Bryon Morrison, President of Mobile Marketing
This guest post originally appeared in Med Ad News
With escalating costs and consistent changes that affect healthcare in the United States today, mobile software developers, doctors, and hospitals are all looking for new and efficient ways to deliver healthcare.
The diagnosis: ever-expand ing healthcare costs.
The prognosis: a possibly defunct healthcare system.
The prescription: innovative technology that streamlines processes, and cuts down on costs by lessening the need for office and hospital visits.
Mobile devices and apps are being tapped to play a major role in the search for innovative technology by giving doctors the potential to be “bedside” and on-call from virtually anywhere. Take, for example, The American Medical Association (AMA). It’s launching its own app, a reference guide for determining the Correct Procedural Terminology (CPT), and encouraging medical professionals to enter an app contest for the best new medical app ideas. The goal? Quick access to accurate information physicians use daily, according to AMA Board Secretary Steven J. Stack, M.D.
Keeping this goal of innovation in mind, let’s look at some of the trends in the medical mobile field today, including the types of consumer-level devices medical professionals are using, and the type of app that is giving these professionals the tools they need to streamline costs and provide the best care around the clock.
An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor….
…Happy. Apparently doctors prefer Apples, in the form of an iPhone or iPad, as shown in a recent survey by Manhattan Research. The survey found that 75% of physicians in the United States have purchased an Apple mobile device, with the iPhone being physicians’ favorite smartphone. Overall, 81% of physicians use smartphones, including Blackberry, Android-based phones, Palm, and Windows Mobile phones from all major wireless providers.
Interestingly enough (given that it’s only been on the market for just over a year), 30% of doctors are now using iPads to access electronic health records (EHRs). This confirms that doctors aren’t just fans of sleek Apple products, but are actually using the devices in a medical setting to access data when they need it, regardless of their physical location. In the words of Jim Vielee, Senior Vice President in charge of Physicians Consulting Network (PCN), “Mobile technology has indeed proven a boon to busy physicians, helping them keep up on the latest information and manage their practices.”
So what types of apps are doctors using in the field today? We can imply from Dr. Stack’s and Mr. Vielee’s comments that the current emphasis seems to be on quick reference data that is readily available for the doctor to pull up in a moment’s notice—anything that takes advantage of the anywhere-instant capabilities of mobile. Here are a few examples:
• AirStrip AppPoint: A mobile application available for every mobile device over all carriers that sends critical information (including waveform patterns, beside alarms, and health records) directly from hospital monitoring systems to healthcare professionals’ mobile devices.
• Mobile MIM: A remote diagnostic tool for the iPhone, iPad, and iTouch. The system allows physicians and other medical professionals to download secure, encrypted images (such as CT scans and MRIs) from the MIMcloud.
• Allscripts Remote: An app that enables physicians to remotely manage their Allscripts Enterprise EHR. Healthcare professionals can review records can be and make, record, and track medical decisions in seconds from anywhere.
• Epocrates Essentials: A software suite of apps made for the iPhone/iPod touch, BlackBerry, Palm, Android, and Windows Mobile that gives healthcare professionals instant access to information (such as drug interactions and disease reference) at the point of care.
While the focus of this article is on the physician’s use of mobile technology and mobile apps, it should be noted that patients also have access to many apps that are helpful in managing their healthcare. Patient apps help them to maintain their recommended preventative care and keep track of their health initiatives — everyday activities that work toward the same common goal of reducing trips to the office and hospital. Whether they are physician or patient-focused apps, however, they are working towards the same common goals: increasing education, improving communication, and creating greater transparency.
It’s very clear that mobile technology represents one of the greatest innovations in the medical field today. Both the proliferation of smart phones, and the acceptance of devices such as the iPad as true medical tools have proven the value of consumer grade mobile devices in the medical industry. In combination with robust interactive mobile apps, these devices have given medical professionals the power to be by the virtual “bedside” from anywhere, at anytime, at an efficient cost.
The resulting streamlining of costs and lowering the number of hospital visits and office trips is a dose of the right medicine for what ails healthcare in the U.S., no matter which side of the political fence you are on.