Mobile healthcare, telemedicine, telehealth, BYOD

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Use of Mobile Devices and Apps Rose by 10 Hours per Month

By Vera Gruessner

- Throughout the United States, the number of Americans utilizing mobile devices and apps has been steadily increasing over the years. Innovative research even indicates that adults around the country spend almost two days per month using their mobile devices, apps, or web browsers on their smartphones.

Mobile Devices and Apps

Consumer research firm Nielsen shows that media consumption has been growing steadily over the last several years. Even over the last year, the amount of time Americans have used mobile devices and apps has risen by nearly 10 hours per month.

While there has been a rise in the amount of time people are using their smartphones, mobile devices and apps to access information and communicate across the different platforms, the number of mobile applications that consumers have used has not risen much. The majority of respondents in the survey reported using less than 10 mobile apps per day. Additionally, approximately 50 percent are using only one to four applications daily.

Since there has been an ongoing rise in the amount of time consumers spend using mobile devices and apps, healthcare providers would be wise to take complete advantage of these mobile health tools. The 2015 HIMSS Mobile Technology Survey shows that as much as 90 percent of respondents stated using mobile devices and mobile health applications to better engage their patients in their own health and wellness.

More importantly, mobile health technologies seem to be driving cost savings and improving the quality of healthcare services across the industry, according to the survey results.

“The use of wireless and mobile technologies continues to be of interest to providers and health systems as they try to engage patients in their healthcare and not only deliver high quality care, but respond to government directives, such as Meaningful Use, guidance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Medicare reimbursement requirements,” an executive summary relating the survey results stated. “The report found that many organizations are now starting to measure how these mobile technologies impact patient care delivery. More than half of respondents (51 percent) reported that their organization was able to leverage technology to coordinate or impact patient care in at least one of the areas provided in the study. The greatest areas of impact emanate from telehealth interventions, including the use of remote ICUs, teleradiology services, and the ability to coordinate care across the care continuum, which includes the use of remote patient monitoring tools.”

Patient-centered care and patient engagement remains vital for healthcare providers and mobile health technology may be able to boost these goals. The survey showed that 73 percent of respondents have adopted app-enabled patient portals, 62 percent have integrated telehealth services, and 57 percent utilize text-based communication with their patients. Additionally, more than one-third of respondents feel that app-enabled patient portals are the most successful tools for increasing patient engagement at this particular time.

“mHealth continues to evolve as a tool to drive healthcare efficiencies.  The proposed Meaningful Use Stage 3 rule realizes this with the concept of APIs and patient generated health data, and this year’s survey showed that the wide spread availability of mobile technology has had a positive impact on the coordination of patient care,” David Collins, senior director of HIMSS mHealth Community, said in a public statement.

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