The healthcare industry is on the brink of crisis driven by a number of factors like emerging disease threats, rising healthcare costs and shortages of healthcare professionals. As these seemingly unmanageable challenges continue to plague global healthcare, industry stakeholders like physicians, patients and payers are turning to mobile technologies to provide a key role in the “Cure”.
Treating patients outside the four walls of traditional provider institutions has evolved as core to a healthcare industry vision of treating patients “wherever they are” while enhancing patient outcomes and lowering costs.
Everybody will agree that current healthcare has siloed information flows. Mobile Technology or mHealth, as it is frequently referred to, is looked to as being the “panacea” for this current strained healthcare system.
In broad terms, the benefits that mHealth can potentially bring in are as follows:
- Geographic coverage: Mobile health presents a vision of “healthcare everywhere”. It can provide health information and connectivity to healthcare professionals anytime and anywhere.
- Information access independent to location: Healthcare-specific applications can enable secure access to information without being tied to an office or desk.
- Reduces paper consumption: Mobile technologies can aid hospitals and healthcare professionals in reducing paper consumption and waste by digitizing complete patient records and histories.
Having mentioned the above points, let us review some innovative examples of mHealthimpacting service delivery and medical treatment:
- Better communication with patients: Simple mHealth solutions are available that can reduce any communication gap that might exist between the care providers and the patients.
- SMS Appointment Reminders: A service that sends SMS appointment reminders to patients could greatly decrease the number of missed appointments, thereby maximizing efficiency and reducing waiting times for hospitals.
- Remote Monitoring: Involves devices that monitor blood sugar levels or heart rates and then transmit that information wirelessly to a physician. This will reduce costs through monitoring of patients at home rather than occupying a hospital bed.
- Compliance with patient privacy protection: Mobile healthcare solutions can assist healthcare professionals, insurers and patients in meeting privacy/confidentiality requirements for patient data.
- Increase medication compliance: Mobile technology can help patients adhere to medication orders. It can also calculate when a prescription would run out and then send the patient a reminder to get a refill. When the patient refills their medication, mobile technology can send dosage reminders such as ‘It is 7 a.m. Time for medication.’
- Monitor post treatment instructions and medication adherence: Mobile technology gives patients, and hospitals, a convenient medium to monitor hospital discharge instructions and double check prescriptions.
- Patient access to health information: mhealth apps can provide critical health information to patients wherever they are.
Do you feel the adoption rate of mobile technologies in healthcare is low compared to other industries? What do you think is hindering the growth of mHealth?
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