Portable Technologies Are Transforming Healthcare
While physicians may have taken a relatively long time to adopt EHRs and leverage the benefits, they are determined not to get left behind when it comes to mobile technologies. These tools are increasingly playing a major role in healthcare and Healthcare professionals are not shying away from showing their love for the latest gadgets.
The medical industry is ramping up development of apps and software for mobile devices, which may increase speed and ease the delivery of healthcare to patients, who need it most, especially in areas like preventing diseases, managing chronic conditions, and navigating the complexities of the hospital and insurance systems.
Healthcare information has never been more portable.
Some Key Statistics about the rising Portability in Healthcare Technology
- Physicians are 250% more likely to own a tablet than other consumers.
- 88% of doctors are in full support of patients tracking their health at home, using different kinds of health apps, especially for watching their weight, blood sugar levels and checking vital signs.
- Reportedly, there are 40,000 medical apps across iOS, Android and other devices.
- More than 80% of physicians own a mobile device, compared to 50% of the general U.S. population.
- The Global wireless health market is projected to be worth over $38 Billion by 2016.
An Ambitious Outlook towards Mobile Technology
Along with 3G and 4G, advances in mobile devices have transformed communications, commerce, and entertainment among other fields. Now this technology is poised to alter health care industry, the quality of the patient experience, and the cost of health care.
Furthermore, these technological advances are being adopted at a time when a growing number of physicians are making EHRs and other technologies like cloud computing as a central part of their practices.
Even the Federal Communications Commission recently voted to increase wireless spectrum capacity for use in healthcare. This will also make it easier for doctors to link their various mobile devices securely to their EHRs.
Additionally, the White House recently issued a directive for the Department of Health and Human, instructing them to make more services available to mobile device users.
Mobile and Remote Monitoring Devices
Mobile Devices are helping in overcoming geographical and time barriers allowing Care providers to diagnose and treat illness from far away.
Mobile technology is helping with chronic disease management, empowering the elderly and expectant mothers, reminding people to take medication at the proper time, extending service to underserved areas, and improving health outcomes and medical system efficiency.
A Brookings Institution analysis found that remote monitoring technologies could save as much as $197 billion over the next 25 years.
Gluco Phones: The Device is helping Diabetic Patients to transmit glucose information to caregivers while also reminding them when they need to undertake glucose tests. It is estimated that over 11 million Americans use home monitors for their glucose.
iHeal: Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School have developed remote monitoring devices called iHeal for substance abusers. Individuals wear sensors that monitor skin temperature and nervous system activities associated with drug cravings. The devices transmit data to health providers offering various types of text, video, and audio interventions designed to discourage drug use.
Biometric Bracelet: Scientists are working on creating a new biometric bracelet that “talks” to devices on a person’s body, allowing data collected by blood pressure cuffs and heart monitoring devices to be matched to correct electronic records.
Smoking cessation program: Researchers identified 47 different applications designed to stop smoking with the help of this program based on mobile devices. These apps counted the number of cigarettes smoked; suggested visualizations designed to encourage people to quit smoking, or employed calculators that sought to reduce smoking levels.
3G Connectivity: Health care workers in Tijuana employ a mobile application to interact with diabetic patients who use the application to access videos and health education on diabetes self-management and send interactive questionnaires to health care workers.
3G Connectivity is also assisting the delivery of Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) initiated by the Kenyan Government to reduce HIV/AIDS spread.
Electrocardiogram sensing handset: Another example of remote monitoring in regard to chronic diseases is found in China. The Device records 30 seconds of heart data and transmits that information electronically to the 24-hour Life Care Networks Call Center in Beijing. It also received Computerworld Honors Laureate award for 2012.
Real-Time Biosurveillance Program: Real-Time Biosurveillance Pilot projects in India and Sri Lanka have found mobile devices very helpful in monitoring outbreaks as large as a Dengue Fever.
CellScope: CellScope uses optical attachments to turn smartphones into a diagnostic-quality imaging system bringing expert advice into low-resource settings.
Cardio:Cardio provides software that turns ordinary cameras into biosensors allowing people to use devices they already own to gain insight into and take charge of their well-being.
NFC in Healthcare
Near Field Communication (NFC), a wireless protocol designed to allow data exchange over very short distances, usually a few centimeters is slated to bring the wireless revolution to healthcare.
It can be a great way of tracking when doctors and other healthcare professionals visit a patient which would prevent any human error such as forgetting to mark in a log that the patient was visited. This could also work very well to stop doctors from giving medication to patients who already received the medication but it was not logged in the book. Check out the following ways NFC can and is being used in the health care system.
More than 50,000 care workers in the Netherlands are using NFC phones on a daily basis, to track and manage home healthcare visits.
Popular Health Apps
According to a study there are over 23,000 Health Apps on iOS and Android alone. Health apps have played a pivotal role in changing the utility of mobile devices from smartphones or tablets to medical instruments that capture vital medical information that enables physicians and patients to better manage and monitor health information.
The availability of health apps is climbing fast and the industry expects the number of health and fitness apps to quadruple between till 2016.
Top Exercise Apps
Nikeplus, Runkeeper, FitBit, Jefit, Nike Training Club, Nexercise.
Healthy Eating Apps
Lose It!, Fooducate, Restaurant Nutrition, Smoothie Selector
Healthy Rest Apps
Sleep Cycle, Sleep Bug, Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson
Other popular Health Apps
iStethoscope, EmergencyLink, Health Buddy, Text4Baby, HealthTrax, Welldoc.
With healthcare professionals eager to integrate digital tools into their workflows, hospital administrators and IT professionals are ensuring that the devices are consistent with the security protocols like Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
To do this, some healthcare delivery organizations have established software solutions where sensitive that only allow the mobile devices like iPads and smartphones to access patient health data, not to store it.
By improving service delivery, easing communication, and reducing transmission errors, mobile devices are contributing positively not only to healthcare industry but also to the benefit of countries around the world.
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