- Meaningful use requirements under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs as well as a myriad of other healthcare policies put greater pressure on physicians to adopt electronic and digital technologies in an effort to advance patient care, improve public health outcomes, and lower medical costs. Many doctors today are looking toward mobile health devices to meet these many goals toward better care coordination.
Manhattan Research’s Taking the Pulse U.S. 2014 study shows that as much as 40 percent of physicians believe that utilizing digital technologies to keep track of and communicate with patients will lead to better health outcomes. The same number of polled doctors also stated that they’ve raised their use of digital technologies to communicate with their patient base.
The study also showed that more than 30 percent of respondents had been measured on patient health outcomes and costs of medical treatments throughout 2013. Some important findings from the Manhattan Research study include increased use and integration of digital technologies within physician practices.
For example, 47 percent of physicians who owned a smartphone used the device to show patients images and videos. Additionally, more than 33 percent of doctors recommended their patients to utilize mobile health applications.
“As we move to an outcomes-based model of healthcare provision in the U.S., remote monitoring and telehealth are going to drive an extension of the point of care. We’re seeing physician attitudes really align with policy,” Director of Physician Research at Manhattan Research James Avallone said in a public statement.
Additionally, the research uncovered that telehealth services and remote monitoring may not have a strong base yet but is growing steadily. Video-based consultations are still relatively rare within the medical field. However, about 25 percent of doctors used patient portals in 2013 to communicate with their consumers and provide guidance.
In particular, more than 20 percent of doctors have integrated and utilized secure messaging platforms to speak to their patients. More than 20 percent of physicians monitored patients remotely with an average oversight of 22 patients per month.
“There’s a perception out there that the shift in focus to population health isn’t yet on physicians’ radar. This data shows physicians are thinking about patient outcomes and indicates an opportunity for companies that can provide them digital technologies to help them meet their targets,” stated Vice President of Research at Manhattan Research Monique Levy.
While the use of mobile health devices, telehealth platforms, and mobile applications is steadily rising in the medical sector, mHealthIntelligence.com recently reported that physicians may not fully trust mobile health apps due to their lack of oversight.
The Quantia survey showed that nearly half of 250 surveyed doctors are not prescribing mHealth apps to their patients due to the few regulations and mobile security policies in place within the mobile health sector.
As the federal government and developers themselves put greater focus on developing mHealth regulations and strengthening mobile security, physician use of mobile health apps and digital technologies is likely to rise significantly.