Is it Digital or Mobile Health?


Whats in a Word?

Technology and Medicine are on the way to becoming synonymous in the realm of healthcare with the increased attention by media, research, and large technology corporations investing some serious money in this field. There are many papers coming out about the way we can use apps, smart devices, and wearables to manage our individual health. Aggregated data may prove to be beneficial for health research, and I can admire the work that Apple is putting into its ResearchKit, by trying to leverage the landscape of mobile devices for potential research samples. 

So is this all Mobile Health (mHealth) or Digital Health? I mean, at times it seems that the names are addressing the same topic in the media and in paper titles. The Wikipedia entries for each (mHealth & Digital Health) seem to have some relationship between each other, though one is definitely longer. If I do a search on PubMed for "Digital Health" I get 142 results. Don't even start on mobile health or medical apps, my Thomas Lewis did some work on that, and it gets a bit flabergasted at times. Then on the news I see articles talking about a new app or device, and I ask myself, is that mobile health or digital health? Even looking at Google Trends seems to leave me in wonder.

I used a series of terms I've seen on papers, and in media to see what has been searched, and it seems like eHealth and mobile health are still pretty up there as search terms. mHealth seems to have passed e-health, and digital health seems to be doing better. I wonder if there was an uptake due to Eric Topol's recent books and attention on that market.

Honestly, where I am at a loss is when to tag my Twitter posts with either #DigitalHealth or #mHealth. I could follow UCSF definitions, but sometimes it seems to toe the line between the two. 

In any event, I welcome any comments on the topic.