Article Abstract

Leveraging standards-based, interoperable meHealth for universal health coverage

Authors: Cees Hesp, Caren Althauser, Derek Ritz

Abstract

WHO defines eHealth as “the use of information and communication technologies for health” (1), and considers mHealth—the use of mobile phones as an information and communication technology (ICT) for health—to be a subset. The importance of mHealth should not be underestimated, noting that with more than 3.6 billion active subscribers worldwide (2), the mobile phone is by far the most prevalent “computing device” in both developed and developing country settings. We postulate that mHealth + eHealth = meHealth. This term denotes the full gamut of health-related ICT, including care delivery systems, insurance systems, health system management, and reporting and surveillance systems. The useful connotation that meHealth is about “me” reminds us that, to be effective, the overall national health system should maintain a person-centric view.

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