Posted by:Richard Smith March 17th, 2014

According to some there are over 100,000 health related apps available to the public. This dwarfs the number of mobile apps inside hospitals that support health care providers. But, that is understandable. Health care providers face huge penalties if they expose personal health information to the public. So they are naturally cautious.

That caution is slowly but surely eroding. Providers are beginning to see that mHealth apps can keep providers and patients connected. There are clear benefits like:

  • prevent hospital re-admissions mhealth_apps_for_great_patient_engagement
  • help manage chronic conditions to keep patients out of the hospita
  • improve quality of care for the patient.

Moreover, with new health regulations, these are all important factors in how healthcare entities get reimbursed by payers for their services.

But with so many options out there for hospitals, how easy will it be to gather that data for treating a patient or using the data to understand how to improve treatments?

There two prominent patterns emerging to deal with this.

1. Proprietary platforms

Some payer and provider organizations are creating their own proprietary platform to capture this data. Some of these can integrate apps across types of treatments, others are specifically crafted to address a class of treatments or diseases like diabetes, asthma or arthritis. This approach allows easier integration of patient data into the workflow associated with taking care of the patient including administrative tasks and billing, etc.

2. Open Standards

You heard it right. The use of open standards. Open mHealth, a 501c3 non-profit group is pioneering such standards. If such standards are adopted, data from compliant apps will be easily accessible in a plug and play model. Integrating mobile apps and patient data into the overall workflow of the provider’s business should be far less complicated and costly than it is today. Open standards also have the promise of supporting more innovation. Developers can code to one standard, rather than dozens of proprietary specifications – that is if they are invited to participate at all. Open standards also have the promise of reaching a bigger market as an incentive to innovate.

Nevertheless, it is needless to say there are gaps in both these methods. And it is too early to say which is the best method. What do you think should be done to bring everybody onboard with respect to healthcare data gathering and handling? Leave your answers in the comment box below.

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