Exploring mobile health in Europe

In 2022, it has been estimated that the number of health apps available on the Google Play store will be exceed 50 000 and that the demand for this type of apps will not decrease until a very long time.
Researchers found that the reason behind this increase could be the shortage of qualified social care staff and the accelerated development of digital spaces. Back in 2014, the European Commission already understood the importance of this
increasing branch of the digital market. Indeed, this particular year the institution published a Green paper on mobile health after a general consultation. In this paper, the Commission recognized «mHealth could also support the delivery of
high-quality healthcare, and enable more accurate diagnosis and treatment. It can support healthcare professionals in treating patients more efficiently as mobile apps can encourage adherence to a healthy lifestyle, resulting in more personalized medication and treatment. »
Even if the institution admitted that mobile health isn’t intended to replace any healthcare provider, the use of such a tool could support the management and provision of health care while enabling patients to live more independently in their own home environment thanks to self assessment and remote monitoring.
Finally, in 2022 the European Commission released the results of an evaluation launched in January 2021 on the European Health Data Space (EHDS). This evaluation aimed to study Health Data, Digital Health and Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare.
Thus, the report presents a dedicated part to mhealth and health apps reliability in Europe and their interest in the facilitation of cross-border healthcare between Member States.
Nevertheless, the report recognized that the issue at stake with mhealth is the
management of personal data. Indeed, mobile apps can collect a huge quantity of
information that requires special protection. The European Commission reported that there are « legitimate concerns about the security of individuals’ health data when using mobile health technologies as their personal data could be accidentally exposed or easily leaked to unauthorized parties.»
Consequently, the EU enlisted all its primary and secondary sources of law to prevent
such malevolent use of personal data. Thanks to the current applicable General Data
Protection Regulation users’ personal information are increasingly protected all over
European Member States.