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A Physician's Perspective: Meaningful Use of Health Technology

Sep 15 2012   9:15AM GMT

mHealth enabling physicians to achieve meaningful use

Posted by: DrJosephKim
EHR, Meaningful use, mhealth, Mobile devices, mobile health

Every physician is talking about the meaningful use of health IT these days. Those who have received their first incentive payments are glowing, while others are actively looking for answers to help them ensure that they won’t miss out on the window of opportunity to receive incentive payments.

If we look at the “spirit” behind meaningful use, we see that the letters of the law are written in a way to help providers improve patient outcomes. We’re looking for improvements in care coordination. We want to eliminate waste and the inefficiencies that are often found in health care. We want patients to become empowered to manage their own conditions. We want patients to have access to their health information, regardless of where they are.

So, how does mobile technology enable physicians to achieve meaningful use? Allowing physicians to access their EHRs via mobile devices is one of the most obvious ways. But, only a small proportion of physicians are relying entirely on mobile devices to enter data into EHRs. Many are reviewing patient data on mobile devices like iPhones and iPads because of the convenience associated with having mobile devices everywhere. iPads are becoming ubiquitous in the hospital setting. Almost every doctor I know has an iPhone or Android smartphone.

But is the application of mHealth limited to EHRs?

We find that many mobile platforms now allow physicians to communicate securely with other providers which benefits the goal of improving care coordination. Doctors can even communicate with patients through secure mobile messaging platforms. So, discharge instructions and patient self-management tips can be sent via these mobile tools. Plus, patients can access their PHR data on mobile devices, so mHealth is active as an enabler for both patients and providers.

Mobile alerts can also guide doctors through important clinical decision support (CDS) – and I’m not just referring to drug allergy warnings. mHealth can alleviate the alert fatigue burden that may be slowing doctors down when they’re trying to treat a patient. Mobile devices can also make the clinical workflow more efficient so that data that is entered into an EHR is used more efficiently. Finally, there are a growing number of mHealth solutions that will help providers with HIE requirements surrounding all that patient data they’re collecting in their offices.

As buzz around new devices like the iPhone 5 and the rumored iPad mini circulate throughout cyberspace, we know that doctors are paying attention. They want to use the latest gadgets in a meaningful way to improve patient care.

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