The healthcare industry today is witnessing an ideology shift, with more emphasis on patient-centered care. Government mandates and regulations, along with rising patient expectations have led to physicians increasing focus on patient engagement and satisfaction.
A growing amount of data too validates that when a patient’s role shifts from a passive recipient to a more active participant in his own care, the results are shared decision making, informed choices and for physicians and practices, lower costs and better quality care.
And mHealth has been a powerful ally in this shift. Smartphones have enabled patients on the one hand to be more involved in their care, and on the other, has equipped physicians with more data and insights for superior care management.
The results of the 2015 HIMSS Mobile Technology Survey shows that, of more than 200 healthcare provider employees, early 90% are utilizing mobile devices to engage patients in their healthcare. And according to a new market research report by Market Research Store, telemedicine, telehealth, and mhealth markets at $1.5 billion in 2014 are anticipated to reach $45.4 billion by 2021.
To cut a long story short, the stage is set for mobile apps to take off. Or is it?
What is surprising is the slow adoption rate by physicians. There has been some hesitation from physicians when it comes to utilizing mobile apps. We recently hosted a webinar that delved on some reasons behind these barriers ranging from a lack of knowledge on how to proceed, to regulatory concerns and proper utilization of health data collected from mHealth apps. You can view the recording here.
But all hesitations and challenges apart, physicians need to start adopting mHealth as a strategic tool in their practices for these 5 reasons
1) Mounting pressure from patients :
Patients are already on the mobile bandwagon. They are now tracking how much exercise they are getting, their sleep patterns, their calorie intake, and how many they are burning. Personal health wearables and sensors have flooded the market and empowered people. They are now eager to be active participants in their care. They are ready to share the resultant data so their doctors can get a more comprehensive picture of their health.
2) More continual and comprehensive insights
There is a wealth of data pouring in from wearables and devices and sensors that allow physicians to collect consistent, long term data that has till now been difficult to obtain. They now have the ability to track patient behavior among patients with chronic ailments over a longer period of time. They are able to pinpoint certain lifestyle pattern that aid or hinder conditions.
3) Reduced readmissions
Through text messages, medication notifications, appointment reminders and pop-ups , physicians are able to better monitor patients and provide more efficient post-operative care, thus resulting in fewer hospital visits and reduced costs.
4) Free up valuable physician time
Physicians are constantly on the move and they need anytime anywhere access to vital information – patient data, lab results, reference manuals and more. Coupled with effective team communication, real time updates and productivity tools, all available in the comfort of a handy smartphone adds to their capability to deliver better care.With access to point of care mobile apps such as drug formularies,video collaborations, eprescriptions, reference manuals, and medical simulators, physicians can engage with and treat a greater number of patients more effectively.
5) Add to the value provided by their practice
Smartphones have provided an opportunity for hospitals and smaller practices alike to add immense value to the overall patient experience. Solutions like barcode scanning and RFID help improve accuracy in specimen collection, tracking and speed up diagnosis.Also, using apps as digital instruction aids for patient education and procedure demos helps increase the patient’s understanding of a procedure better.This helps in establishing and retaining loyalty and brand awareness.
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