Mobile health in China: Does it meet availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality standards?

Lujia Sun*, Martin Buijsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Objective: The objective of this article is to evaluate mobile health practices under China's health care system through the lens of the right to health framework and to offer directions for policy improvement.

Method: The theoretical framework of this article is made up of four essential elements of the right to health, namely availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of health care. This approach has been applied by a broad range of stakeholders to assess national health programmes. In addition, a review was conducted of literature published between 2015 and 2019 to determine the service categories of mHealth.

Results: The findings show that mobile health has been used in a wide range of practices for health care and well-being management. The assessment of mHealth practices under the AAAQ framework suggests that mobile health contributes to accessibility and efficiency and health promotion. However, some shortcomings are also identified.

Conclusions: To achieve sustainability of mHealth in the health care system and realise its potential, this evaluation points out four aspects of policy improvement. An integrated approach, a robust governance mechanism, a new legislative response and private sector engagement are required.


Public interest summary: The vibrant growth of mobile health has prompted an emerging need of integrating it to a sustainable service delivery system for achieving universal health coverage. To remove barriers for the implementation of mobile health nationwide, it is necessary to assess mobile health practices in the Chinese health care system as a whole. This article provides an evaluation of mobile health in China under the right to health framework (availability, accessibility, affordability and quality). It suggests that mobile health brings positive results but also unintended consequences, both for individuals and the health care system. Therefore, we point out that the integrated solution, the governance mechanism, the relevant legislation and private sector engagement should be further addressed in mobile health policy. The findings presented in this article indicate the current status and policy considerations for navigating the future direction of mobile health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100660
JournalHealth Policy and Technology
Volume11
Issue number3
Early online date13 Aug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This research is financially supported by Erasmus University Rotterdam and China Scholarship Council [grant number 201809110164 ].

Publisher Copyright: © 2022 Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine

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