Transforming the Healthcare Industry with Mobile Technology
Jun 13, 20237 min read
Michał is a highly skilled Business Development Manager with a passion for the intersection of medical technology and cutting-edge technology. When he's not working, Michał can often be found enjoying a good movie or hitting the trails for a hike.
In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, mobile technology has become an indispensable asset transforming efficiency and productivity across many industries.
The healthcare sector should be no exception to this transformative wave. Yet a 2021 survey of healthcare professionals in the U.S. showed that 90% of healthcare providers still use paperwork and other manual processes that could easily be replaced by mobile technology.
To provide better healthcare to patients, IT management professionals must start exploring how they can proactively lead their organizations to adopt mobile technology solutions for healthcare.
This article will first look into understanding the most common healthcare management issues. Then, we will shed light on the latest trends and key applications underscoring the urgent need to integrate mobile solutions into healthcare systems.
We will also cover case studies, challenges, and best practices for adopting mobile technology in healthcare. By the end of this article, IT management professionals will have a clearer view of how to leverage mobile technology to improve care, patient engagement, and data-driven decision-making.
Top 5 healthcare management issues
Many healthcare providers experience management issues and bottlenecks that frustrate medical staff and patients. Let’s first understand the most common inefficiencies in the healthcare industry.
Appointment scheduling Traditional appointment scheduling often involves manual processes, such as calling or messaging to book an available slot. This process could involve being put on hold or needing to call multiple times if the line is engaged. Not only is it difficult for patients to make an initial appointment, but it’s also difficult to reschedule their appointments when needed.
On the flip side, if a doctor needs to take emergency leave, administrative staff or nurses must call or message every affected patient and manually reschedule their appointments. This takes healthcare staff away from other critical tasks in managing patient healthcare.
Fragmented systems and physical paperwork Even if physical paperwork is combined with digital systems, healthcare providers will find themselves dealing with numerous challenges. For example, manual data entry is very time-consuming and prone to error, while a lack of a unified platform can result in different departments and systems operating in silos.
Without seamless integration and sharing of patient information across departments and systems, healthcare providers face difficulties obtaining a complete picture of a patient's medical history and symptoms, leading to potential gaps in care, delayed decision-making, and compromised patient outcomes.
Access to medical records Patients often face challenges accessing their own medical records, which can hinder their ability to make informed decisions about their health. It can also make it difficult for healthcare providers to provide appropriate care to new patients.
For example, patients who travel, relocate, or want to consult a different specialist will likely struggle to explain to another healthcare provider their medical history without access to their medical records. Many patients also don’t understand the medical jargon, making it difficult to accurately communicate their conditions or answer the questions from their new doctor.
The most common underlying causes of these issues include communication breakdown, complex medication regimens, confusing labelling or packaging issues, and patients with low health literacy of side effects or perceived lack of efficacy.
Patient education and self-care Low health literacy is one of the underlying causes of medication errors and non-adherence to prescription regimes. Poor health literacy is strongly linked to patients struggling to access the right information.
Limited access to accurate health information and guidance can leave patients feeling confused and disempowered, leading to mistakes or negligence in taking their medicine.
At the same time, when patients cannot easily access the information they need for proper self-care, healthcare staff spend a lot of time answering the same common questions.
Addressing inefficiencies with mobile technology in healthcare
Mobile technology can address these common healthcare management issues and inefficiencies. Here are some key applications of mobile technology in healthcare that can help resolve these issues and streamline how quality healthcare is delivered.
Mobile Health (mHealth) Apps:
mHealth apps encompass many applications focusing on health monitoring, wellness promotion, and disease management. These mobile apps can:
Simplify the process of making appointments for medical staff and patients.
Provide a unified platform for systems, processes, and record-keeping.
Provide patients with easy access to their medical records.
Provide medication reminders to reduce medication errors and non-adherence.
Make it easy for patients to access credible information that enables better self-care management easily.
It can help to answer the most frequently asked questions when combined with AI chatbots.
Offer mental health support for holistic patient care.
Electronic health records (EHRs)
mHealth apps are also beneficial for healthcare professionals as they can provide medical staff with easy access to electronic health records (EHRs) on the go. Doctors, nurses, and medical officers can review patient information, access medical histories, view test results, and update records directly from mobile devices.
By eliminating paperwork, healthcare providers can streamline workflows, remove data silos, and improve data accuracy, which enables efficient and coordinated care delivery.
Telemedicine and remote medical care
The emergence of telemedicine, which is also known as telehealth, allows patients to receive medical care remotely through telecommunication technology.
mHealth apps with secure messaging platforms are one of many ways healthcare providers can provide telemedicine services. Other ways include platforms such as video conferencing and audio calls.
Telemedicine through mHealth apps can help health providers:
Offer convenient access to health services, especially for elderly patients, patients with limited mobility, or those who work or live in remote areas.
Provide follow-up care without needing in-person visits, making it more convenient for patients to receive long-term care while opening up valuable in-person time slots for those who need it the most.
Empower their patients to proactively manage their health in ways that were impossible before.
Integrating mobile technology in healthcare with other industries
By integrating mobile health technology with IT solutions in other industries, healthcare organisations can unlock new levels of efficiency, patient engagement, and data-driven decision-making.
Here are a few ways healthcare IT managers of health organisations can collaborate with different industries to improve patient outcomes.
Fitness and Wellness Industry Many wearable fitness trackers and health apps can track a person’s exercise routines, nutrition intake, sleep patterns, heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs.
By syncing data from these fitness trackers or wearables, these apps provide healthcare professionals a comprehensive view of an individual's overall health in real time.
With this information, healthcare providers can track their patient’s health progress and make informed decisions when giving consultations or prescriptions. Patients will also be empowered to set goals, monitor progress, and make informed decisions about their well-being for better self-care.
Pharmaceutical Industry mHealth apps can collaborate with the pharmaceutical industry to provide users with medication information, including dosage instructions, potential side effects, and interactions.
Integration with pharmacy systems will also make it easier for patients to order prescription refills directly through the app, promoting medication adherence and reducing errors.
Mobile apps can also provide educational resources about medications, access to clinical trials, and a platform to chat with qualified pharmacists if they have any questions regarding their prescriptions.
This integration allows customers to enjoy special discounts, exclusive gifts, or other perks from their insurance provider when they meet specific health goals or milestones. Insurers, on the hand, gain valuable insights into their customer’s health risks to create more accurate, customised policies.
Healthcare providers can follow suit and provide value-added services through partnerships with insurance companies and healthcare financing institutions. By integrating their mobile health technology solutions with these institutes, healthcare providers can:
Health and Wellness Retailers IT management professionals can also explore integrating mobile health technology solutions with health and wellness retailers, such as pharmacies and nutrition stores, to provide personalised recommendations based on health data.
By analysing health profiles and purchasing patterns, the partnership can provide patients with value-added services such as tailored product suggestions, discounts, loyalty rewards, seamless ordering, and delivery of health-related products.
Occupational Health and Safety Mobile health apps can connect with industries focused on occupational health and safety to promote employee well-being. By integrating with workplace systems, these apps can provide health assessments, safety guidelines, and ergonomic recommendations specific to various industries.
They can also facilitate reporting workplace incidents or injuries, providing their healthcare professionals with critical information to ensure timely intervention and appropriate healthcare.
Health Research and Clinical Trials Mobile health apps can collaborate with research institutions and pharmaceutical companies to collect anonymised health data for clinical trials and research studies.
If healthcare providers want to participate in such collaborations, they must ensure that their patients can opt out or consent to participate in such programs.
Healthcare providers must also ensure patients clearly understand what information they’re sharing, how their privacy and data security is protected, and how their participation will contribute to advancing medical knowledge while gaining access to cutting-edge treatments or interventions.
Health and Fitness Coaching Partnering with health and fitness coaches who can provide personalised guidance and support is another powerful application of mobile health technology.
Health coaches or personal trainers can access users' health data, track progress, and offer tailored recommendations. Healthcare providers can also monitor the direct impact of lifestyle changes on their patient’s health to provide better follow-up.
Case studies: Holistic approach to health management
Entia is a London-based MedTech startup focused on improving access to blood tests.
They approached us with the idea of a customised mobile health app allowing patients to scan their self-performed blood test results. Their healthcare provider can then access the results without the patient needing to go onsite to do the blood test with medical staff.
Today, Entia can provide its clients with a highly intuitive mobile application suitable for elderly people to perform self-diagnosis. This enhances how their business can scale in partnerships with hospitals and other healthcare providers looking for a more streamlined way to conduct blood tests and monitor patient results.
Best practices for adopting mobile technology in healthcare organisations
Although mobile technology is very promising for healthcare organisations, it poses several challenges for IT managers. These best practices can help organisations overcome these challenges to adopt mobile technology in their systems and processes successfully.
Implement robust security measures Healthcare data is highly sensitive and subject to strict privacy regulations. IT managers must implement stringent data security protocols, encryption methods, user authentication, and secure data storage to protect patient information and stay compliant with privacy laws.
Integrating with existing systems Data silos and fragmented data are some of the key issues IT management needs to address. Thus, mobile technology solutions need to integrate seamlessly with existing systems.
Provide adequate training Resistance to change, lack of training, or limited technology can discourage employees from adopting the new mobile technology solutions. Employers need to train their healthcare professionals and staff on how to use the new mobile technology, why they should use it, and how it can help them.
The adoption of mobile technology in healthcare offers transformative opportunities but comes with its share of challenges.
To make the most of the opportunities, IT management professionals should look for collaborations and partnerships to offer holistic healthcare and added value to their patients. At the same time, they must follow best practices when adopting this technology to protect their patient’s privacy and sensitive data.
Michał Pruciak is a seasoned consultant for tech leaders, known for his exceptional skills in business development and his passion for blending medical technology with cutting-edge advancements. He excels in strategic thinking and critical problem-solving, making him a valuable asset in his field. When he is not working, Michał enjoys watching movies and going for hikes, valuing a balance in his personal life through staying active.