Published byAnnette Gerritsen
Published on8 September 2017
The versatility of smartphones and the increasing availability of wireless networks worldwide have sparked the development of various digital approaches to prevent, diagnose, or treat disease. Image-based diagnostic support, the focus of this special issue of Global Health Action, is promoted as a means to significantly increase the readiness of healthcare services to deal with wide-ranging global population health threats; reduce professional isolation; and, promote better recruitment and retention of staff in remote areas.
This special issue is dedicated to image-based mHealth as a tool for diagnostic support and treatment advice. It includes 10 contributions. The first set of four articles address how far mHealth solutions can take us, taking into consideration technical, organisational and user conditions. Two articles then present clinical perspectives on the implementation and use of mHealth considering regulatory, technological, and user perspectives, as well as patient issues and shared decision making. Two subsequent articles describe ongoing interventions where mHealth applications have been used for diagnostic support for acute burn injuries and malaria.
The ninth article outlines the process of development of a roadmap for the implementation of mHealth solutions for diagnostic assistance at the point of care and also what the main components of a roadmap should be. This is the outcome of a two-day roundtable organised by the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) that took place in Stellenbosch, South Africa in February this year and involved a variety of stakeholders, including researchers, healthcare providers, policy makers and developers from 16 countries.
The final article explains how digitalisation changes society as a whole and introduces radical new ways of doing things and addressing issues, not least in the field of human computer interaction.