Posted by: adelvecchio
HIMSS 2015, Mobile devices, Mobile devices and telehealth, Patient engagement, telehealth, wearable devices
The rise of transformative technologies from EHRs to wearables is quickly making mobile devices a very real part of the healthcare journey. American adults spend an average of 43 hours per month using apps or surfing the Web on their phones, compared to just 22 minutes spent at an average doctor’s visit. Mobile devices make information instantly available to far more people, integrating them with our daily lives more than traditional desktop computers ever did.
Clinicians are also seeing how important mobile devices can be, not only for their patients, but as tools to help them deliver quality care in a more timely and cost-efficient manner. According to a survey released during the HIMSS 2015 conference, 54% of healthcare provider employees that use mobile devices to engage with patients have seen cost savings.
The rise of this collaborative approach to healthcare is one of the crucial steps in the journey toward a more time- and cost-efficient, value-based healthcare world. By utilizing mobile devices — which are already an ingrained part of people’s everyday lives — clinicians can tailor delivery of care, while also receiving data that can have an impact on patient outcomes.
Support ongoing, two-way conversations
The saturation of text messaging and social media has conditioned people to expect instantaneous communication. By deploying patient engagement technology, clinicians and patients can use mobile devices for secure, ongoing, two-way conversations that are more aligned with modern communication.
The ability to engage in an open-ended discussion can break down communication barriers, make patients more comfortable with physicians and transform patients into a resource for health information. In addition to increased patient satisfaction, establishing ongoing communication can also lead to earlier identification of potential adverse health events.
Share tailored, bite-sized content
We live in a hyper-connected world that is measured in 140 characters, and marked by messages that disappear after 24 hours. Health content is no exception: Care information must be delivered in small, digestible chunks relevant to patients and accessible anywhere, anytime.
Technology allows healthcare organizations share educational content — such as how to deal with a chronic condition — with the touch of a button, and helps them customize a treatment plan specific to each phase of every patient’s healthcare journey. Are you treating a diabetes patient who has just been discharged from the hospital after a life-threatening rise in blood sugar? Serve them with content that includes one low glycemic recipe a day. By using content to engage patients on a regular basis, clinicians can help proactively prevent readmissions and earn the trust of patients.
The number of hours available to engage with patients is often severely limited by the time it takes to chart all the information from a visit. While patients may get less than 30 minutes of a clinician’s time, a physician can spend as much as a third of a work day charting. Patient engagement technology allows physicians to reclaim some of those hours by making it easier to monitor patients from afar.
In addition to patient-provided health reports, HIPAA compliant monitoring devices allow physicians to monitor heart rate, blood glucose and other biometrics. In doing so, clinicians can spot health events and address them before they lead to a costly hospital visit.
Grant access to real-time data
Patients and providers are both hungry for real-time data — and patient engagement technology can provide it via mobile devices.
For clinicians, the ability to answer patient questions, check in and conduct health visits via mobile devices provides a stream of data that can be collected and analyzed on a rolling basis. These modern technologies help save time by eliminating many of the hours spent manually charting, faxing records and hand-entering medical data. For patients, this technology can integrate with some EHRs and other health information systems to provide a more complete picture of their health.
New ways to execute telehealth visits
Mobile devices also provide clinicians an avenue through which they can execute virtual visits in a way that enables the patient to see the face of their doctor (making the visit feel more real) and connect with physicians that might be out of state, while helping clinicians save money and resources. In fact, most clinicians can bring more dollars in the door without affecting patient satisfaction by using Current Procedural Terminology codes when practicing telehealth.
To stay relevant and solvent in this new world, healthcare organizations must start looking for technologies that integrate with the mobile lifestyle of patients and also deliver quality, easy-to-access data for physicians.
About the author:
John Smithwick is the CEO of RoundingWell. He co-founded RoundingWell in 2011 following four years at Nashville’s Healthways, where he led the design effort for their web-based disease and lifestyle management product offerings. Prior to his work at Healthways, he worked in product management at Microsoft in Redmond, Wash. and in technology strategy consulting with Accenture in Boston, Mass. A graduate of the University of Richmond, he holds a master’s of business administration from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.