8 benefits of mobile devices in healthcare that you need to know

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Mobile devices have created a new communication channel between healthcare service providers and patients. However, the benefits of mobile devices in healthcare go beyond the communication channels. They enable better coordination, improve diagnostic accuracy, and build a bridge of trust.

Despite the benefits, lots of healthcare providers are reluctant to integrate mobile phones and tablets into their day-to-day practice. The reason for reluctance might be resistance to change. But some providers have a valid point that lack of better standards and policies in smart-phone use in healthcare can contribute to security risks. So it’s important to understand the benefits and how they can be incorporated without causing any harm.

Here are the top advantages of using mobile devices by providers as well as patients and how they are transforming healthcare:

1. Better point-of-care coordination

In a traditional hospital, when a patient with an acute condition is discharged after the initial treatment and stabilization, the patient is given prescriptions and instructions by a nurse. The nurse explains how the prescriptions should be administered as well as the test and follow-up process. There is no way to ensure that the patient has understood the instructions or is following the procedures properly. Poor communication, product name ambiguities, and misunderstanding the product use instructions can cause these medication errors. This can lead to recurrence of the ailment and adversely impact patient’s health. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), prescription errors are responsible for 70% of medication errors.

Mobile devices are changing this dynamic. Doctors and nurses can now coordinate better with the patient about the diagnosis, medication and the follow-up process. They can also monitor whether the patient has understood the instructions properly. This point-of-care coordination is making a huge difference in patient recovery and decreasing the number of re-admissions. It is streamlining the process between the inpatient and outpatient care.

2. Seamless data flow

The healthcare system is a complex network. There is a continuous data flow between the healthcare providers and the patients. Along with this, the hospital administration also needs access to the data for accounting purposes. For this reason, the healthcare data network is supposed to conform with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This act lays down the rules of sharing medical information amongst institutions.
Mobile technology is making this complex ecosystem move information more efficiently. Data can move through the network faster with phones and tablets working as end-points.

Healthcare providers can now have more control over the dispersion of information. They don’t have to worry about misplaced papers, files, and folders. However on top of all this, cyber security is a major concern. But the pros of mobile health technology outweigh its cons. Moreover, mHealth interoperability has the potential to boost healthcare and improve overall provider and patient satisfaction.

Providers are investing in systems that can securely and seamlessly exchange data across the network.

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3. Direct patient management

Initally, healthcare providers only had limited access to their patients and their data. There was no way to monitor the effect of medicine and administer up-to-date remedies directly. Mobile devices are changing this dynamic.

Phones, tablets, and wearables are being used to take regular vitals and keep logs on patients. Doctors and nurses can check up on the patient directly using mobile devices which can show how to administer a procedure. Providers can even teach family members the different aspects of patient care using mobile communication apps. Through the use of mobile devices, healthcare providers are taking a more active role in guiding their patients in the right direction. It has been helpful in improving the quality of care dramatically.

4. Enhances physician efficiency

Highly functioning physicians are the backbone of an efficient healthcare system. But it is a high-stress job. According to the American Medical Association (AMA), about 60 percent of Emergency Medicine doctors feel burned out. Physicians often complain that they have to spend a lot of time in data entry and other administrative tasks. Only 27 percent of their time is spent in patient care. In order to battle this problem, service providers are investigating ways to make the medical job less stressful. Phones and tablets are helping doctors solve problems faster with less stress.

Physicians can use mobile devices to record patient history with minimal errors. These devices provide better access to latest drug information and thus help make better decisions. They automate a lot of paperwork which frees up a physician’s time. It also means that now doctors have every patients’ information at their fingertips, so they have to spend less time providing the same level of care. Overall, the use of mobile devices in healthcare has improved physician performance and ensured better patient care.

5. Increases diagnostic accuracy

Keeping track of patient records using paper was a huge burden for the healthcare industry. Computers helped lessen the burden. Mobile devices are taking this to a new level through eliminating the need for paper usage. This has led to an increase in diagnostic accuracy. According to mHealth statistics 2016, 93% of physicians believe that mobile health apps can improve patient’s health. (GreatCall)

Doctors and nurses are able to keep accurate and descriptive notes. Fewer mistakes are made due to ineligible handwritings. Mobile apps can run automatic checks on prescriptions and decisions. As a result, prescription errors have gone down significantly. As bedside tools, these devices are helping recognize causes and symptoms of pathogens and infectious diseases faster.

6. Provides convenience

Even in the field of medical education, mobile devices are replacing bulky medical textbooks. Health care professionals can rapidly access information from their portable devices. They don’t have to waste time running to the library or carrying heavy medical books around. Students can find books, guidelines, reviews and new medical literature and journals conveniently from their smart-phones.

On the other hand, doctors and patients can share information without the need for physical meetings. With the advent of telemedicine apps, video conferencing is now possible.

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7. Caters to customizations

Physicians deal with large numbers of patients every day. It’s impossible for them to provide individual attention to each patient in a timely manner. Mobile devices are helping physicians custom design remedies without investing a huge amount of time.

Doctors can use patient data to create profiles and categorize them. These profiles can help doctors pinpoint the optimum solution for each patient. Without the help of mobile devices, this process can be complicated. But the convenience of mobile devices makes it easy for doctors to create individual level customization without investing too much time.

8. Real-time communication

Of course, the obvious benefit of mobile devices in healthcare is the improvement in communication. Doctors and nurses can inspect the patient’s condition remotely using HD cameras. Regular real-time communication between provider and patients also builds rapport.

But the benefits of mobile devices in healthcare reach beyond the doctor-patient relationship. It is also promoting collaboration, consulting and sharing of knowledge globally. Experts from different corners of the world can consult each other in real-time to learn and share. In turn, the patients benefit from these collaborations and information sharing. In a survey of medical schools, about 80 percent of medical students used mobile devices to talk to their fellow students.

Conclusion

No doubt mobile technology is changing our daily routines. And now, it is changing the way we heal. The benefits of mobile devices in healthcare are discussed above to give you an appreciation of the possibilities in this area. However, the risks should not be ignored.

Using them without proper standards can lead to unsafe practices and breach of patient privacy. Healthcare service providers should thus implement a strategy that will help keep the quality of service high while keeping the patients safe. With a robust mobile strategy, healthcare providers can take advantage of the accurate and real-time information help improve end-to-end healthcare processes.