mHealth Summit 2013: Finding the Value in Mobile Solutions for Healthcare

Seema Mathur
Dec 17, 2013

The sea of new vendors represented at last week’s mHealth Summit in Washington is a clear indication of the evolution of the mobile technology market for healthcare.

But as new mobile apps and solutions continue to come to market, how can CIOs and CMIOs properly evaluate and discern which innovations truly have value in improving efficiency and helping to optimize clinical workflows, and which offer only incremental benefits?

In the words of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, “skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” For healthcare IT and clinical leadership, where the proverbial puck is headed appears to be in the direction of patient engagement, provider collaboration and alert automation solutions.

While some attendees touted mobile technology as a panacea to address the rising cost of care, many thought leaders at the conference were focused on these and areas where mobile technology can have a more immediate impact and address costly inefficiencies that exist today. The proper management of smartphones, tablets and other devices can extend important conversations outside of the four hospital walls, facilitating more streamlined communication, information sharing, collaboration, analysis and ultimately, more timely patient care.

To bring these technologies to the mainstream in healthcare, however, the infrastructure to manage data as well as the security measures to protect information—while at rest and in motion—needs to be developed. Some of the data paths in discussion today are random and redundant, and organization is badly needed. But progress has been made, especially in developing the appropriate policies and secure data management solutions.

For example, one hospital taking advantage of mobile technology to improve clinical communication while keeping protected health information (PHI) safe is Beaufort Memorial in Beaufort, S.C. At the Summit, CIO Ed Ricks spoke with mHealth News about the use of a SaaS-based secure messaging application to optimize clinical workflow efficiency while addressing his providers needs for a solution that catered to their increasing mobility. Ricks’ video interview can be viewed here.

Looking ahead, we are confident that the healthcare IT leadership will have a better understanding of how mobile technology can benefit their organization. Come the 2014 version of the mHealth Summit, patients and providers should have a more streamlined and collaborative relationship that can positively impact to both the cost and quality of healthcare.