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August 08, 2011

Frost & Sullivan Whitepapaer Examines How Different Types of Mobile Devices Influence Healthcare Landscape

The growth partnership research firm, Frost & Sullivan recently published a whitepaper, titled, “Mobile Devices and Healthcare: What’s New, What Fits, and How Do You Decide?” The whitepaper examines the strengths and drawbacks of four major mobile device types – smartphones, tablets, push-to-talk communication devices, and machine-to-machine (M2M) remote medical monitoring devices. In the whitepaper, the research firm pointed out that each device category is being used in three unique environments – the hospital, physician’s office, and the patient’s home. The whitepaper offers evaluation under the backdrop of three separate environments and also sets criteria for selecting a mobility partner.

In the whitepaper, Frost & Sullivan said that today’s U.S. healthcare sector is experiencing tremendous pressure by facing simultaneous demands from three quarters- patients, insurance companies, and the government. According to Frost & Sullivan, the new wireless technologies can help the healthcare sector successfully address these evolving demands. Those who will fail to effectively leverage the benefits of new technologies, will eventually fall behind their more savvy competitors, the research firm warned.

“The healthcare sector has never been known for being an early adopter of information technology. However, now there are innovative, powerful mobile devices that must be recognized as absolutely key to expanding and improving patient care, to controlling costs, and to complying with regulatory mandates,” Frost & Sullivan Senior Industry Analyst Jeanine Sterling explained in the repeort.

With smartphones becoming increasingly cutting edge and supporting a plethora of medical software applications, caregivers are increasingly using their smartphones to easily access medical reference libraries, view lab results, monitor patient vitals, and access patient electronic health records (EHR). Frost & Sullivan said that today’s next-generation tablets are taking these capabilities to the next level with the aid of larger screens, high-resolution displays, and dual cameras.

The push-to-talk devices are also augmenting their instant voice communications benefit with new form factors and an array of new capabilities. These features are making them suitable for use in the emergency room and in natural disaster situations.

Lastly, patients as well as practitioners are increasingly relying on M2M remote monitoring devices to overcome the geographic gap, when it is not possible to make in-person office visits. In addition to supporting patients with chronic conditions, M2M technology is being used for personal wellness monitoring and for helping elderly or at-risk individuals to live independently. Most importantly, M2M devices are helping to reduce expenses while improving outcomes.

“Mobile technology promises to transform healthcare,” said Sterling. “It all begins with the mobile device, and vendors are working hard to tempt healthcare providers with a broad, and often bewildering, set of choices. Different types of medical staff will have different information and communications needs. We discuss the criteria to consider when selecting the optimal device(s) and mobility partner. And we offer Sprint as an example of an end-to-end mobile solution provider that has done the due diligence and assembled a top-tier portfolio of solutions and partners.”

In another report released this week, Frost & Sullivan said that 81 percent of Smart Meters installed in Europe are based on Echelon Technology.

Madhubanti Rudra is a contributing editor for HealthTechZone. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
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