When it comes to the latest mobile digital technology, healthcare is about 10 years behind the rest of the world, but it's growing fast. That statement is according to Jason Joseph of Spectrum Health Systems, who spoke at Mobile Monday Detroit last week.
There are several reasons healthcare lags in mobile technology. For one thing, there are security issues. You can't have private patient information traveling over an unsecured internet channel. So, even texting that type of information from nurse to doctor in a hospital needs to happen over the hospital's secure intranet. And retrofitting some of these big, old hospitals with their own wifi is very expensive. Also, healthcare is not an integrated enterprise. There are often as much as six different silos in one hospital, each with their own system.
However, there are great opportunities to help patients and doctors, streamline processes and improve service using mobile healthcare or mHealth, as it's called. Doug Zeller, of Logic Solutions talked about some of the amazing apps that have been created for mHealth purposes.
One app for doctors has 3D models of all the body's systems. These renderings have been approved by the American Medical Association as being anatomically correct. So, docs can use them to see exactly what goes where and what they're looking for.
Another app, called JEMS, connects cameras inside the operating room to the mobile devices of experts not in the room. This includes the cameras that go inside the patient. The app allows the doctors to have a real time consult with an expert who could be down the hall or in another country, during the surgery. Of course, this all has to be encrypted for patient privacy issues.
The third speaker of the day, Caston Thomas of Voalte Inc, talked about an iPhone that had two leads you could connect from the phone onto your chest and get an EKG, right on the app.
Those were just a few of the mHealth breakthroughs discussed. Overall, it was estimated that apps like these have resulted in billions in health systems savings already. And Mobile monitoring technologies are estimated to save almost $200 billion over the next 25 years. So, healthcare may hate the regulations and issues that have put them behind the curve in adopting these technologies, but they seem to be coming on strong and should love both the benefits and savings of mHealth moving forward.
If you're in the healthcare arena, what mobile technologies are you using? How do you see your world changing over the next decade?