense of complex sensors outputs.”
Download the VPH Institute’s full contribute to the mHealth consultation here.