MHealth: A Potent New Way to Deliver Healthcare

It is no surprise that doctors and clinicians were some of the earliest adopters of mobile devices such as smartphones and the Android and iPad tablets—they were already familiar with the use of mobile technologies to assist in the delivery of care from their widespread experience with personal digital assistants (PDAs), which became popular in healthcare IT long before there was any such thing as a smartphone. Indeed, a recent survey found that nearly three-quarters of doctors are already using mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones to assist in their delivery of care.[i] The same survey revealed that a whopping 91% of physicians would be interested in new mobile electronic health record (EHR) solutions.[ii] Now, with the continual improvements in both mobile technologies and network speeds, the time is ripe to develop truly robust EHR platforms for iPads, iPhones, and other similar mobile devices.

Patient Experiences with mHealth

Clinicians are not the only potential beneficiaries of the widespread adoption of mHealth technologies, however. Caregivers and patients stand to benefit as well, with the potential to save billions of dollars in the healthcare system in the course of years. The mHealth technologies that will benefit caregivers and patients the most are those that help coordinate ongoing monitoring and management of chronic diseases like diabetes. More and more, patients are adopting around the clock monitoring and electronic data transmissions, which can instantaneously alert physicians and other healthcare providers when patients are coming close to critical health vulnerabilities such as diabetic shock or dangerous heart palpitations. These remote monitoring systems are estimated to save approximately $197 billion in the next 25 years.[iii] Such constant monitoring has the potential not only to save on expenses incurred with periodic testing for conditions at clinicians’ offices, but may even save lives in certain circumstances.

Personal mHealth solutions can also prove to have a very positive effect on healthcare outcomes. For example, it is estimated that only about half of all patients take their medications consistent with their doctor’s prescriptions.[iv] Using an app which coordinates with a smartphone’s notification system can help remind patients about dosing schedules and help increase adherence to a doctor’s prescription treatment plan. Personal mHealth software may prove to be particularly beneficial for those seeking to overcome an addiction, as patients will be able to monitor their usage, their relapses, and their overall progress as they seek to overcome their illness. One of the more innovative mHealth applications in this field, developed by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, coordinates a remote monitoring system with a patient’s portable device. When the patient’s skin temperature and movements indicate a potential drug craving, this data is transmitted to clinicians who can then follow up with digital interventions in text, audio, or video meant to encourage continued abstinence.[v]

Making mHealth Work

Of course, when it comes to any telecommunication of health data, developers must ensure that all transmissions are secure and HIPAA-compliant. This requires robust security procedures encoded into all mHealth software in addition to HIPAA-compliant databases for storing the collected data. Thankfully, solutions are at hand. DDA Medical™ has extensive experience developing a whole range of interactive software solutions to the medical industries, and is well-poised to adopt virtually any capabilities to any platform imaginable, including the plethora of mobile devices on the market today. Also, thanks to DDA Medical’s HIPAA-compliant servers, healthcare organizations can rest assured that any transmissions of sensitive health records are kept sound and secure. When you’re ready to explore the world of opportunity available in mHealth technologies, contact DDA.

photo credit: Alex E. Proimos via Creative Commons Information:

[i] Terry, Ken. “9 Out of 10 Docs Recommend Mobile EHRs.” August 16, 2012. InformationWeek. UBM Tech. February 6, 2013.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] West, Darrell M. “How Mobile Devices are Transforming Healthcare.” May 2012. Issues in Technology Innovation. Center for Technology Innovation at BROOKINGS. February 6, 2013. mobile health west/22 mobile health west.pdf

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Ibid.