Mobile Health Technology Experiences Growing Pains - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

09:53 AM

Mobile Health Technology Experiences Growing Pains

Rapid growth of mobile health technology means stakeholders must cope with security issues and integration into the existing IT infrastructure.

Uncle Sam Shares 12 Top Health Apps
Uncle Sam Shares 12 Top Health Apps
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Mobile health tools used to manage chronic and acute conditions will become more ubiquitous across healthcare settings, a new report from Frost & Sullivan concludes. But security concerns, problems integrating the technology into providers' monitoring systems, and a lack of best practices remain barriers.

The report, Advances in mHealth Technologies, relies on approximately 60 executives at healthcare organizations, academic research institutions, software development firms, and mobile device companies. These executives operate mobile health platforms in the USA, Canada, the Asian Pacific region, and Europe.

Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Prasanna Kannan told InformationWeek Healthcare, "As the care system shifts to a personalized disease management system, mHealth can help physicians and other clinicians remotely manage predictive symptoms of chronic illness, as well as episodes of acute conditions in hospital settings."

Kannan, the report's author, said cardiovascular disease and diabetes are the leading chronic conditions that are seeing the greatest adoption rates of mobile health technology, which is used to monitor patients' vital signs and manage their care.

[ Which mobile medical apps are doctors and patients turning to most? See 9 Mobile Health Apps Worth A Closer Look. ]

Furthermore, the report cites six key areas where the use of mobile devices can improve research and care coordination:

--Long-term disease management. As patients get older and live longer, the need for mobile devices that monitor their condition will increase and the geriatric market segment will grow.

--Primary diagnosis. This is enabled through telehealth systems such as mobile video consultations. By exchanging clinical information, doctors can make diagnostic predictions and improve patient outcomes.

--Emergency response systems. Text messaging, personal digital assistant (PDA) devices, and other mobile communications systems can help medical teams coordinate the care of patients in transition from one setting to another.

--Health and wellness information. Health-related tools and apps are gaining popularity. These include personalized fitness tools such as Fitbit, Adidas miCoach, and WiScale, which monitor exercise regimens and track everything from how many calories you burn to your weight and body mass index (BMI).

--Mobile-enhanced RFID-based tracking of drugs.Mobile devices can help track medications and other medical supplies.

--Public health research.The data collected from monitoring patients can contribute to population health research and surveillance of groups of individuals with similar medical conditions.

According to Kannan, within the next three to four years, mobile device developers will gain a better understanding of the nature of security breach concerns and will improve their systems to shield against these threats.

She also predicts that as wireless vital sign monitoring, telehealth networks, and Bluetooth-enabled health trackers become more ubiquitous, every hospital facility will eventually need to acquire a full enterprise wireless system. This will be spurred on by an emerging market approach that entails collaboration between regulatory agencies and medical device companies to develop mobile health apps that will be adopted widely across healthcare systems.

One area of concern, according to executives interviewed for the report, is that doctors need to do more to highlight the features and benefits of mHealth services and applications so patients appreciate their value.

Finally, the report offers key strategies to move mobile health forward. One example is urging hospitals and healthcare networks to focus on capturing data generated by apps in specific areas of care, such as diabetes, cancer, or cardiovascular disease. Another strategy is to integrate mHealth systems with existing hospitals and academic research centers to raise the level of research, improve preventative medicine strategies, and lower the cost of care.

InformationWeek Healthcare brought together eight top IT execs to discuss BYOD, Meaningful Use, accountable care, and other contentious issues. Also in the new, all-digital CIO Roundtable issue: Why use IT systems to help cut medical costs if physicians ignore the cost of the care they provide? (Free with registration.)

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Apprentice
10/14/2012 | 4:42:55 AM
re: Mobile Health Technology Experiences Growing Pains
I'm curious to see if this report also suggested using standardized formats for the data to be pushed to clinicians using? One must understand the time it takes to easily integrate data within an EHR. it's important to realize that while FitBit may be hot today, who knows what it will be tomorrow and we have to not chase after every mhealth option. We need to make it so they integrate with a few standards or a site like HealthVault. Then the EHR vendors can work on integrating with those sites/standards, instead of integrating it with every device that hits the market.
Jay Simmons
InformationWeek Contributor
Reflections on Tech in 2019
James M. Connolly, Editorial Director, InformationWeek and Network Computing,  12/9/2019
What Digital Transformation Is (And Isn't)
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  12/4/2019
Watch Out for New Barriers to Faster Software Development
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  12/3/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
Current Issue
The Cloud Gets Ready for the 20's
This IT Trend Report explores how cloud computing is being shaped for the next phase in its maturation. It will help enterprise IT decision makers and business leaders understand some of the key trends reflected emerging cloud concepts and technologies, and in enterprise cloud usage patterns. Get it today!
Flash Poll