The healthcare industry is rapidly evolving and is at the cutting edge of innovative technological advances, specifically in the mobile and digital space. These advances in technology are producing new efficiencies and leading to a course of overall improved healthcare, which is beginning to alter the typical physician/patient relationship and transforming how care is given and received.
The use of technology in the healthcare field has been growing exponentially over the last few years, with now over half of all U.S. physicians using an electronic health record (EHR) system to track patient care, all of which is forecasting the change technology is having on the way healthcare is delivered and managed.
One of the most notable advancements in healthcare technology is coming from the improvement in smartphones and tablets. With mobile medical applications (apps) reaching in the tens of thousands, their popularity and trust amongst physicians and patients is rapidly increasing. Some physicians are beginning to suggest medical apps to their patients as a way to help them better monitor a patient’s health, whether it be through an app that tracks a patient’s diabetes by wirelessly monitoring their blood glucose level, or a fitness and exercise app that may better help a patient monitor their weight loss goals, mobile technology is making it easier for physicians to communicate and monitor their patients progress.
And as more physicians continue to see the benefits of mobile apps, prescribing apps to their patients along with medicine, in order to better capture health data will start to become a more universal practice. One of the most significant advantages of physicians monitoring their patients’ health data via a medical app is being able to be alerted of a medical issue as it happens and giving it immediate attention as opposed to waiting to be seen at an appointment.
Amongst the most popular medical apps are those that provide needed services to patients, such as diagnostic tools, vital sign monitoring apps, health information tracking, interactive human diagrams, asthma monitoring and even fitness and relaxations apps. Accordingly, with the growing number of mobile medical applications, comes concern over patient privacy and accuracy of the medical apps ability to perform or monitor like a medical device. Because of this concern, the FDA and the Medical and Healthcare Regulatory Agency have now created a set of stricter medical guidelines that medical apps must adhere to, which is helping physicians vet which apps they will use before prescribing them to a patient.
The mobile and digital revolution is also helping providers and payers improve overall productivity and deliver new and better services that are strengthening patient care and relationships, all of which strive to deliver better health outcomes at a lower cost. And according to the research company GlobalData, the mobile health technology market is expected to exceed $8 billion by 2018, so with the growth of medical technology and the advancement in mobile communications, this is a market on the cusp of a true healthcare revolution.