December 8, 2017
Innovation and the use of new technologies have changed industries tremendously. As the world becomes progressively interconnected, adoption of technology has become the defining factor for the modern healthcare environment. With digital transformation becoming a big part of the healthcare industry, individuals can live healthier lives. Many modern technologies have already solved challenges regarding patient monitoring, patient-to-doctor communication, data management, medication adherence, etc. All these have only been possible with the effective use mHealth technologies.
As an eventful 2017 finally draws to an end, here are a few mobile health trends and predictions in 2018. The last 12 months saw several trends shape the global mHealth market. However, 2018 is expected to take our expectations of mHealth to the next level. Currently there are a handful of technology trends looming over the horizon and are expected to take the mHealth world by storm! So, here are five mHealth trends and predictions for 2018!
This trend can be categorized under digital health. It is the idea of monitoring and improving patient treatment by using digital interventions. The idea behind digital interventions is to empower individuals to fix chronic or acute problems, and improve patient outcomes.
This is particularly important as it decreases the chances of patient readmission, which is a benefit for insurance companies. While the potential of digital interventions is high, the platform may take some time to be implemented. However, it is one of the most powerful platforms that is being developed to improve patient care.
As we have seen often in 2017, people tend to believe that all this technology will replace humans in patient care. Many healthcare providers are against going digital as they feel that it would decrease their chance of survival. On the contrary, these digital health initiatives ease the burden but not replace human interaction. Going digital will only help in streamlining processes and in improving patient engagement but can never replace human interaction altogether.
The biggest woe that healthcare providers have in the 21st century is of documentation. As one healthcare provider puts it “it is overwhelming and dreary at the same time!” At least here in North America, healthcare providers are being forced to document everything related to a patient. Due to this their margins have tapered.
A great way to address these woes is by gather the information from the patient itself or maintaining an electronic health record. Counterproductive? Maybe not! Many leading hospital chains have native apps that already store patient data. They also feature medication adherence, remote monitoring, patient-doctor communication, etc. Using these features, healthcare providers or doctors can easily pull up patient data.
This may not completely solve the documentation challenge, but will allow for process streamlining. It will also make sure that doctors are giving their complete attention to their patients.
This is possibly the most exciting and interesting concept within healthcare. As the gamut of big data and analytics in healthcare is vast, we will discuss only the top three aspects.
1. Resource Management: Big data helps in addressing challenges associated with resource management. Hospitals are among the few entities that require personnel to be present at all times. But at the same time, it’s imprudent to have the entire staff work for long hours just in anticipation of an emergency patient. Big data solves this problem by predicting the number of patients are expected to need a medical assistance.
How this challenge is solved is by feeding the system with years of data so that is can analyze with accurate algorithms and predict the influx of patients at each hospital. Through this analysis, hospitals can reduce waiting times during unconventional hours, and provide exceptional quality of care for patients around the clock, without any compromise.
2. Electronic Health Records: With the penetration of mHealth apps, patients today have their own digital record of their health. This includes, medical history, demographics, lab test results, allergies, etc. This data is available to both private and public healthcare providers, and using an EHR, doctors can know if a patient has been following their suggestions or not.
EHRs can be used to manage problem lists, manage medication lists, manage patient history, capture external clinical documents, present care plans, guidelines, and protocols, manage guidelines, protocols and patient-specific care plans, generate and record patient-specific instructions, place patient care orders, and order diagnostic tests.
3. Predictive Analytics: This is something that is unheard of in the healthcare vertical/domain. The potential applications reach beyond the scope of any healthcare provider’s business. Coupled with EHRs of over a million patients, algorithms can accurately predict what diagnosis will suit a new patient.
Many believe that predictive analysis will overtake a physician’s role. However, the entire system is setup only to assist a physician or doctor but not to replace him. The analysis can help doctors make data-informed decisions and improve patient treatment.
This has been an emerging technology for a few years, but never actually took off! 2018 will prove to be different for telemedicine. Probably the reason for telemedicine to not take off over the years could be the availability of a mobile device to BPL families. Now, with the ubiquitousness of a mobile device – read smartphone, telemedicine is expected to radicalize how the healthcare industry functions.
Doctors can attend to their patients using mobile devices. Patients can video call their doctors and have their sickness/ailment diagnosed. They can even get medical attention from their doctors without having to travel to the hospital or clinic.
Doctors too feel that telemedicine offers a better way of treating and managing chronic conditions than conventional visits. Telemedicine offers a refreshing taste to accessibility and freedom to patients. It saves time and money as well.
Data, in the 21st century is constantly on the move! From flash drives to laptops to mobile devices to emails to the cloud, data is always on the move. How then would healthcare providers safeguard themselves from data theft?
Safeguarding patient data is crucial for healthcare providers across the world. Not just safeguarding patient data, they also need to be compliant. With a plethora of regulations that need to be adhered, healthcare providers are scrambling to address this challenge.
Deploying blockchain in healthcare allows for anti-counterfeiting. Blockchain is highly secure and immutable – write once, read only. This is extremely crucial for EHRs, as they travel from the public and private sector. Having a singular security protocol will only ease the process, and assure patients that their data is not vulnerable.
Similar to relational databases, various application layers can be built over blockchain. This is one technology that will see increased application in 2018.
Succinctly, mHealth is expected to be the driver for healthcare in 2018 and the years to come. The trend has potential to become the most effective in delivering better healthcare services to people around the world. As healthcare providers look to enhance their ability to evaluate and diagnose patients, mHealth has already seen a good share of adopters. 2018 will only prove the concept of mHealth to be robust!
What are your thoughts about mHealth? Do you think the aforementioned trends will define how healthcare is perceived in 2018? Share your thoughts and suggestions by commenting below.