Before you even get a chance to open your medicine cabinet, you receive a text alert from your pharmacy that your refill prescription is ready for pickup. You are in the emergency room at some unforsaken hour and are grateful you can access your medical records from your mobile device. Because let’s face it, at this moment “thinking clearly” under distress is pretty challenging. Gaining reassurance while sitting in your oncologist’s office as they receive in real time a confirmation from your cardiologist regarding a new treatment option. These are just a few examples on how mobile technology is already impacting patient care and experience.
Clinicians are increasingly demanding real-time communications to ensure a comprehensive patient-centric care plan between departments as well as interaction between physician and patient happens in a seamless, instant mobile-friendly fashion. Consumerization of IT for all aspects of life has changed the level of expectations from clinicians to adopt the mobile channel for their patient and clinical workflow. As a result, healthcare organizations are considering or already using mobile devices to communicate and to continue their patient-centric care flow in a digital format.
In a 2015 HIMSS Mobile Technology Survey, 51% of their survey respondents reported their organization was able to leverage mobile technology to coordinate or impact patient care. There are several reasons behind the deployment of mobile technology in healthcare: personalizing patient care, lowering costs, personalizing the pharmacy experience and government regulation compliance.
Seamless Personalized or Patient-centric Experiences
Patient care data is increasingly being converted to be available via mobile devices. Virtualized or Web-based Electronic Healthcare Record (EHR) applications are being made available to physicians to provide secure access to patient data at the point of care to enable more accurate and faster diagnosis for improved outcomes. Ensuring patient information and history is available at all touch points expedites wait times as well as provides a better patient experience.
Not only do these applications help physicians, but they even assist the consumer by providing route maps to various locations within hospitals. Also, if the application’s user allows notifications, it allows the hospital or clinic to send messages to the patient. This can be leveraged in many different ways including appointment reminders and lab results. However, in the HIMSS study I mentioned before, only 31% of healthcare facilities have an organization-specific mobile application. This provides a significant opportunity for resellers to offer mobile technology in healthcare.
Lower Costs for Record Keeping and Sharing
According to HIMSS, 51% of respondents cited a lack of funding was a top barrier of the deployment of mobile technology in healthcare, however, 54% of respondents were able to achieve cost savings after deploying a mobile strategy in their facilities. Gone are the days of racks of servers in the basements of hospitals or in a closet in the clinic. Using cloud storage offers many opportunities for off-premise, on-premise or a hybrid approach to managing healthcare data in a secure way. Also, optimizing data retention policies for archiving data proves to be a huge cost savings. This allows healthcare organizations to manage the vast amount of data needed for government regulations while controlling the costs of data storage.
Personalized Pharmacy Experience
Not only are physicians utilizing mobile technology in healthcare, but so are pharmacists. Physicians can enable electronic prescribing to pharmacies which increases the quality of care to patients. Mobile technology automates the medication administration process for patients by using push notifications to the consumer’s mobile device. Also, Mobilized EHRs are utilized in the pharmacy to ensure there aren’t any dangerous drug interactions the pharmacist needs to be alerted before dispensing. Timeliness and accuracy are paramount for a quality patient-centric experience.
Ensuring Compliance with External Factors Impacting a Mobile Strategy
Security is an issue that affects everyone in both business and personal lives and one that certainly has attracted media attention, especially in healthcare. With vast amounts of patient information being handled electronically, there is an increased need for stronger data security. Patient information privacy laws, such as HIPAA, require that Protected Health Information (PHI) remain secure at all times. The omnibus rule, an addendum to the previous HIPAA laws which was implemented in 2013, increased penalties for HIPAA compliance violations up to $1.5 million per incident which could be devastating to an organization. Employing the use of identity, authentication, privacy and auditing mobile solutions helps to protect data from being viewed, copied or stolen.
There are also many incentives for clinics and hospitals to invest into a mobile or digital strategy, but also require compliance. Medicare and Medicaid provide financial incentives to upgrade their use of EHR technology. Demonstrating meaningful use can take quite a bit of time and resources, so to do this, the government gives eligible hospitals and professionals incentive payments to offset that cost.
Any healthcare mobile strategy needs to focus on wireless infrastructure, mobile device management, mobile application development and management, and support. The strategy calls for building a strong focus on reliability, security, and flexibility. Any mobile strategy in healthcare needs to be perfected to keep up with the fast pace of technology. This implementation offers many benefits that include improved patient care, operational efficiency, better compliance, lower costs, and the ability to deliver new and innovative patient care services.
While the healthcare field has vast opportunities to sell mobility solutions into, it is also among the most challenging industries in which to specialize. Thankfully, Tech Data can help! To learn about our healthcare and mobility offerings and capabilities, please contact us at Mobility-SBU@techdata.com.