The Implementation of Mobile Computing in Health Care
By Mary Alice Annecharico, SVP & CIO, Henry Ford Health System
Healthcare is experiencing a series of interdependent health care reform initiatives at whose cores lies the active involvement of the patient. Meaningful Use (MU), the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH), Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), and Population Health all demand a different behavior in the relationship of the provider and the patient. The anticipated outcomes include improved coordination of care, shared accountability, and the elimination of waste and redundancy. Patient engagement strategy revolves around communication across several relationships and through access to relevant information.
IT leaders are responsible for more concurrent initiatives than ever before. The two or three strategic initiatives per year that kept most CIOs consumed has now taken on a different intensity as we embrace exchanges and incorporate mobile device functionality to engage the provider, the patients, and administrative demands. Consumer demand and more tightly integrated access to data needs are driving mobile technology and innovation shifts to penetrate the landscape of health care delivery. As care shifts away from the acute care to the ambulatory settings, the exchange of care management information among providers and patients is aimed at keeping patients out of the hospital.
Why is Mobile Health Computing Important?
Mobile health (mHealth) will be a driver for the increasingly essential patient and provider interaction in a secure and interoperable manner. Clinicians want and need decision making information at their fingertips. Mobile devices are helping to fill current gaps toenhance the physician workflow, proactive decision-making, and oversight with a goal of improving patient care quality, outcomes, and safety. Mhealth technologies are enabling us to look to our peers and the industry to move rapidly beyond the visioning range into the practical and interoperable range. MHealth uses wireless and mobile technology platforms to accelerate the connections between providers and patients to improve care relationships, foster more interactive communication between the patient and provider, and it empowers patients to become advocates for their own health. Wearable mobility and wireless medical devices are enriching wellness planning, encouraging healthy lifestyles and improving the availability of care coordination into the home and communities.
ThismHealth landscape is changing indeed. There has been no recent time when a particular technology created such an exciting wave of both opportunity and unrest at the same time. Our healthcare industry is consumed with regulated demands for managing in an increasingly more cost constrained and improved health outcomes oriented environment. Mergers and acquisitions are occurring at rapid rates as organizations adjust to the new normal of reform and analyze the business behaviors needed in the future. Organizations address the needto reduce cost by harnessing technology in new ways to expand the care borders that align with payment reform, cost efficiencies, and the creation of radical convenience for our patients as consumers.
The mobile communication device strategies have moved well beyond the pagers and smartphones; and now include wireless networks, iPhones, cell phones, iPads, laptops, tablets, and medical sensors that all communicate instantaneous and continuous information. The mobile industry is being driven by consumer demand and for functionality and information availability. Healthcare organizations are looking for innovative ways in which to grow market share organically to reach new communities with new ways to provide care, coordinate health and wellness, exploit social media and web portals to patient tasks effortless such as reminders, secure email communication, disease management interaction, requesting aggressive efforts are underway to create mobile health and wellness retail services that appeal to a market spectrum already engaged in personal wellness maintenance.
“MDM solutions and the interoperability frameworks are expanding rapidly to insure that the right source data is transmitted securely, effectively and efficiently to the user”
The commercial industry has invested heavily in the development of new health and wellness and disease management markets andnew partnership relationships with provider organizations. Promoting the integration of applications and wellness that appeals to the consumer, Apple, Google, Microsoft, CVS, Walgreens, among others are among the drivers of innovation of applications to support Big Data and population health.
At the same time, there is a growing element of concern about the rapid development of applications for mobile devices that lack the overall architectural integrity and planning to make functionality secure, scalable, enduring, and/or useful within the integrated networks of healthcare organizations.
Consumer Demand in the Workplace and Security Alignment
Bring Your Own Device, BYOD, is creating an instant demand for aggressive BYOD management strategies within our healthcare organizations. Ironically, it has shifted the seat of power away from the security and network policy domain and rightfully, into the collaboration arms of the Provider, Leadership, and the technical services needed to support an expanding technology spectrum. Wireless networks will be challenged to keep up with the data driven demands. Mobile Device Management, MDM, solutions and the interoperability frameworks are expanding rapidly to insure that the right source data is transmitted securely, effectively and efficiently to the user. Budgets, compliance with HITECH privacy and security requirements, and the willingness of organizations to create the tactical guidelines to assist well -intended users to be compliant and more productive are both exciting and challenging.
Though mobile health has its own advantages and opportunities, the forethought of using mHealth is becoming a global reality today. Similar to the internet revolution, mHealth is revolutionizing the way of patients receiving their care. The differentiation between a conventional healthcare strategy and mobile healthcare strategy will be softened. Mobile healthcare strategy is very vibrant as mobile is starting to shape the future of healthcare.