Mobile healthcare, commonly referred to as mHealth, is transforming the way physicians and nurses are providing care to patients. In an industry where costs are rising and reimbursements are falling, it is critical to utilize mobile technology to maximize your provider’s time and productivity to complete medical, technical, and administrative tasks. One of the best ways to do this is by integrating mHealth into the clinical workflow.

Smartphones

A recent study discovered that over 80% of physicians own a smartphone, and over 75% have purchased an Apple iPod or iPhone. With such a high adoption rate, establishing a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy is an increasingly popular way to provide huge cost savings. Smartphones can provide workflow portability for doctors and nurses, with the ability to remotely:

•    View and send patient data to EHRs
•    Quickly communicate with staff
•    View up-to-date staff schedules
•    ePrescribe

Smartphone adoption among patients can also benefit physicians. Medical devices, such as portable EKG devices and blood pressure monitors, are being integrated with smartphones and can provide a cost-effective way to record critical data between visits or in an emergency.

Tablets

Another recent study found that over 25% of physicians own a tablet device, and over 50% of those are an iPad. Tablet devices provide many of the same workflow portability benefits smartphones can, and even more due to the increased screen real estate. Some of the benefits include:

•    Create, edit, and view patient EHRs inside exam rooms
•    View diagnostic results
•    Seamlessly move between exam rooms
•    Share interactive patient education
•    Easily accessible medical and drug information reference tools

There are also tablets capable of running operating systems (ex. Windows), which can host fully functional versions of a healthcare organization’s EHR software. By utilizing these devices, typical restrictions physicians face editing patient EHR data is eliminated and physicians can work remotely with the same level of productivity.

Telemedicine

Another increasingly popular method to maximize provider productivity is utilizing telemedicine.  Telemedicine enables consultations to patients remotely via video conferencing software. Physicians can be out of the office, even out of the country, and see patients face-to-face. Not only does it allow doctors to see patients from virtually anywhere, it can also provide a more personalized experience that just a phone call can’t offer. Benefits include:

•    Cost savings for both providers and patients
•    Physicians can be out of town and continue to see patients
•    Facilitates earlier diagnoses
•    Allows patients in rural areas to receive quicker care

For physicians with multiple offices, telemedicine can allow for even more patients to be seen due to travel time saved. Patients can come to their closest local office, and the doctors can continue to see their patients located at different offices. Solve Healthcare offers the setup and administration of video conferencing for providers, which can save patients and physicians time and money for non-urgent consults.

Sources: mHealth Watch