Today, mobile devices are disrupting each and every industry in the world, and healthcare is no exception, where all the solutions are united under the common concept of mHealth. This notion embraces the combination of mobile devices, wearables, cloud platforms, and the Internet of Things, empowering healthcare processes with higher productivity, better information access and improved responsiveness. For all the diversity of mobile healthcare solutions, many still think the market is limited to fitness tracking apps and wearables. However, mHealth has gone the extra mile, disrupting diverse areas of care, and is expected to make up $46.2 billion by 2021. Let’s see what has changed in medicine since mobile innovation stepped in.
With plenty of devices like Fitbit or Apple Watch, mHealth apps are mostly popular for promoting an active lifestyle and daily health monitoring. Modern wellness tracking has gone beyond counting steps and heartbeats, and now helps doctors in patient monitoring, medication management, and testing. Connected health devices have also enabled specimen collection and transfusion verification, which seems like the future of medicine.
Still, the potential of IoT and connected devices is not fully unleashed, there’s much left to offer in terms of medical alert systems: blood pressure and blood sugar measuring, infection identification, cholesterol level control, and more, based on the patient-generated health data.
The other big challenge for patient care management is communication between patients and doctors. Schedules are tight, though instant, real-time communication is highly recommended for quality care. That’s where medical apps come into play, enabling telemedicine with the help of EHR/EMR integration, chats, social networking, video, and even virtual reality tools. These mobile solutions may also be helping doctors, nurses, and pharmacists to share patient information on demand from anywhere.
When integrating mobile healthcare apps into hospitals, it’s important to embrace the whole cycle of administration, from patient admission to insurance claim processing, followed by actionable analytics. That’s why the required functionality for a hospital should include:
workforce scheduling and visit time logging;
matching patient records to the right doctor depending on the specialization, experience, and schedule;
doctor’s instructions and orders;
health records and insurance records;
making test results available online;
interaction between the attending doctor and the administration via smartphone;
reports and dashboards.
This list may be extended or reduced according to the needs of the specific medical center, however, in light of recent talks of the importance of interoperability, unified and interconnected systems are a must that allows for comfortable and seamless data flow between patients, physicians, hospital administration and insurance providers.
Some diseases like diabetes or dementia require strict schedules and reminders for drug intake. The separate app for medication management may help doctors and patients record and track pill consumption, set time reminders and control when it’s time to buy a new medication. Once a patient gets his prescription, he can find the following functionality:
a medication reference book;
drug availability data;
records on the patient’s reaction.
The trend for interoperability, real-time involvement and impactful data re-shapes the role of mobile solutions in healthcare. In the coming years, the demand for mobile apps will be covered by remote monitoring and patient tracking apps, powered by connected devices and predictive analytics. Meanwhile, latest AI trends in healthcare are even more promising in terms of functionality.
That said, mHealth promises to improve the overall healthcare system with better efficiency, communication and cost.
The bottom line is this: the earlier healthcare provider adopts mobile and IoT, the better the experiences they can expect in future. Otherwise, it will be difficult to stand out from a huge number of forward-thinking competitors.