The Journal of mHealth Vol 1 Issue 1 (Feb 2014) - Page 38

EPHA Briefing on Mobile Health Continued from page 35 globally and mHealth devices in particular. Develop Digital and Health Literacy To achieve economic, health and social objectives, and mitigate the causes for health inequalities, eHealth literacy must be enhanced in the wider framework of health literacy, so that users are well informed not only about mHealth but are able to make meaningful use of it. Flexible dialogue with end users about mHealth and its exigencies should be the first step. All users must be clear about potential advantages and pitfalls, and the skills required to reap its benefits. CONCLUSIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS The eHealth Action Plan 20122020 recognises the current lack of legal clarity for mHealth: Given the complexity created by ‘mHealth’ and ‘health and wellbeing applications’ in particular, further clarification is needed on the legal framework applicable to these specific areas. The rapid developments in this sector raise questions about the applicability of the current frameworks, the use of the data collected through these applications by individuals and medical professionals, and whether or not and how they will be integrated in healthcare systems. Clarity of information and ‘user-friendliness’ are also important to consider. [39] Given mHealth’s innovation and employment potential, the Com- 36 February 2014 mission is increasingly exploring it as part of eHealth policies in order to attain the targets of the Digital Agenda and Europe 2020, It will publish a Green Paper in the second half of 2013. As online transactions and communication are commonplace in sectors such as travel and banking, it will be interesting to follow whether mHealth can bring health closer to people by encouraging routine use in a safe, equitable and meaningful way. As demand is rising, it is vital that mHealth products provide tangible benefits. Hence they should be made available and tested by healthcare stakeholders to avoid abuse. [40] From a policy perspective, it is important to take into account existing and evolving pieces of European and national legislation in areas impacting on mHealth, and to systematically monitor the quality of information and tools provided to end users. The following points should be considered as the discussion continues to unfold: » Foster patient empowerment: in the process of self-manage- » Ensure processes that facilitate meaningful end-user involvement » Improve mHealth literacy: A perceived lack of knowledge and skills needed to be able to use mobile health services is one of the most common barriers to user acceptance of mHealth. In line with the European Commission’s eHealth Action Plan 2012-2020, initiatives aimed at developing mHealth training and education programmes should be developed, e.g. through relevant EU programmes and/or policy initiatives. » Clarify data protection regulation as it applies to mHealth, ensuring end-user trust and ease of use, while recognising the ‘power’ of data in disease management, diagnosis and prevention. » Encourage and facilitate mHealth stakeholder engagement: Given the potential of Develop policies that support integrated patient-centred chronic disease care » ment: patients need to be able to take control of their condition and be reassured that feedback and necessary adjustments from a healthcare professional are available when necessary ‘mobile health doesn’t focus exclusively on the device, but on the fact that the information and data is mobile (…) The information is able to be collected wherever it is needed and transmitted wherever it needs to go,’