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Role of mobile health in the care of culturally and linguistically diverse US populations.

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California State University, Monterey Bay, in Seaside, CA, USA.


Emerging trends in the health-related use of cell phones include the proliferation of mobile health applications for the care and monitoring of patients with chronic diseases and the rise in cell phone usage by Latinos and African Americans in the United States. This article reviews public policy in four areas with the goal of improving the care of patients belonging to culturally and linguistically diverse populations: 1) mobile health service access and the physician's duty of care, 2) affordability of and reimbursement for health related services via mobile phone, 3) protocols for mobile health enabled patient health data collection and distribution, and 4) cultural and linguistic appropriateness of health related messages delivered via cell phone. The review demonstrates the need for policy changes that would allow for reimbursement of both synchronous and asynchronous patient-provider communication, subsidize broadband access for lower-income patients, introduce standards for confidentiality of health data transmitted via cell phone as well as amplify existing cultural and linguistic standards to encompass mobile communication, and consider widespread public accessibility when certifying new technologies as "medical devices." Federal and state governments must take prompt action to ensure that the benefits of mobile health are accessible to all Americans.


Latinos; cell phone use; mobile health

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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