Mobile devices and apps are driving a revolution in healthcare

The explosion of data over the past decade has been driven in large part by the proliferation of mobile devices and the growth of rich mobile apps ecosystems.

This in turn has led to the “consumerization” of the enterprise, in which employees use their personal devices and preferred apps to do their jobs. 

Nowhere is the impact of mobile technology and consumerization more dramatic or beneficial than in healthcare. Mobile is transforming how health professionals provide care and how patients care for themselves.

For patients, apps developed for smartphones, wristbands and other wearables enable them to monitor their vital signs, physical activity and nutritional intake both constantly and instantly. Fitbit claims that users “take 43% more steps,” and while the percentage might be unprovable, the premise makes perfect sense: People who monitor any activity – miles run or walked, calories consumed, steps taken – tend to perform better.

Thousands of fitness apps can take people through strength training, flexibility or cardio exercise programs, and other apps offer health advice and information typically of higher quality and credibility than your friend’s Facebook page. The overall result is a healthier and more health-conscious population.

For doctors and other medical practitioners, mobile devices and apps allow them to provide better care in a number of ways. The most significant is the ability to capture information electronically at the point of contact to place in a patient’s electronic health record (EHR).

Beginning a decade ago, the healthcare industry and the federal government made it a priority to convert paper health records to EHRs. Having this information electronically enables clinicians to share records and collaborate on treatments with colleagues in different rooms, on different floors, or in different facilities. With paper records, that is often impossible.

Mobile devices put EHRs in the hands of doctors and nurses when they need them, and they allow the health professionals to compile accurate and thorough patient health records.

In the long run this will not only benefit individual patients, it will also give healthcare professionals data sets that could provide valuable insights into disease trends and outbreaks.

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