Posted by:Monica Samuel April 30th, 2013

The healthcare industry is abuzz with strategies and plans to manage initiatives under the new Obamacare guidelines. Enterprise mobile solutions can help healthcare providers manage the transformation and create new opportunities. With the focus moving away from the ‘pay-for-service’ to ‘pay-for-performance’ model, practitioners should leverage technology to enhance hospital processes, support better patient care, reduce readmission, and improve collaboration and communication with doctors, patients, and peers.

One critical campaign that healthcare professionals are juggling with is the unification or integration of electronic health records (EHR). Patient information is currently all over the place, sitting in silos in different patient health record (PHR) systems across various healthcare providers. There is no single consolidated view of a patient’s complete medical history. This works against the effective treatment of patients.

Challenges in EHR Consolidation

How has patient information reached such a chaotic state? When patients consult doctors and specialists affiliated with disparate organizations (a common occurrence) or who work independently, their health record is created on proprietary PHR systems, every time. The records may not be in human readable form and if they are, they don’t really make sense to patients. That’s an eventuality when records are shared. Some hospitals do not even share complete patient information so not even the patient has a complete set of her health records.

The format of health records across PHR systems is not uniform, making integration of data a highly complex and time consuming project. Today, practitioners rely on fax services to exchange patient data with each other despite having access to electronic PHR systems. There is no streamlined conduit for patient information exchange in healthcare that can be accessed by all healthcare stakeholders in a safe and confidential manner.

How enterprise mobility and cloud can help

More than 80% practitioners own a smartphone or tablet that they bring to work. A majority of clinicians access medical applications on their personal mobile devices. Furthermore, the internet has become a common source of information for patients. These facts clearly prove that it is time for healthcare IT to adopt modern technology that will support Meaningful Usage legislation. We’re talking enterprise mobility, network revamping, and cloud solutions; in conformance to HIPAA and HITECH certification.

Access to EHRs on mobile devices will ensure the right information reaches the right people at the right time. Secure cloud implementations will enable anytime, anywhere access to patient information from ubiquitous mobile devices. Of course, hospital networks will require rework to support high bandwidth data. With 3G and 4G data connectivity spreading across continents, that’ the easy part. It’s the interoperability of PHR systems that’s giving healthcare IT nightmares.

Enterprise mobility can help hospitals improve patient care by supporting patient-doctor engagement, real time access to patient information, instant collaboration with peers, and disseminating healthcare monitors that patients can take home. The goal of Obamacare is admirable but tough. Technology can make the transition work to your advantage.

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