Posted by:Richard Smith April 28th, 2014

Healthcare is in the middle of a mobile revolution by a new paradigm called healthcare mobility solutions a.k.a “mHealth”. Providers and patients alike are embracing mobile apps which offer emancipation of data, information and resources from the confines of work stations. Apps that ensure better patient care, improve treatment outcomes, reduce error rates are in vogue in hospitals.

Having made its presence felt firmly on the provider-patient workflows, mobile devices are now touching upon the hospital workflows. There has never been a better time for hospitals to step up to the plate when it comes to medical mobile apps.

Studies have shown that almost all the patients who visit a hospital own a smartphone. This shows the potential mobile technology holds to be the game changer. The day when mobile apps impact hospital readmissions and improve patient satisfaction scores is not far.

Hospital based mobile applications have been categorized as below:

Patient centric features:

This category of mobile apps presents patient centric features and facilitates streamlined patient interactions with the hospitals. It includes features like:

ER wait times that allows calling for an emergency room visit, ambulance, physician and first aid, and provide critical information at the right time, on the fingertips.

Maps and directions for directions to reach the hospital location as well as provide telephone numbers to reach out to main hospital and major departments. Some apps also allow the users to save and customize locations.

Find a physician helps to search for a specialist based on department, save them in favorites within the app, organize providers by specialty or even by the condition or diseases they treat.

Tracking features for medications and allergies. Reminders and alerts for appointments.

Prescription refill feature that enables users to place an order right from their mobile devices.

Patient educational material that offers health news, medical reference materials, etc. Symptom navigator feature could be considered educational content to route patients to an appropriate care provider.

Provider centric features:

One of the most important features in a provider-facing, smartphone app is the ability to access real-time information on patient histories, appointment schedules, drug prescription details, clinical lab results, and billing data.

Hospital administration centric features:

Mobile bar-code technology: The bar-codes are scanned at the patient’s bedside to assure the right doctor gives medication to the right patient, right dose at right time.

Exchange of information on patient condition at bedside: Fixed computers located away from patients’ bedsides may result in workflow interruptions. Additionally duplicate documentation (first on paper then on the computer) can be avoided with mobile devices at the physician/nurse disposal while on rounds.

Access to real time patient information during emergency: Emergency personnel with a mobile device will be able to review key information, such as vitals or even the exact location of the individual, while driving to the scene. Through the exchange and analysis of real-time information and patient history, the emergency responders will receive automatic notifications to refine and prioritize care decisions and the level of urgency to get to the emergency room.

Predictive scheduling and gathering of vital signs data: Intelligent scheduling and communication regarding patient status will ensure specialized care environments are ready to deliver the fastest care transition possible.

Increased coordination amongst hospital staffs: Platforms of combined software, devices, and services, such as secure messaging, lead to more efficient hospital workflows such as optimized resource allocation and streamlining patient information.

Knowing the complex workflows that hospital settings involve, the impact that mobile technologies can have in streamlining the same is huge. It is high time the hospital professionals realized the “point-of-care”, “bedside” and “just in time” use of mobile devices. I believe that the “right” combination of mobile, fixed and paper information sources will deliver the best outcomes for both healthcare staff and their patients. Do you agree? leave your thoughts on the same below.

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