The widespread implementation of mobile healthcare solutions is driving change. Without mobile solutions, organizations struggle to meet the increasing expectations of their customers for a more on-demand style of healthcare delivery model.
Over the past decade, the healthcare industry has undergone unprecedented transformations. Driven in part by growing consumer expectations, healthcare consumerism has created massive shifts in the world of medicine. Healthcare organizations are beginning to recognize that without investing in the appropriate technology, they are no longer able to keep up with the competition and meet the growing needs of their customers. Unlike in the past, when doctors and hospitals were calling the shots, today, consumers are setting the pace of change, demanding a next-generation style of care delivery.
To attract consumers, service providers have to pay more attention to providing positive patient experience and convenient access to healthcare. This recognition has led many companies to tap into the potential that’s inherent to mobile technologies and started deploying mobile healthcare solutions to support their new, on-demand patient care. Today, hospitals and physician practices alike use mobile solutions in a multitude of ways to achieve their organizational objectives. As we’ll discuss in this article, the use of mobile technology is a constant balancing act between:
- Mobility Use Cases – While the case for mobility is strong throughout the industry, its impact is particularly profound in certain areas. Patient engagement, workflow improvement and the growth of telemedicine are largely dependent on mobile solutions, such as data-sharing, the use of mobile and wearable devices, cloud-based and video-visit technology.
- Mobility Use Risks – Concerns over data security breach have by far been the most significant deterrent, keeping some companies away from jumping on the mobility bandwagon. Responding to these concerns, mobile solution providers continue to make data security their top priority, leading the way to innovations in virtual mobile infrastructure in the healthcare space.
Let’s start with the five key areas where mobile healthcare solutions continue to propel the transformation of healthcare:
1. Increase Patient Engagement and Patient Satisfaction
In a recent report published by Deloitte, experts predict that the customer will be at the center of the healthcare system by 2040. With healthcare consumerism well underway, this shift to a more patient-centered care model is already taking place.
One of the most cost-effective ways for organizations in the healthcare space to foster patient engagement and improve satisfaction is by using mobile tools. Apps that allow patients to refill their prescriptions or prepare for their surgery are examples of how some hospitals use mobile technology. Patient education is also becoming more digitalized. In the old days, pamphlets and brochures were the means to communicate information about specific health conditions. Today, hospitals create interactive e-books to offer this type of education.
Another way digital technology is increasing satisfaction in the healthcare space is by offering patients the option to receive appointment reminders via text or email. To provide patients with continuous support between appointments, some practices are now offering to send automated tips and helpful messages to assist them with their weight loss efforts.
Mobile technology is truly revolutionizing the entire inpatient experience. Hospitals all over the country are turning patient rooms into smart rooms with low-cost interactive systems. UCSD’s Jacobs Medical Center, for example, uses iPad and Apple TV devices to allow patients to access their EHR (electronic health records), adjust their window blinds, and even the temperature in their room.
2. Improve Workflow and Team Collaboration
According to a recent survey published by the American Hospital Association and AVIA, the majority of healthcare leaders now consider digital innovations as part of their long-term strategy. Mobile healthcare solutions are particularly valuable in the area of workflow improvement. To enhance workflow and collaboration between physicians and support staff, organizations must provide their team members with mobile devices that they can use with ease. When physicians have the necessary tools to make timely decisions based on real-time information, they can provide care that is more precise.
High-quality patient care requires care teams to work seamlessly together. How quickly and efficiently patient care teams can retrieve and record information makes a significant impact on the quality of care patients receive. Hospitals that equip physicians, nurses, and technicians with smartphones, tablets, and other mobile computers can set themselves apart from organizations without such tools. When doctors can access patients’ electronic health records promptly and immediately, discharge patients with a click of a button and send prescriptions electronically, the entire patient care experience transforms.
3. Support the Growth of Telemedicine & Retail Clinics
The days of the traditional medical care delivery model are over. Patients are less willing to wait for hours to be seen by their physicians. Instead, they want to receive care on their terms, with greatly improved access to healthcare services, anytime, anywhere. While the concept of using audio and video tools to deliver and access care is not new, telemedicine’s popularity has been on the rise. Mobile technology that facilitates data-sharing and interoperable data will remain at the heart of telemedicine.
Health systems are launching platforms that allow patients to connect with a nurse, primary care doctor, or a specialist for on-demand care. Telemedicine solutions assist providers and patients through technical expertise. They offer a scalable platform with video-visit technology, provider apps, mobile software development kits, and telemedicine tablets. Some telemedicine tools can be readily integrated into existing clinical systems.
4. Cloud Computing and Remote Data Accessibility
As cloud-based technology becomes mainstream in the medical industry, maintaining patient data security will be a top priority. Ensuring secure links to the back-end of cloud systems is essential to allow healthcare professionals to access EHRs safely, anywhere, anytime.
Providing patients with access to their health records on their own devices is also growing in popularity. This trend is relatively new and allows patients to have greater control over their health data. In the old days, patients had to jump through hoops to request lab results or transfer medical records from one provider to another. Today, cloud computing facilitates data sharing and streamlines the process, allowing physicians to receive and view sensitive information in a way that is entirely HIPAA-compliant.
5. Healthcare Data Management and Collection
Wearable devices have been enjoying massive popularity and turned personal health into a form of social activity. All wearables are equipped with applications that aggregate the data collected, enabling users to monitor their health, set goals, and track their progress. From the perspective of the medical industry, the advantage of aggregated data cannot be overstated. Data gives invaluable insight and a deeper understanding of patients’ health conditions. The information provided by these devices enables companies to create products and services that more closely meet the needs of today’s empowered healthcare consumers.
Healthcare data management solutions are fundamental to helping physicians maximize their time. Without real-time access to patient vitals, lab results, imaging, and diagnostics, providers cannot make sound treatment decisions quickly and efficiently.
Another way healthcare data collection has improved the quality of care that patients receive is by remote patient monitoring platforms. Advanced monitoring allows physicians to follow high-risk patients remotely, interfere at critical moments, and thereby improve patient outcomes.
Possible Risks of Mobile Healthcare Solutions
Concerns over potential data security breach discourage many companies from implementing enterprise mobility in healthcare. Some of the most feared cybersecurity threats are:
- Misuse of patient data
- Malware attacks
- Wrongful use of location tracking services
- Loss of device, leading to compromised data
One commonly utilized healthcare mobility strategy is the use of mobile application management (MAM) solutions. A MAM software controls and monitors applications on all devices, including the data that the apps are used to access. This control extends to even third-party apps that potentially interfere with the corporate network. Two-factor authentication protocols can also significantly improve the security of the cloud network.
Another commonly utilized healthcare mobility strategy is the bring-your-own-device (BYOD). When employees are allowed to use their devices for work purposes, organizations may become more vulnerable to security breaches. In addition, it becomes a balancing act between protecting the network from outside malware attacks and preserving user privacy. With BYOD strategies, employees are often uneasy about their employers having access to their personal data.
Virtual Mobility as a Solution
Virtual mobility solutions, such as Hypori, differ significantly from traditional BYOD strategies and offer an alternative that lessens such concerns. VMI enable users to access virtual mobile devices, that reside in the secure data center, from any physical device. Since no data from the healthcare network is stored on any of the user devices, employees can access sensitive information, that may be subject to HIPPA regulations, knowing that the data will only ever reside in the data center.
Countless examples illustrate the benefit of virtual mobility solutions in the healthcare space. For instance, virtual mobility could provide doctors and support staff with the ability to access patients’ health records and lab results quickly and efficiently, allowing for timely treatment decisions. Off-site hospital staff, such as EMTs, can obtain critical medical information wherever they may be, which improves the quality of onsite care. The IT department has no access to personal data stored on user devices. This high degree of privacy gives employees a much-needed peace of mind. If an actual device is lost or stolen, IT can close the gateway and protect patient information without the need to wipe out personal data stored on the device.
As healthcare mobility continues to transform the industry, data security will remain a top priority. While organizations can invest in different technologies, virtual mobility solutions offer a more effective security structure and a greater degree of control than other solutions.