Why mHealth Technology Is a Huge Opportunity to Save Lives
wo-thirds of all adults worldwide will own smartphones by the end of 2018, according to recent forecasts. At that point, mobile devices will account for 73 percent of all internet consumption.
Johnson & Johnson is at the forefront of change, so we see tremendous opportunities in those numbers—opportunities to engage with people, to empower them with new information and resources they need and ultimately to save lives.
What is mHealth? Why Does it Matter?
Mobile health—or "mHealth"—refers to the use of mobile phones and other wireless technologies to drive health outcomes, and Johnson & Johnson, as a founding member of the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA), has been a leader in this space more or less since its inception.
One of our first initiatives with MAMA was MomConnect, a mobile service that delivers important health information directly to the mobile phones of pregnant women in South Africa. In the first two years since it launched, MomConnect grew to become the largest program of its kind—ever. Since then, South Africa has been working to expand MomConnect to reach nurses and midwives with educational and motivational information, and to provide additional targeted support to mothers living with HIV.
Today, we see tremendous continuity between MomConnect and what we're doing now in India with mMitra. The app sends pregnant women and new mothers voice calls twice a week with preventive care information, in their chosen language and at their preferred time slot. Plus, these messages are customized to correspond to the stage of their pregnancy and the developmental stage of their child.
Putting Patients at the Center
In recent years, our increasing awareness of the role that genetics plays in determining individual health has led to a push for personalized medicine. And that's part of the reason why we're so focused on creating health solutions that put patients at the center.
For instance, we recently launched a new platform, Johnson & Johnson Health Partner, which spans multiple channels and devices so that patients can get critical support when and where they need it. There's a website, with resources for patients who are considering surgery, a mobile app, to help patients plan and prepare for surgery and recovery, and even a portal, which facilitates real-time interactions between physicians and patients.
And by collecting and analyzing patient data over time, we aim to create customized treatment regimens that are based on the unique needs of each individual patient. The bottom line is that we believe patients who are physically, emotionally and mentally prepared for surgery will get back on their feet faster.
Mobile Apps for Everyday Health and Wellness
The market for mHealth technology is rapidly growing and expected to reach $60 billion in 2020. Fitness apps have been a big factor in that growth—and we've been at the forefront.
For starters, the Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout® App has been downloaded more than two million times since we debuted it way back in 2014. The brainchild of Chris Jordan, Director of Exercise Physiology at our Human Performance Institute, the app features 36 body resistance exercises, plus a dozen different workouts with more than 1,000 unique variations. No special equipment is needed, other than a chair, a wall and your own body weight. And we recently expanded the reach of the app by bringing our world-class, personalized workout experience to Apple Watch.
And buoyed by the app's success, we've more recently rolled out the Johnson & Johnson 7 Minute Wellness for Expecting and New Moms™ app. The app provides free, science-based wellness programs that are tailored to each week of a mom's pregnancy or postnatal phase, as well as her individual fitness and energy levels.
Using Commonplace Technology to Combat All-Too-Common Diseases
The toll of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other conditions on human health around the world is staggering. According to the World Health Organization, NCDs now represent 70 percent of all deaths globally.
“We are applying our expertise where we can make the biggest impact. Our goal is to address seemingly intractable health challenges in new and unexpected ways."Share
That's why, for example, we've expanded the availability of apps like QuitNowTXT. The mobile app sends actionable tobacco-cessation information to smokers using text-based mobile interventions. Studies have shown that even relatively simple interventions like these are helpful for smokers of all levels of addiction.
Then there's our Care4Today® Connect, a simple app that helps you see how well you've been following your medication schedule, sticking to your eating and nutrition habits, identifying trends in your blood glucose and more. Armed with this information, you and your healthcare provider can make better decisions—and celebrate health wins together.
What's Next in mHealth for Johnson & Johnson?
Inspired by the success of mMitra, we're eager to find opportunities to apply mHealth solutions in new contexts. That's why, for example, the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson recently helped launch Project UNITE, which includes the Treatment Advice By Mobile Phone—or TAMA—app, a cell phone-based platform that drives improved healthcare outcomes for HIV patients in India.
We're committed to promoting better health worldwide and reducing the incidence of preventable diseases. If more and more people around the world own smartphones, then that's where the opportunity is—and where we need to be—in order to make our message heard.
Help us make that reality by checking out all of the opportunities for you to contribute today.