Posted by:Srini Bhopal March 12th, 2013

Mobile technology is catching on big time in the healthcare sector. iPad and Android tablets are helping clinicians work better, save time, and engage with patients. Hospitals are equipping clinicians with tablets for faster record processing, data access, and streamlined management. Mobile devices are also serving as bedside devices for patient care, entertainment, and value-added services.

A sea change in American healthcare has custom application development companies looking at innovative technology solutions. Apart from Electronic Health Record (EHR) Management applications on mobile, desktop and web platforms, vendors are launching specialized solutions for doctors, patient care apps, hospital management and process optimization solutions.

The innate quality of tablets is the mobility and freedom it allows. Doctors can access patient information as they make their ward rounds, collaborate on a prognosis, and check out their appointments and scheduled surgeries for the day without being tethered to PCs.

iPad is a winner for clinicians

A survey of healthcare professionals shows that iPad is the device of choice for clinicians, beating both Android tablets and PCs. The technological capabilities, battery life and uniform form factor of iPad makes it an ideal platform for vendors too to create healthcare applications.

Solutions such as teleradiology, telecardiology, tele-nuclear medicine, etc., not only save a specialist’s time but also allow physicians at remote locations to receive expert advice and begin corrective treatment immediately. This is especially useful in emergencies as specialists can be contacted anytime anywhere on their mobile device with the needed data.

Physicians and specialists can also collaborate on portals that enable them to view patient records, X-rays, etc. on the go. They spend less time in front of PCs and more with patients. The inclusion of iPads in hospitals has palpably improved patient-doctor engagement.

Improved hospital processes with mobile apps

Hospital workers such as housekeeping, attendants, etc. can streamline operations and save time by communicating with each other in real time. Hospitals are saving time, paper and resources by allowing patients to fill and submit admission or patient forms on their mobile devices.

The iPad Mini is a popular device among clinicians as it works as well as the iPad and fits into lab coat pockets. Armed with the iPad, clinicians can make record entries as they speak to patients and tap details into surveys and questionnaires without investing too much time or effort. The data can be immediately fed into the hospital back-end for analysis, improvement and even better healthcare.

Web based patient portals, mandated by federal law, will soon be available to patients for Medicare reimbursements and funding on their personal mobile devices.

Mobile apps add value to patients

Android devices are popular for in-patient care in hospitals. With healthcare providers renewing their focus on preventive healthcare, mobile devices will play an important role in educating patients, enhancing patient-doctor communication, and providing self-care guidance via physiotherapy exercise videos, 3-D imaging for understanding a disease, online prescription renewal, appointment reminders, etc.

A requirement of the Meaningful Use Phase 2 mandate is that 5% of patients use electronic systems. This has spurred providers and vendors to create multi-platform mobile and web applications such as bedside devices for patients for entertainment, Skype messaging, ordering tea, etc. Mobile technology is truly transforming healthcare.

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