By Scott Megill
The demand for healthcare to go mobile is on the rise.
More and more physicians and patients are using an increasing number of mobile healthcare apps, healthcare apps which enable an almost unlimited range of health-related functions, from an individual patient controlling their diabetes, to monitoring diet & exercise and even, to tracking medical treatments and progress.
By 2017, half of the world’s more than 3.4 billion smart phone users will have downloaded health-related apps.
The rapid increase in mobile health app use is generating an enormous amount of patient data. Simultaneously, a plethora of data is being generated through individual patient’s medical records, which can easily cross multiple departments, physicians, and clinicians.
How can healthcare providers manage this influx of data and tap into the mobile opportunity to draw key insights and improve customer care?
A new wave of healthcare professionals who prefer to work with mobile devices parallel an increasing number of consumers using mobile apps to monitor their own personal health. More and more healthcare providers can now take a mobile-first approach to drive increased efficiency and most importantly, deliver better patient care.
The combination of mobile, cloud and Big Data technologies are making a mobile health ecosystem possible while putting the patient center stage. Coupling the power of mobile devices and cloud technologies based on open standards is enabling health systems around the world to awaken to an entirely new way of delivering health services more efficiently.
By combining smart phone features with relevant data on the go, an ecosystem of healthcare providers, partners, vendors, patients and clinicians can quickly, easily and securely share authorized images, patient health information, test results and any other necessary medical information.
In addition, patients can connect with other patients in a secure “social networking” environment, where they can ask questions of each other, share ideas and experiences. Secure and compliant connectivity between device and data can be greatly simplified via cloud computing.
Fueled by consumer adoption of mobile technologies, the mHealth market is expanding rapidly, forecasted to reach $58.8 billion by 2020. Every hospital and medical facility will eventually acquire a mobile enterprise application platform in order to tap into the growing mobile ecosystem and deliver better patient care.
For example, a cardiologist may consider prescribing a popular blood-thinning drug for an elderly woman, but may be concerned about the potential for an adverse reaction. The cardiologist runs a swab across the inside of the patients’ cheek to collect a tiny amount of genetic material, which goes to the DNA lab for testing. A report is generated by an interpretation company and is transmitted via mobile app. Results are compiled by a mobile app, analyzed and results transmitted to let the doctor know if the patient can safely use the drug.
In a mobile/cloud-centric health ecosystem, geography will no longer present an obstacle to deliver diagnosis or even treatment. The constraints of physical location will eventually mitigate the hard and high costs of maintaining hospital facilities.
Instead, care will be moved into to whatever location best suits the patient and their circumstances, be home, office or primary care environment.
Mobile devices will allow specialists from halfway around the world to consult with patients, review test results and design treatment plans. The epicenter of health service delivery will open up, increasing patient access to more medical professionals and services.
Healthcare organizations need to view patient engagement through the lens of shifting their business model from brick-and-mortar to brick-and-mobile, packaging their apps to meet the needs of the patient and driving the continued transformation of the healthcare industry.
Related stories and links:
- IBM Smarter Healthcare
- How Mobile Data Will Revolutionize Healthcare
- Watson Mobile Challenge to Usher in New Era of Development