Putting a simple device in the hands of your clinicians has the power to transform the care your patients get—and their overall health. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mHealth as “medical and public health practice supported by mobile devices, such as [cell] phones, patient monitoring devices, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and other wireless devices.”
The Potential for mHealth is Huge
mHealth has the potential to transform virtually every aspect of the clinical experience, for patients and for healthcare providers.
During a visit, mHealth can make complete patient data available every step of the way, without having to transport and transfer bulky and physical files that can be hard to flip through, giving clinicians all the details they need to provide the best possible care. And mHealth can also make a wealth of clinical guidelines and patient education data easily accessible, so clinicians provide the best possible care and answer virtually any questions the patient may have. And when workflow management and other process-related applications are untethered from stationary, monolithic systems, the entire visit can run more efficiently—a benefit both patients and providers appreciate.
mHealth can also play many roles between appointments, even preventing unnecessary return visits. Devices that monitor critical health factors for a given patient, such as glucose meters for diabetics, or heart rate or blood pressure monitors. Not only does this alert to a problem so immediate action can be taken, it also provides care givers with ongoing information about a patient’s condition to inform treatment decisions. But it’s not just reactive. mHealth apps can help patients stick to their prescribed regimen by reminding them to take medications, tracking important activities, and logging symptoms. And because mHealth helps to keep patients healthier overall and reduces the number of in-person visits needed, clinicians are freed up to treat more patients without sacrificing quality of care.
Effective mHealth Requires the Right IT Infrastructure
To support mHealth strategies, you need a communications infrastructure that’s designed to meet the needs of a device-enabled, mobile clinical staff. There are a number of critical infrastructure considerations you need to make to support an effective mHealth environment, including:
- Cloud adoption/migration—The healthcare industry has been slow to move to cloud computing, citing the sensitivity of patient data as a primary reason. But mHealth applications—and the potentially massive volumes of data they use and create—need the flexibility, ease of management, storage, and security that the cloud delivers.
- WiFi—According to a 2018 survey by HIMSS Analytics and PatientSafe Solutions, 38% of clinicians rated their experience with current WiFi service in their organization as poor. Having mHealth capabilities only delivers on the benefits when they can be accessed when and where they’re needed. Without sufficient WiFi, you simply can’t provide the desired patient experience.
- Redundant connectivity—When it comes to patients’ health, you can’t afford downtime of any of your critical systems that support your mHealth applications. This means you need a business continuity plan that provides contingencies to avoid disruptions.
- Cost-effective solutions—Whether your healthcare organization is nonprofit or for-profit, the infrastructure needs to be budget-smart in both deployment and ongoing management.
- HIPAA compliance—And of course, everything you do has to meet all the applicable HIPAA requirements.
BCM One Can Help Your IT Infrastructure Get mHealth-Ready
When you work with BCM One, you get a trusted partner who can help you plan, design, deploy, and manage a robust, secure, HIPAA-compliant infrastructure designed to support your mHealth strategies. Contact us to learn more.