The healthcare industry increasingly depends on technological advances to provide better care for patients. In particular, the mobile technology in the healthcare industry has been quickly embraced, as mobile devices can offer healthcare providers:
The most common forms of mobile technology put into service in the healthcare industry can include:
Mobile applications that can be downloaded by patients and caregivers are also playing a growing role in this technological revolution, which is expected to continue growing in the coming years. In fact, experts anticipate that the global market value of the mobile health monitoring market will exceed $8 billion this year.
Why Turn to Mobile Technology in the Healthcare Industry?
The steady growth of mobile healthcare technologies is the result of a number of different factors, including:
The Increasing Availability of New Tools
New mobile technologies are being developed all of the time. Many of these technologies are designed to fit the specific needs of healthcare providers and their patients. Healthcare providers may take advantage of mobile health tools such as:
- Cardiac Monitors
- Glucose Monitors
- Blood Pressure Monitors
- Pulse Oximeters
- Apnea Monitors
The Aging Population in the U.S.
As Baby Boomers begin to grow older, they are putting increasing pressure on the healthcare industry in the U.S.
Mobile healthcare devices offer medical professionals a way to meet the growing demands on their time.
The Cost-Effective Options for Mobile Technology
Mobile healthcare technology is actually predicted to cut healthcare spending over the next two decades.
As healthcare professionals monitor patients more closely, serious issues can be caught earlier, reducing medical costs across the board.
How Much Mobile Healthcare Technology is in Use?
We’ve said that the use of mobile healthcare technology in the U.S. is growing. Examples of the growth of medical technology in the healthcare industry are evident in the following statistics:
- Over 50% of U.S. Hospitals Use Smartphones/Tablets
- 69% of Clinicians Use Laptops/Desktops and Smartphones/Tablets
Experts estimate that there may be more than 7 million home health monitoring devices in use around the country.
How Do Healthcare Professionals Use Mobile Technology?
Mobile technology has numerous uses in the healthcare field, depending on the nature of the mobile device. Different mobile devices can include:
Smartphones, Tablets, and Wearables
Smartphones, wearables, and tablets are used in the healthcare field to:
- Monitor Patient Vital Signs
- Provide Patients with Educational Material
- Alert Patients to Important Updates
- Gain Access to Patient Records
The use of these devices offers a number of unique benefits to healthcare providers, such as:
- Strengthening Adherence to Privacy Guidelines
- Boosting Collaboration Between Caregivers
- Supporting Caregiver-Patient Engagement
- Facilitating Smoother Clinical Workflow
Diagnostic Imaging Technology
Many diagnostic tools are increasingly designed with mobility in mind. Many healthcare practitioners can utilize advanced:
- Ultrasound Machines
- Digital Radiography Tools
- Computed Tomography
Viewing the results of diagnostic imaging tests on mobile technology allows healthcare providers to focus on:
- Increasing Accuracy and Efficiency
- Boosting Quality of Care for Patients
- Diagnosing Patients with Higher Confidence
Portable technology means that healthcare service providers can focus on diagnosing patients anywhere, allowing for care to proceed more quickly and effectively.
Zero-Client Healthcare Technology
Zero-client – or ultrathin client – technology is designed to function without local storage.
These devices consume small amounts of power and offer security for medical professionals. Healthcare workers may use zero-client technology to access information even in areas with high traffic.
Digital Signage Healthcare Technology
Many medical facilities are adopting digital signage for the following reasons:
- Help Patients and Family Members Navigate Facilities
- Keep Families Updated about Patient Conditions While They Wait
- Send Out Emergency Updates
- Keep Patients and Staff Members Educated
There are a number of benefits offered by digital signage over more traditional signs. Digital signage can:
- Keep Messages Timely
- Ensure Updates Are Centralized
- Provide Information as Needed
- Offer Personalized Engagement for Patients and Families
All of these examples of mobile healthcare technology can improve patient treatment while boosting the efficiency of healthcare workers.
How is Mobile Technology Implemented in Healthcare Organizations?
The growing presence of mobile technology in the healthcare industry requires ongoing adaptation. Mobile systems require networks to function properly around medical facilities.
Many healthcare practitioners find they must set up:
- WLANs (Wireless Local Area Networks)
- Mobile Wi-Fi Systems
- Guest Wi-Fi for Patients
Due to the stakes present in the healthcare industry, it is very important that all mobile devices are protected in the event of a network outage. Many healthcare facilities set up failover systems – or backup servers – that can take the strain in the event that their main network goes down.
Can Mobile Technology Help with Operational Functions in Healthcare?
In many cases, mobile technology in healthcare directly benefits patients. Mobile technology can also offer behind-the-scenes benefits for healthcare facilities.
For example, RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) systems are often implemented into small scanners that can be used to regulate and track the inventory of:
- Medical Supplies
Due to the strict regulations on medications, it is important that medical professionals can monitor exact levels and usage of medications for their patients. Having this information at hand at all times with mobile technology can streamline medical care.
Are There Security Concerns with Mobile Healthcare Technology?
Mobile technology plays a large – and growing – role in the healthcare industry. However, mobile technology must be implanted correctly to prevent issues from arising. HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) requires medical professionals to keep patient information private, even when using medical devices.
Fortunately, there are a number of security tools available to protect mobile healthcare devices. Medical facilities may choose to implement:
- EMM (Enterprise Mobility Management)
- IAM (Identity and Access Management)
Healthcare providers can further protect their organizations from data breaches and informational theft with multi-factor authentication and single sign-on programs that reduce password confusion while adding an additional layer of protection to the use of mobile healthcare technology.
Growing Adoption of Mobile Technology in Healthcare
Mobile technology offers the healthcare industry the chance to focus on improved patient care around the clock. Healthcare professionals can use mobile technology to:
- Increase Patient Education
- Monitor the Status of Patients
- Access Patient Records
- View Test Results
- Monitor Medication Usage
These examples demonstrate the growing role of mobile technology in the healthcare industry. Further advances in mobile devices promise new advantages for medical facilities who adopt this form of technology.