August 27, 2013, 8:44 AM — Many healthcare industry observers say that mobile health (mHealth), telehealth and other eHealth initiatives are on the verge of changing the care delivery model - so much so, they say, that it's about time to drop the prefixes and start referring to the use of technology as plain old "health."
While the industry has been seemingly reluctant to use electronic health record (EHR) software, and reimbursement and regulatory hurdles continue to hinder telemedicine adoption, healthcare has by and large embraced mobile health - in theory of not necessarily in practice.
Healthcare Embracing Mobility Thanks to Physicians, Patients
One reason, of course, is ever-rising smartphone use among both patients and physicians. Patients are using mobile health apps for a variety of health and wellness purposes, from monitoring diet and exercise to controlling diabetes, while "more and more physicians are using their mobile devices as part of caring for patients," says Lynne Dunbrack, program director for Connected Health IT with IDC Health Insights. "Consequently, CIOs do need to focus their attention on this, particularly on mobile security."
Healthcare reform is also influencing clinical mobile health adoption, Dunbrack and Leslie Hand note in a recent report, A Maturity Model for Mobile in Healthcare. (For its part, Dunbrack and IDC use the terms "mobile health" to refer to consumer technology and "clinical mobility" when discussing systems that healthcare providers use.)
"Many of the same demands for healthcare reform - the need to improve access, quality of care, patient safety and clinician efficiency to treat patients cost effectively - are setting in motion the second-wave of mobility in healthcare," they write.