Healthcare Technology Featured Article

July 01, 2013

The Right Prescription for Healthcare: Mobile Solutions Create Hugely Better Care

It is hardly a surprise in this day and age of anytime, anywhere mobile technology that healthcare stands to benefit significantly from mobile solutions. This is true whether we are speaking of some wearable tech-enabled monitoring capabilities, the ability to accurately and completely securely access to a great many patient records instantly or in greatly improving the quality of doctor-patient relationships.

This latter in particular is important in a non-intuitive way. Improving doctor-patient relationships doesn't necessarily mean using iPads (the dominant tablet in healthcare by far), smartphones or other devices to create better communications channels between doctors and their patients, although certainly there is some truth to this. Rather, what we really mean is that mobile technology is able to remove the barrier of "time" between what a doctor needs to do - capturing data, reviewing data (e.g. patient medical history), entering data into medical records systems, and so on. This is just the tip of the iceberg of mHealth solutions - for example, mobility also greatly improves dealing with the pharmaceutical supply chain and the administration of medicine and drugs.

Mobility simply speeds up these processes in many non-trivial ways that literally free up a doctor's time so that the doctor can, in fact, spend real and greatly improved face to face time with his or her patients. There is a certain irony here in that it comes down to modern mobile technology that allows us that modern age anytime, anywhere capability in order to free up that "old time" ability for doctors and patients to connect face to face.

We started our story by suggesting none of this is a surprise - and it isn't. But there is a very big surprise - and the surprise is that although mobility is now well-understood to deliver on exactly the capabilities noted above, that there are huge numbers of hospitals, medical centers and other caregiver environments that are still hugely lagging on mobile implementations. It is staggering to think that so many of these environments are still operating in the pre-mobile dark ages (leaving aside federally mandated requirements to move to electronic healthcare systems - which may be "electronic" in nature but aren't necessarily mobile in nature).

When we speak to caregiver CIOs and CTOs about the lack of mobile implementations, one answer we typically hear is that they can't yet trust mobility to deliver on security or the attendant security and privacy mandates that are regulated by federal, state and local regulations (such as HIPPA). They also note the costs of implementation. Neither of these are, in fact, valid concerns - and much more often than not when healthcare providers are pressed on these concerns the answer almost always comes down to the simple fact they assume these issues are the case. A less kind way to put it is that the preponderance of healthcare providers is simply ignorant of today's mobile possibilities and realities.

Even as CIOs and CTOs struggle with these issues, there is a growing need to manage healthcare employees who are grabbing the bull by the horns and using BYOD (bring your own device) realities to put some mobility into play. Take a look at the following graphic to get a sense of BYOD penetration.

With the issues (and the graphic) noted above firmly in mind we recently moderated a great webinar, "The Right Prescription. Mobile Solutions for Healthcare," that provides a great deal of context around the key questions of mobile healthcare security, privacy, compliance and costs. The webinar brings together mobile experts from SAP Mobility and Symphony Teleca, two vital pioneers in mobile healthcare. The underlying theme of the webinar is that in an unavoidable BYOD mobile world, well-managed mobile solutions controlled by the healthcare organization are far better than unmanaged BYOD-driven mHealth solutions.

The webinar provides a clear understanding of what the mobility issues are that are specific to mHealth, and it offers a strong overview of how healthcare organizations can move quickly to drive BYOD-powered mHealth solutions that are highly cost-effective, fully compliant and totally secure. The end results of well-executed mobile healthcare solutions results always results in cost savings. These cost savings are driven entirely by utilizing mobility to deliver far better healthcare.

In the end, better healthcare does in fact come down to delivering on the far better doctor-patient relationships we started our story with - and ultimately in delivering that "old time" doctor-patient face to face time and real conversations with patients and their families. It is vital to move in these mobile directions.

We simply cannot counsel any healthcare organization to put off on driving mobile solutions. It is critical to move into the modern healthcare age. SAP and Symphony Teleca will give you the knowledge you need to get started on the right path to mHealth.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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