The Future of Healthcare Is Here!
Perhaps one of the most exciting new developments in the healthcare industry today is in the new health IT developments known as mHealth, short for mobile healthcare. MHealth is the logical outgrowth of the continuing healthcare developments known as eHealth, which is the use of digital technologies to database health information, coordinate care with patients, and manage treatments. MHealth allows for wireless access to such eHealth systems, giving healthcare providers and patients the ability to manage an ever-increasing amount of healthcare services at the convenience of an Apple iPhone® or iPad®, Android™ tablet, or smartphone.
The benefits of pursuing mHealth technologies are substantial, including:
- expanded healthcare access
- better patient engagement
- new models for handling healthcare data
- better protection of patient safety
Expanded Access to Healthcare
The most obvious potential that mHealth offers is to expand opportunities for treatment outside of meeting with healthcare providers in person. Increasingly patients will be able to receive consultation from their doctors in their very own homes. This will be particularly important for those with chronic conditions who need frequent and continuous monitoring of their symptoms. It will also allow the elderly to consult doctors without any of the risks that traveling to the office could pose to them. Finally, it will allow patients to consult doctors outside of their geographical reach—in theory, they could even consult a doctor half way around the world!
Better Patient Engagement
MHealth applications can also help individuals by recording their ongoing treatments and reminding users of regularly-scheduled tasks, such as taking a given medicine or refilling a prescription. Certain tasks may even become automatic, such as the coordination of prescription renewals with both doctor and pharmacy. There’s even the potential for mobile devices to inspire active pursuit of health goals. Smartphones and tablets can now be programmed to help users record their progress with weight loss, smoking cessation, aerobics, weight training, and more, allowing them to monitor success, correct mistakes, and thereby be inspired to keep renewing their efforts. Considering the increasing emphasis on holistic medicine, this potential to inspire proactive participation among healthcare consumers may just prove to be the greatest potential the technology has to offer.
New Models for Handling Healthcare Data
Whether it’s the healthcare provider or the consumer we’re speaking about, portable access to electronic health records has the potential to improve patient care in a number of ways. For example, there are already devices in production made to allow diabetics continuous monitoring of their blood glucose levels. One of these devices, the C8 MediSensors HG1-c, sends its blood glucose test results directly to a smartphone, recording fluctuations in glucose levels throughout the day. Such information could easily be sent through a secure internet connection to an online database for storage and analysis. Additionally, doctors are increasingly using mobile devices like the Android tablet and the Apple iPad to order prescriptions at local pharmacies and record patient information for storage in the doctor’s local eHealth database.
Better Protection of Patient Safety
Along with better patient engagement, mHealth applications have the potential to improve patient follow through as well, helping to protect their safety. Oftentimes therapies, treatments, and prescriptions come with a vast array of instructions. Doctors could now leave their patients with multi-layered information on their treatment plans, allowing them to review such information when needed. Applications could also help encourage users by reminding them of regularly-scheduled intervals for medications and therapies while asking them to record any side effects they may experience. They could also be programmed to ensure that all possible negative drug and food interactions are avoided. By helping to simplify treatment plans for patients, mHealth applications will help guarantee follow through and thereby improve patient outcomes.
DDA has developed a wide variety of successful eHealth systems and mHealth applications over the years. DDA’s background as a universal developer ensures that they can program everything needed for optimum performance across a plethora of platforms, including Android tablets and smartphones, Apple’s iPad and iPhone, and more. When you want to bring your organization into the future of healthcare, contact DDA Medical.
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Android™ is a trademark of Google Inc.