Believe it or not, calming your cough with heroin and lobotomies used to be considered best practices when it came to healthcare. Improvements in technology have changed multiple aspects of our lives, but the healthcare industry especially has seen its share of benefits offered from these advancements. Chilamrk Research found that 22 percent of physicians had an iPad at the end of 2010, a number that has surely increased as the popularity of tablets has surged since then. Four out of five practicing physicians use smartphones, computer tablets, various mobile devices and numerous apps in their customary medical practices.
Though we have come a long way, there is still a lot of change that the healthcare needs to see. When it comes to healthcare, there are people who don’t have access, people who don’t get quality care, people who are paying too much and people who aren’t paying at all. When it comes to finding solutions to address these challenges, you may not first think of AT&T, but the service provider is one of the top companies dedicated to creating a healthier world through technology.
AT&T ForHealth was created to accelerate the delivery of innovative wireless, cloud-based and networking services and applications to help the healthcare industry improve patient care and reduce costs. These innovative solutions are focused on improving collaboration among providers, patients and the whole healthcare team — leading to a more integrated approach to healthcare delivery.
Image via AT&T
Drawing from this area, AT&T has predicted the top five trends for 2013, including a shift from stand-alone “unsponsored” apps to meaningful “sponsored” mHealth solutions, supported and pushed by insurance companies, healthcare providers, employers or other institutions that will result in higher patient adoption and engagement. mHealth utilizes mobile technology, devices, machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity or applications to improve on or develop new healthcare solutions that can both help improve patient outcomes.
Frost and Sullivan presented AT&T with the 2011 Competitive Strategy Leadership Award for its approach to mHealth, recognizing the company's work with mobile communication devices in the remote healthcare environment and strategic collaboration as key factors in an effective strategy.
Another trend AT&T anticipates in 2013 will be the shift of healthcare data into the cloud. Benefits of medical information in the cloud, such as medical imaging, include the ability to access, store, view and share medical images from any system in the cloud, shift image storage costs from capital to operational investments with a “pay-as-you-go” model, the ability to create a single view for patient medical images, regardless of provider location and help enforce security, encryption, audit and retention policies and requirements.
The other predictions AT&T has for healthcare in 2013 are remote patient monitoring will move from pilots to large-scale adoption, integrated mHealth applications will be created that can connect with other devices, apps and data and there will be an upswing on telehealth to bridge the significant gap between physician resources and patient demand.
"Physicians make better treatment decisions and predictions based on better data, so we must have better access to information when patients need it the most," Geeta Nayyar, M.D., chief medical information officer, AT&T ForHealth, AT&T Business Solutions, in a statement. "These kinds of technologies have the potential to help people make the shift from being reactive to being proactive with their care."
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli