- The mobile health field has brought a variety of different technologies to the medical industry. Mobile devices used in healthcare work toward achieving the Triple Aim – improved patient outcomes, better quality of care, and lower medical costs.
Additionally, mobile devices and apps can be used to boost patient engagement with their health and wellness. Consumers seeking to communicate with their healthcare provider securely or access their medical data would benefit from a mobile, web-based platform that allows them to log onto a patient portal.
One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA) analyzed how the use of patient portals on mobile devices such as tablets affect the patient’s knowledge and engagement with their medical condition. The patient portal app the researchers created involved a list of the patient’s medications, names of their medical team professionals, and ongoing tests and treatments.
Patients were given tablets during their hospitalization and then tested on whether their knowledge of their care and medical condition improved with the use of the patient portal application.
The patients were asked to name their nurse, main physicians, tests and procedures, and medications they were prescribed. Despite the use of mobile devices and portal applications, patients still did not garner more knowledge with regard to their specific healthcare services.
“Knowledge of nurses’ names, planned tests, planned procedures, and medication changes was generally low and not significantly different between the study units. The Short Form of the Patient Activation Measure mean (SD) score was also not significantly different,” the JAMIA study stated. “Additional research is needed to identify optimal methods to engage and inform patients during their hospitalization, which will improve preparation for self-management after discharge.”
Another opportunity for using mobile devices in the healthcare industry comes from the Cleveland Clinic, the Plain Dealer reports. Patients can spend a mere $49 and use their mobile devices – tablets, laptops, or smartphones – to obtain urgent care telemedicine services with a provider from the Cleveland Clinic.
The telehealth service is called MyCare Online and can be accessed from any location including one’s home, school, car, or workplace. There are a variety of more minor medical concerns that patients may need immediate telemedicine services for such as the flu, colds, rashes, or urinary tract infections, the Plain Dealer mentions.
“Mobile or online consults are the least expensive way to treat urgent care complaints,” the Plain Dealer reported. “They may save money for patients if they normally have to travel a long distance to reach an urgent care center.”
Patients located in the state of Ohio would be able to communicate securely with a nurse, primary care doctor, or other specialty at the Cleveland Clinic using the telehealth technology service. No specific software or hardware is needed for this particular system. Only mobile devices and the MyCare Online app is needed to connect patients to a healthcare provider.
Additionally, the system benefits the hospital by providing analytics on how many people are using the telehealth technology, what type of assistance in sought, and the wait time for connecting patients to doctors.
“[Clinic CEO Toby] Cosgrove's goal for 2015 is for us to provide access any time, anywhere, and this is part of that strategy,” Dr. Peter Rasmussen, the Clinic's medical director for distance health, told the news source. “There’s a demand from employers and payers. Now we're starting to hear this from the patients as well — they want this kind of convenience and access.”
“We think this is a great thing for patients,” Rasmussen continued. “We want to head off concerns before they become so serious that they end up in the emergency room. It’s better for patients and it’s obviously better for us.”