The Future of Mobile Health Care Is Here
Patient data management has come a long way from the days of charts hung from the bottom of hospital beds. Today, data still follows the patient, but in a distributed cloud model where it can be summoned to any device by a multitude of users, including patients themselves. While mobile health care has helped medicine improve by leaps and bounds, there are still more innovations on the horizon.
Indeed, some forward-thinking health organizations are already experimenting with new mobile technologies, and others are planning to do so soon. Here’s a look at what’s on the horizon for mobility in health care.
Patient Digital Assistants
Digital assistants such as Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Google Assistant are already gaining momentum in homes and with mobile users. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that these “conversational agents” are not yet ready to support mobile health, but they likely will be soon. The race is on to provide patients with digital medical assistants capable of not only detecting health conditions and problems but proactively addressing them, too.
These next-generation digital assistants will be powered by artificial intelligence and be a part of sophisticated connected systems. For example, the patient’s digital assistant could be able to summon a drone with medicine refills, inform the doctor of any changes in the patient’s condition and provide vital medical information to ambulance and emergency-room personnel.
Technology in health care environments has come a long way. From robots in the surgical suite to physician mobile devices, internet-connected health monitors and electronic medical records, technology is reshaping how medicine is practiced. The problem is that, at the moment, most hospitals and care providers are running each of these technologies independent of one another.
For there to be maximum benefit from analyzing all the available information — including increased efficiencies, reduced costs and improved experiences for both the patient and the physician — these technologies must be integrated into one connected system. If information is scattered across various platforms, making the right decisions based on accurate, up-to-date data becomes much more difficult.
Home Diagnostic Devices
Telemedicine devices and apps designed for at-home use by the patient are the next step in improving both patient care and the physician experience. The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted Tyto and MedWand, two new home diagnostic devices that individuals can use at home to perform tests and send the results to their physicians.
“We are replicating the face-to-face primary care visit, just doing it remotely,” Tyto founder Dedi Gilad told the Journal.
What Mobile Health Care Means for IT
Health care will increasingly become more convenient for patients, but that means provider organizations must prepare their infrastructure to gather, store and analyze more information coming from a greater number of devices. Networks will have to be able to handle extraordinary amounts of traffic while also protecting against sophisticated attacks.
And while increased automation will improve efficiencies, reduce costs and improve the physician and patient experience, increased automation also taxes IT systems. Health care providers should taking steps now to prepare their infrastructure for mobile — because the future is already here.