mhealthSome of the upcoming healthcare technologies will exist on larger scales than we can possibly fathom now. Possibilities like nanomedicine – which offers the potential of healing the human body cell by cell, already exist and are being tested. In the technological realm, healthcare facilities can maintain billions of terabytes of medical data, which can ultimately lead to improvements in care and cost-reduction.

While all these highly advanced developments sound impressive, they can be hard to relate to. There is one particular advancement that everyone will be able to identify with, however, and it will play an important role in the way doctors diagnose and treat patients, and communicate with other healthcare staff members – and that is mHealth or mobile healthcare.

Like any other use of mobile devices and digital communication, there are risks and advantages for mobile health. With the advantage of quick communication during a health crisis comes the risk that a missent text message could lead to an HIPAA violation. mHealth works to its full ability only when security and regulatory concerns are accounted for. One thing’s for sure, the demand for a solution for secure texting in the healthcare field will reach record highs in 2014.
mHealth Simply Put
Simply put, mHealth is the use of wireless and mobile devices to improve health services, health outcomes and health research. mHealth could effectively address issues of medical error rate and staff productivity. Quick access to recorded patient data and real time issues could be sent from doctors or nurses in one area of a facility to doctors and nurses elsewhere in the facility.
An early-stage example of mHealth applications are products like Epocrates, whose free Rx, mobile drug reference application allows U.S. physicians to search brand, generic, and OTC medicines. Or another handy Epocrates app, their free Continuing Medical Education application that offers interactive learning activities across numerous specialty topics that are accredited by AMA, ACPE, and the ANCC. While these examples are hardly what one would call ‘connected healthcare’, they represent the begining of the mobile healthcare revolution.
mHealth is Growing
mHealth is predicted to become one of the biggest trends this year in the healthcare industry. More than 1,800 healthcare executives in 40 countries ranked it as a significant healthcare trend, along with regulatory environments and cloud computing. The rapidly increasing use of mobile technologies in healthcare certainly have something to do with this. Soon, every hospital and medical center will need an enterprise-wide HIPAA secure wireless platform.
Texting is Easy and Efficient for Doctors
Nine out of 10 doctors aged 35 and younger own smartphones. If there’s any doubt that mobile technology isn’t here to stay, this statistic should remove it. Many young physicians use their mobile devices to text other physicians, hospitalists and sub-specialists. The rapid nature of text messaging leads to a quicker decision-making process and greater productivity, both of which can benefit the patient.
Caution Must be Used to Avoid Problems
A lack of secure messaging communication standards could lead to problems for healthcare facilities. Privacy is obviously a big issue when it comes to patient health records and HIPAA regulations. Sensitive information ending up in the wrong hands leads to violations, or worse. As a result, it will be vital for hospitals to follow stringent communication protocols.
Secure Messaging is Vital to mHealth SuccessSecurity measures, such as encryption, secure data clouds, remote wipe, automatic log-out, and the tracking of message delivery will be tantamount to the success of mHealth. With time, the use of mHealth could make a difference in medical costs as well as with illness and disease prevention and treatment. The security protocols and infrastructure created in conjunction with mHealth will be vital to its success.
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Last Updated on March 11, 2014