Digital Technology Healthcare Solutions in an Era of Moving Populations and Chronic Illnesses: Are We Being Realistically Smart?

*Judith Ansaa Osae-Larbi

Department of Psychology, School of Social Sciences, College of Humanities, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana
*Correspondence to jaosae-larbi@st.ug.edu.gh

Disclosure: The author has declared no conflicts of interest.
Acknowledgements: I gratefully acknowledge David Lackland Sam, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway, for his constructive comments.
Received: 04.11.16 Accepted: 19.12.16
Citation: EMJ. 2017;2[2]:28-34.

Abstract

In 2015, the world recorded its highest numbers of international migrants and forced displacement since World War II. With this historic rise in migrants, refugees, and displaced persons around the world, there is a huge risk of chronic illness burden on healthcare systems. Thus, healthcare systems may need to incorporate innovative digital healthcare solutions into their processes and procedures. The purpose of this article is to present the argument that for effective prevention and management of chronic illnesses in ever-increasing migrant societies to be achieved, mobile digital healthcare technologies must be realistically smart and strategically adopted. Beginning with an overview of the current global migration trend, this article considers the implications of this trend for chronic illnesses and the potential for mobile health technologies to support achievement of healthcare outcomes. It highlights three core reasons why digital innovations may be limited as tools for helping to address the global chronic illness challenge and identifies important directions for mobile health technology developers, healthcare professionals, researchers, government and funding agencies, and public health ministries, with a focus on the strategic development and adoption of ‘realistically smart’ phones. The article concludes with recommendations for research and public health education.

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