Doctor on the go…as Mobile Health Gains Momentum

Wide-spread adoption and use of mobile technologies opens up new avenues to improve healthcare delivery. 

Mobile applications make it easy for patients to manage their own health and wellness, promote healthy living and gain access to useful information on the go. These tools are being adopted almost as quickly as they are developed. Industry estimates forecast that 500 million smartphone users will use a healthcare application by 2015 and by 2018, 50 percent of the 3.4 billion smartphone and tablet users will have downloaded mobile health applications.

The FDA also encourages mobile medical apps to improve care delivery and provide valuable health information exchange. The FDA oversees safety and effectiveness of medical devices – including mobile medical apps. FDA issued the Mobile Medical Applications Guidance on September 25, 2013. Applications that have an impact on patients if they don’t work as intended and which affect the functionality or performance of traditional medical devices need to adhere to FDA’s guidance.

Mobile Health

The top-four priorities of your mobility strategy should be:

  • Security of the information on a lost or stolen device
  • Security of the information being transferred over wireless networks
  • Security of applications that run on the device

Consider the following risk factors when designing a mobile policy for hospitals:

  • Password protection
  • Installing mobile security software
  • Data encryption
  • Safe mobile apps
Budget Allocating budget for new initiatives is a concern for hospitals, hence 20-30% of them are still wary of documented mobile strategy. Design, implementation and integration of mobile devices includes:

  • Invest time to initiate, plan and develop apps
  • Hardware and software vendor costs
  • Maintenance
  • Device-related user costs
Integration & Planning Having all your data on a mobile and tablet is really a good thought, but integrating hospital systems with mobile devices requires a lot of planning. You need to consider the following pointers for smooth functioning:

  • Security concerns
  • Contract binding
  • Government regulations
  • Disparate mobile platforms
Platform Disparate mobile platforms make it difficult for healthcare IT providers to develop mobile apps. A good platform strategy would help plan for a holistic mobile application. This will help manage various devices from one console. A platform strategy is essential to maintain control over a mobile environment with various devices and their diverse security requirements.