Smartphone as a personal, pervasive health informatics services platform: literature review

Yearb Med Inform. 2012;7:83-93.


Objectives: The article provides an overview of current trends in personal sensor, signal and imaging informatics, that are based on emerging mobile computing and communications technologies enclosed in a smartphone and enabling the provision of personal, pervasive health informatics services.

Methods: The article reviews examples of these trends from the PubMed and Google scholar literature search engines, which, by no means claim to be complete, as the field is evolving and some recent advances may not be documented yet.

Results: There exist critical technological advances in the surveyed smartphone technologies, employed in provision and improvement of diagnosis, acute and chronic treatment and rehabilitation health services, as well as in education and training of healthcare practitioners. However, the most emerging trend relates to a routine application of these technologies in a prevention/wellness sector, helping its users in self-care to stay healthy.

Conclusions: Smartphone-based personal health informatics services exist, but still have a long way to go to become an everyday, personalized healthcare-provisioning tool in the medical field and in a clinical practice. Key main challenge for their widespread adoption involve lack of user acceptance striving from variable credibility and reliability of applications and solutions as they a) lack evidence- based approach; b) have low levels of medical professional involvement in their design and content; c) are provided in an unreliable way, influencing negatively its usability; and, in some cases, d) being industry-driven, hence exposing bias in information provided, for example towards particular types of treatment or intervention procedures.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Humans
  • Medical Informatics
  • Reproducibility of Results*
  • Smartphone*