VPN Haus: We last spoke in 2010, what’s the dramatic change in mHealth since then?
Dr. Ruchi Dass: There is a lot of progress, promise and action since then. The World Health Organization (WHO) is tracking mHealth progress globally and is also examining the impact mobile networks and the Internet are already having on improving access to healthcare worldwide. WHO is also learning and conceptualizing ways to multiply reach moving forward, by surveying member states on their individual mHealth activities and concerns. One hundred twelve countries responded to the WHO call with 83% indicating they have already implemented at least one mHealth initiative. South East Asia, the Americas and Europe were the regions with the highest percentage of countries reporting initiatives.
VPN Haus: You mentioned when we last spoke, secure data in transit and authentication were the major security concerns surrounding mHealth. What strides have been made in mitigating these concerns and what challenges remain?
Dr. Dass: Interoperability is still a concern in the absence of proper standardisation methodologies. There are major security concerns related todata privacy, and hence, policies need to be put in place for achieving interoperability and implementing data standards amongst all facets of health IT integration, including clinical and non clinical information. To best leverage enterprise participation and potential of online/mobile networks data exchange; authentication systems often must collect and share personally identifiable information, raising potential risks to privacy. To mitigate the risks authentication systems raise, it is essential that they be designed to offer individuals control over their personal information by supporting traditional principles of fair information practices.
Ruchi Dass is CEO of HealthCursor Consulting based in India.