Author – David Chou, CIO Healthcare
We are moving into an era of mobile only vs mobile first. I think of how I operate 95% of the time with just my mobile smartphone and a tablet while using a laptop or a desktop occasionally. Now I know there are some people that cannot accomplish their work on their smartphone or tablet; but, as healthcare is shifting towards a retail model mindset, it is the expectation of the consumers/patients and providers. Currently, 73% of healthcare providers are using some form of mobile health while 18% are hoping to incorporate mobile health as part of their delivery method (survey from Modern Healthcare).
Here are the 4 trends in healthcare as we move towards a mobile only platform
In a survey by GlobalWebIndex, 80% of the folks surveyed globally own a smartphone. If you look at the number of physicians surveyed in 2012 by Booz & Company, 85% use or own a smartphone. I would not be surprised if that percentage is even higher. Let’s think about all of the grandparents that we originally thought would have problems using technology; guess what, they are all using it now to Skype with the grandkids or using Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends. With the generation gap in technology adoption a non-issue anymore, mobile will be the platform of choice with the smartphone as the main access device.
Mobile health applications are growing at a tremendous rate. In 2012, there were about 44M mobile health apps in the market with a projection of 144M mobile health apps by 2016 (Juniper Research). That projection is on target since according to the latest stat, there are currently about 100M mobile health apps on the market. CapGemini estimates that 4M mobile apps are downloaded daily. Consumers are downloading mobile apps from symptom checkers to fitness tracking and monitoring. The providers and healthcare system, on the other hand, are creating mobile apps to increase patient engagement, to allow for patient access to their medical information, to e-mail their physician’s office, request appointments, view test results, pay bills, and the list goes on.
Wearable technology is becoming popular and it is becoming part of people’s daily routine. This revolutionary technology will empower patients, doctors, and the clinical staff. As we move towards big data in the enterprises, let’s also keep in mind the data that we will have on our health. We see Fitbit on wrists everywhere to track steps and fitness activities; in addition, we are seeing the rise of trackers to track sleep patterns, calorie food intake, blood pressure, and many others. This is just the beginning as we progress and have data that will allow us to be proactive in our health, with the goal of having relevant data so that individuals can take action.
Virtual medical consultation will be the preferred route for medical treatment in the future. Telehealth, which allows patients to connect with doctors using mobile devices and video chat, is gaining traction as a cost-effective way for patients to receive care and will completely change our view of the traditional doctor’s visit. As technology in telemedicine expands, it will allow us to effectively perform the following:
Mobile healthcare is clearly on the rise and it will be the platform of choice between the provider and the patient. Pew Research conducted a survey in 2010 for the United States and at that time at least four out of five adults own a smartphone aka mini-computer. I expect that number to be higher in 2015 with an upward trajectory. I believe that healthcare will be moving towards a retail model where the consumers have increased mobile transactions and mobile will be the platform of choice. Healthcare will follow as the consumer expects the same level of service with healthcare transactions.