Information and communications technologies and mHealth

As discussed in Chapter 5, there is no doubt that new technologies can play a key role in the empowerment of citizens. The Internet is a huge and valuable source of information for both, patients and professionals. Web-based programs have shown their efficacy to screen and provide advice to some groups at risk (Bhochhibhoya et al., 2015), and the wide dissemination of smartphones has led to the development of multiple apps devoted to help people with substance use disorders, specially alcohol and tobacco (Crane et al., 2015).

But this is probably the beginning of a revolution. The next generation of apps will be much more interactive, will gather data from sensors (movement, heart rate, blood alcohol level, anxiety level, etc.), and provide a more personalized and interactive advice in real time (Boulos et al., 2014). Those changes will transform the relationship with health professionals and can offer opportunities to the patients to deal with the stigma in a more efficient way.

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