What do providers want from mobile healthcare tech?
What do the decision makers at U.S. hospitals think about the shifting use of smartphones and tablets as part of the care setting? In our most recent Essentials Brief, HIMSS Analytics set out to uncover the sentiment of healthcare professionals on the immersion of mobile technology in healthcare organizations across the country. While many might agree that the strength of using mobile technology is in improving clinician communication and enhancing access to needed clinical and non-clinical data, what is more telling is where healthcare stakeholders are looking to solutions vendors for technology improvement.
A look at open-ended responses of healthcare professionals who took part in the study indicate that continued innovation and development specific to addressing the healthcare market is needed to improve care quality and workflow efficiencies.
Three areas where healthcare professionals say mobile solution innovation is necessary
As part of this study, health IT researchers from HIMSS Analytics took a deep dive into why and how U.S. healthcare organizations are using mobile technology. To gain insight into the areas where innovation specific to the healthcare market would be beneficial, the following question was posed, "What would you like to see in the future to provide and coordinate patient care and improve outcomes through the use of smartphone/tablet mobile technology?"
To visualize and discuss the main themes of the responses let's take a look at the word cloud below, weighted by the number of times each word was used. Three main themes emerge.
Access to data
Access to data is a main theme of the responses , regarding where innovation needs to happen in healthcare mobile technology. Interestingly, this was true for both patients and organizational stakeholders. While some respondents noted that access to patient data across care settings is necessary for increased adoption, others noted that providing the patient access to their own data would save time, energy, and money for themselves and the healthcare organizations they visit as they could be in better communication with physicians before making sometimes unnecessary trips to the doctor.
This data access brought up another key theme across the responses...
Security of data
Given the current landscape of healthcare, the emergence of the Internet of Things, health technology wearables market, and nearly universal access to mobile devices, the concern of data security should come as no surprise. Respondents made it known, loud and clear, that security of patient data is of paramount importance. Stakeholders expressed the need for sharing and accessing data within the confines of their organization walls safely and securely.
Many expanded upon that theme and noted the same need when working with outside facilities and organizations, bringing into play a third theme...
Coordination of data
The coordination of patient data across care settings is a highly sought after functionality of stakeholders considering mobile technology for their organizations. Improvements in team-based, inter-departmental, and inter-organizational patient data coordination are important to decision makers as they further integrate mobile technology into their organizations. The continuity of care between one department and another, as well as one hospital and another, is extremely important to healthcare organizations and their goals of providing the highest quality care they can give. Ultimately, this brings us to the overarching theme of the responses.
Healthcare organizations want to see innovation that improves quality of care.
Bottom line: if mobile device integration can improve quality of care, more organizations will buy. Making data accessible and available, doing so in a secure manner, and efficiently delivering that same data whether a patient is seeking care in a rural setting or an urban one, all go toward the end goal of improving care quality. Mobile health IT solutions will need to approach the market knowing that innovation is still needed for increased usage of the tools.
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