Mobile Health: Are You Connected?
One of the most noteworthy trends in healthcare today is the movement toward mobile healthcare, or mHealth. This rapidly expanding field has its foundations in “telemedicine”— defined by the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) as the “remote delivery of healthcare services and clinical information using … technology.”
Historically, telemedicine, or telehealth as it’s sometimes called, has been utilized in rural and other areas where medical care is limited. While those needs remain, there has been a definite broadening of scope beyond the institution-based programs that traditionally served remote patients.
Today, the exponential growth is in the wealth of technology products such as mobile apps, wearable devices, smart diagnostic tools and other do-it-yourself (DIY) medical equipment that automatically transmit patient data to providers and help patients access their health information as needed. According to the “Top Health Industry Issues of 2015,” published by the PwC Health Research Institute, the FDA cleared 24 digital health devices in the first 10 months of 2014 and many more were expected to clear throughout 2015. The report also indicates that physicians are getting on board, with nearly half of those surveyed saying that they would be willing to use data from monitoring devices to make some care decisions.
The real-time monitoring capabilities of these mobile health tools seem especially well suited to cost-effective management of chronic illnesses, treatments for which account for 86% of our nation’s healthcare costs according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Patients with conditions such as HIV, COPD, diabetes, heart failure and many more can be monitored remotely, and systems can generate responses, either from the systems themselves or from care providers. The goal is to empower patients to effectively manage their health, including medication and other treatment adherence, which keeps them out of emergency rooms and hospitals and reduces costs.
For specialty pharmacies and home infusion providers, such connectivity could prove beneficial to delivering cost-effective care. For example, weight, blood sugar, vital signs and other patient health details can be monitored remotely and could potentially trigger physician orders to change treatment without the cost and delay of in-patient visits to physicians. In addition, mobile health technology can offer tremendous convenience for your patients, which may increase adherence and long-term outcomes.
See how Mediware can streamline your pharmacy operations through automated technology!