Healthcare industry has been one of the early and enthusiastic adopters of mobile technology. From fitness app, that aid people in their work-outs and help them get into perfect shape, to remote monitoring solutions that aid physicians in monitoring their patients from anywhere and everywhere, mobile devices and apps have permeated across the healthcare system. Let’s look at a few numbers gathered from various studies done of mHealth trends-
Factors driving mobile medical app usage
The soaring use of mHealth solutions can be attributed to two broad factors- challenges facing the industry and huge advancements in mobile technology. Healthcare providers are facing myriad challenges like the shift to accountable care models, changing economics of markets, shrinking pool of talent and rising healthcare costs. Mobile technology, on the other hand, has made huge advancements in the recent years. The cost of devices has dropped significantly. Smartphones and Tablets have become superior in functionality and power and costs of building an app has reduced. Bandwidth has expanded and become faster to support mobility. Moreover, enabling technologies like M2M, sensors and wearable devices etc., has improved the scope and impact of mobility in healthcare. And, most importantly, there is a growing interest among patients and physicians to use mobile medical devices and apps as they offer comfort and convenience, in the time of need.
“Now I can sit with a patient, have an eye-to-eye conversation, and show them their CAT scan or a video about treatment options. I can use Synthesis Mobile (an app that taps into hundreds of internal systems) to notify staff to change an IV setting, or do order entry and charge capture right from the application. I’m more efficient and faster, and I’m doing less work between patients,” says Dr. Brad Leibovich, Mayo Clinic. (Source:Apple)
mHealth apps across the ecosystem…
According to Business Insider, there are around 100,000 apps related to healthcare and fitness in various app stores. Many studies suggest that more and more healthcare providers are building mhealth applications for both their internal and external usage. So today we have apps for medication administration that enables timely and accurate medication to patients; hospital asset management solutions that allow hospital staff to locate health equipment and physician rounding mobile apps that helps physicians see more patients in less time. Moreover, there are apps specially meant for patients that enables them to reach their doctors at the time of need from their home, capture and record their vitals and send it to their hospitals and monitor diabetes and cholesterol levels.
“For patients dealing with any health issue, information is power,” Leibovich notes. “The more we can empower them to understand what’s going on with them, the better they’ll feel and the better their outcomes will be.” (Source:Apple)
mHealth in future…
Healthcare providers are still picking the low lying fruits of mobile healthcare technology. The current trends in the market give enough reasons to be excited about the future of mHealth. There has been a big push to M2M and wearable devices in the sector. In the recently concluded, there was a lat of talk on healthcare wearable devices with several manufacturers showcasing their visions and innovations. Experiments with Google Glass in healthcare has already begun with some physicians using the Glass while performing surgeries. Moreover, more and more healthcare organizations are embracing smartphones and Tablets. Furthermore, healthcare providers, as they are realizing the benefits of mobile in healthcare, are moving towards drawing a comprehensive mobile strategy which will further increase the role of mobile. And, the biggest push will come from patients and physicians. A Digitas Health survey reveals that a staggering 90% of chronic patients in the US willing to accept a mobile app prescription from their physician, mobile medical apps are surely on the upside swing.
“The future is going to be amazing technology-wise,” says Mark Henderson, Division Chair, Information Technology, Mayo Clinic. “Mayo Clinic is just touching the surface of what’s possible. In terms of trying to be more efficient and providing the best care, the apps we’ve written have definitely given us a vision of where we can go in the future.” (Source:Apple)
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