The Expanding Role of Mobile Healthcare in Meaningful Use

 

Healthcare providers are finding more and more ways to use mobile devices in interacting with their clients. In fact, mobile health care is slowly expanding its participation in Meaningful use, and health IT experts are looking at how they feature more prominently in Stage 3 implementations.

For instance, Stage 3 standard calls for interoperability of all mobile devices used in health IT. While this may not be ground breaking, calling for the use of mobile devices in delivering patient reported outcomes puts emphasis on the inherent strengths of such everyday gadgets as mobile phones and tablets. This provides full incentives for health care providers to find more ways to integrate mobile devices into their services; while making it easier for patients to access them.

Mobile devices are ideal for around the clock health care delivery as they are always connected and are always with their owners. Health care providers and patients who have outcomes to report can do so in an instant by using text messaging or accessing mobile applications.

The use of electronic messaging in health care is not new. Remember, Stage 2 of Meaningful Use mandated providers to use electronic messaging in communicating with patients, opening an avenue for both providers and patients to exploit the readily available mobile networks and gadgets. In a way, moving into mobile devices is only a logical move in extending health care given the popularity of smart phones and other portable gadgets.

Tapping into the wide networks of mobile devices in delivering health support empowers both health care providers and patients. For example, a study conducted on the benefits of electronic patient-provider messaging use in HER showed marked improvement in blood pressure monitoring and control through the use of emails between doctors and patients.

This use is even easier today, as both patients and doctors are relying heavily on mobile devices in daily communications. With an open line of communication between providers and patients, patients are now more informed about their health care data.

Mobile devices are offering a better way for patients to interact with doctors. The addition of mobile enabled monitoring devices like blood pressure cuffs and scales, are allowing patients to report data to their doctors quickly and more efficiently.

In a way, this emphasis to use of mobile devices is redefining our health care model. As the technology changes, so will our health care. Hopefully, this change is for the better. What the Meaningful Use envisioned is integrating existing technology into health care for better delivery and improvement in patient-provider relationships.

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