Impacts of mobile devices in medical environment
School of Information Sciences,
University of Tampere,
December 17, 2013
Mobile devices appliances in
The medical environment has several applications in
which mobile devices can be used, improving of patients and doctors with data. In the literature research of this report, four main areas of uses were
found: Uses by patients[1, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13], uses by
doctors, nurses and medicine students[3, 10], uses as
physical paper replacement[5, 9], and uses as interaction and visualization of data[2, 4, 9].
Patients can use mobile devices to ﬁnd information about health, for example with the Symptomia
App or other sources in Internet. These devices
have a bigger penetration in areas that don’t have
enough access to health systems and doctors, so they
provide health to people in a social aspect. Devices
with sensors like the iPhone can also be used to monitore data from patients like heart rate and detect
problems like Parkinson’s disease and even help in
physiotherapy and rehabilitation of hands in poststroke conditions.
Doctors and hospitals - and the environment - can
beneﬁt with less use of printed paper and visualization of health records in mobile devices, specially
tablets. According to [?], doctors also gain mobility
with their use, instead of accessing data only in termi-
With the advent of computers and databases, data
that was traditionally stored in paper started to be
digitalized and stored electronically. In hospitals and
health systems, patient records could be accessed
from terminals by doctors and nurses, magnifying the
systems capacity and mitigating records errors.
The arrival and popularization of internet also
changed some interactions, allowing for exemple, patients to access exam results in their homes and even
communicating with doctors.
The recent popularization of mobile devices is also
changing the interactions in medical environments, as
they provide access of information to lots of people
practically anywhere, also giving new possibilities of
intelligent use of it with analysis of data an generation of visualizations, gathering of information by the
device’s sensors and new interactive and data manipulation possibilities. This report aims to analyze the
use and impacts of mobile devices in medical environments and health appliances.
performed[1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13]. For
questions 1, 4 and 5, interviews and questionaries
were conducted, as well analysis of other studies and
bibliography[1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13].
The main research results achieved by analyzing
the results and conclusion of the articles along with
their implications and motivations, are that the use
of devices and technology improves the data visualization by patients and doctors through new interactions with information, devices like the iPhone are
suﬃciently accurate to be health monitors, and apps
in mobile devices can bring knowledge to patients and
students in a broader and more accessible way. The
necessity of further studies in this subject can also
be concluded, as with these beneﬁts comes new challenges and issues like privacy and security in digital
data management and transmission.
All the studies analyzed with similar theme results
converged that mobile devices are very good as appliances to medical environment and they can already
be used nowadays. The further development of these
devices and bigger adoption of them in medical environment can also lead to other interesting future
It was found some variations between the research
results about some of the articles showing the worries about the privacy and security issues and other
ignoring these issues.
The article  also stated that “Handheld devices
will become an essential medical tool”. This is because this speciﬁc article is quite old (from 2003) and
at that time it was just the beginning of mobile devices adoption - the mobile devices weren’t so advanced too, and had several limitations along with
the lack of good internet connections and access to
data as we have nowadays.
nals. Medicine students as well as doctors also have
the beneﬁt of easy and ubiquitous access to medicine
databases for reference and learning[3, 10].
Beyond all of that, the powerful capacities of current mobile devices along with the interaction possibilities given by touch screen technology provides a
rich opportunity to generate data visualization, analysis and manipulation. As an example, doctors can
download patients exam results as 3D models and interact with them as wasn’t easily possible before.
Doctors could also collect data from patients in realtime and generate statistics to achieve diagnostics
Results of the literature research
The studied users were basically patients and doctors,
as they are the people aﬀected with the use of mobile
devices. However, all humans in some moment could
be considered at least as patients and therefore, all
the humans are potential users of this technologies.
Grouping the researched studies by which questions were asked in them in ﬁve genetical questions,
we have “1 - How can mobile devices help in medical
environment?”[1, 8, 12, 13], “2 - Is the device accurate
to capture and measure health signals?”[6, 7], “3 - Can
iPad help in post-stroke hand rehabilitation?”,
“4 - Does mobile devices help students in learning about medicine?”[2, 10] and “5 - How tablets
changed doctors interaction with electronic health
records?”[2, 4, 5, 9]. Most of the studies considered
are related to the ﬁrst and to the last question, pointing to the importance of these devices as general in
changing the medical environment.
Depending of the question, a research method was
applied. For the questions 1, 2, and 3, testing of
devices and accessories and comparison with tradi- 4
tional health monitoring methods was applied[1, 6,
7, 8, 11, 12, 13]. For questions 1, 2, 4 and 5, test- In the next years, we should see mobile devices more
ing apps, devices and accessories use with users were and more integrated in our lives and in our tasks.
 Brian T. Horowitz. Chen medical prints health
records from ipad, android tablets. eWeek, s. 1,
They are always capturing, manipulating, and allowing us to interact with information in a way we never
did before. Our common experiences are turned in
sources of data to intelligent analysis, and we are offered ubiquitous and fast information access.
The medical environment is also taking beneﬁt of
this technologies to oﬀer its own focused services and
appliances to patients and doctors. The new interactions that the devices can provide will change the
way we see medicine in the next few years.
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