Mobile health technology is increasingly common place for both patients and providers. A direct link between those who use EMR and satisfaction with its implementation show a positive correlation.
The world has become increasingly digitized; people are now more reliant on technology than ever before, adapting it into every aspect of their lives. Healthcare providers are adopting Electronic Medical Records (EMR) at an exponential rate. All patient medical history and records will be converted into digital files that can be accessed any time and from anywhere through secure networks. Mobile health, or mHealth, is a term regarding the use of mobile devices in healthcare. It makes use of mobile devices for retrieval of patient medical records to determine treatment and considers all relevant information.
As mobile and wireless technology evolved over the years, mHealth applications have entered the market to keep up with demand. Beginning with mobile phones and Personal Digital Assistants (PDA) and now with Smart Phones, a new form of healthcare delivery is quickly expanding. Features include: remote Internet access, as well as the use of Short Message Service (SMS), imaging, and video functions, all in one device. Now the cost of this technology makes it more affordable to implement even at a large scale, the use of smart phones is growing rapidly.
Providers are confident in the effectiveness and safety of this technology. Mobile health delivery trends suggest that this might be the next major step in improving the delivery of healthcare while keeping patient safety paramount. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act passed in 2009 aims to encourage EMR use by promoting financial incentives through Medicare reimbursements for physicians who adopt EMR and achieve Meaningful Use of this technology. The term “Meaningful Use” indicates that the program has been successfully implemented and proper training has been provided to the doctor and staff. The members of the medical staff at the clinic are documenting patient encounters as the EMR program is intended.
There has been a 24% increase in physicians who used EMR and an 18% increase in physicians who were satisfied with the implementation of the software from 2009 (when the HITECH Act was passed) to 2012. The next step with EMR; however, is mobile health. It is a revolutionary technology for medicine, and could likely be a way to increase healthcare at the global level. It will enable providers to communicate with patients, send SMS messages about appointments and alerts, and share preventative information and healthcare updates through mobile devices like tablets and smart phones. Because it is a relatively inexpensive technology, it shows much potential.
Author: Apoorva Anupindi