We are just beginning to understand how mobile computing technology could revolutionize—and I know this sounds a bit trite—but I mean really revolutionize health care delivery, both in the United States and globally. In the next series of articles, I’ll be discussing the world of mobile computing and its impact on health care.
Explore this issue:August 2012
Let’s start with the basics. How mobile are we? It turns out that the world is amazingly connected. Current statistics indicate that there are 5.9 billion mobile subscribers worldwide. In other words, 87 percent of the world’s population can be reached through some type of mobile device. Not surprisingly, China and India lead the way in the growth of mobile device use, and, of all devices, smartphones are gaining in market share the most rapidly.
What has allowed for this exponential growth, especially in third world countries? One word—infrastructure. I remember my first trip to Vietnam in the mid-1980s. All I saw was a sea of bicycles and the occasional motorbike. My recent trips revealed only an occasional bicycle—and a sea of motorbikes. It wasn’t unusual to see an entire family of four on one motorbike, so although people weren’t necessarily moving much faster, they were moving better.