Most of you would have heard the buzz about health apps. Its become so mainstream that it was featured on the ‘Corbett Report‘ last week.
Mobile health goes by several names. Some call it the ‘Quantified Self Movement’, others have shortened it to simply ‘mhealth’ whilst others refer some of its elements as ‘Telehealth’. Whatever you are calling it or used to it being called, mobile health and health social media is growing at an exponential speed that even regulators are struggling to keep up with.
Why is it growing so quick? Well, there are several reasons:
- Because people who use services are increasingly telling us they want to be partners in their care and not just recipients;
- A realization that the vast ownership and continued increase of adoption of mobile phones opens up doors to use these devices to help populations keep healthy;
- Because the health sector has a vast number of ingenius Information Technology experts who have so far been in the background of health service delivery and are very ready to show off their key skills in improving health
- Because – as smartphones become more available and saturate the population, they become cheaper and force us to consider their potential in reducing the burden of ill health
I am sure there are many other different reasons why others are dipping their toes into the mobile health sector, but the above covers the main reasons why I and 8 others embarked on this journey almost a year ago:
Lets go back to the beginning of this particular journey. I am a mental health nurse who manages an Early Intervention Team focused on intervening early for a better chance of recovery and improved long term prognosis i.e. prevent long term mental illness if possible. A year ago, I worked with a group that included young people experiencing mental health issues and we came up with an idea for a youth mental health mobile app. We, as a group, were very humbled to be voted 7th out of 500 ideas submitted to the ‘Maps and Apps’ competition. We really can’t thank everyone who voted enough (thank you!).
Today, following many grapples with research policy, guidance and submitting several applications for funding; I am happy to announce that we have started to test the prototype of the youth mental health mobile app. Its been an interesting and sometimes frustrating journey. Thankfully, I have been very lucky to go through it with a group of very able and wonderful people who are equally (if not more so) passionate about the ultimate aim of improving the mental health of young people and therefore, we have not let any set backs knock us down for too long.
Over the coming two months, the youth mental health mobile app will be going through rigorous tests and vetting by mutliple stakeholders to ensure it is fit for purpose. Thank you to everyone who has got us this far. Stay tuned!