Strategy: How Mobility, Apps and BYOD Will Transform Healthcare

Jul 10, 2012


Strategy: How Mobility, Apps and BYOD  Will Transform Healthcare

The tsunami of mobile device use has the potential to transform healthcare, experts say, but it will take time. So far, mobile health has had a much bigger effect on the work habits of physicians than on the care they provide to patients. That could change, however, as new reimbursement models emerge.

“If you can imagine a world in which physicians and hospitals are paid based on the outcomes of patients, some of these technologies may be very integral to them getting paid and enabling them to do the right thing for the patient,” says Dr. Mohit Kaushal, chief strategy officer and executive VP of business development for the West ­Wireless Health ­Institute.

John Moore, founder and CEO of Chilmark Research, agrees. Referring to mobile health apps designed to engage patients in their own healthcare, he says, “A lot of healthcare institutions are starting to look at these applications and how they might be deployed within the context of getting patients to better self-manage their care. As providers take on more of the risk in these new reimbursement models, they’re going to give these tools to their patients and say, ‘We want to you use this to help you take better care of yourself and track your care over time.’”

Many consumers, of course, are already using standalone mobile health applications to track their fitness, wellness, exercise and diet, and some are utilizing apps created for people with chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. But the potential for the latter apps will be limited until providers are ready to receive, process and act on the data.

While definitions of mobile health usually include mobile devices, home monitoring can be viewed as part of the same trend. This is a form of remote patient monitoring, just as mobile health apps are when they’re connected to a provider office. Also, home monitoring will always be required for certain patients, especially elderly ones. Nevertheless, a recent IMS Health report forecast that 80% of the remote monitoring market will be mobile by 2016.

The third big division of mobile health is provider applications. These include reference and rounding apps for physicians, iPad-native electronic health records, wireless medical devices in hospitals, and administrative applications that ­replicate the billing and appointment-making functions of a hospital’s patient portal. Little of this is revolutionary.

But the increasing ability of providers to do clinical work on their mobile devices, coupled with the potential to ­communicate directly with patients’ smartphones, is laying the groundwork for much bigger changes in the future. Here’s how to prepare. (S5310712)

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