Physicians Advised to Keep Up with Patients’ Mobility Needs

February 21, 2011
Marisa Torrieri

Kids downloading apps to their smartphones in 2011 will grow up to expect to have access to online prescription refills, mobile Web portals, and health-monitoring applications. What does that mean for your practice? Get used to serving tomorrow’s patients today by getting cozy with mobile technology.

Kids downloading apps to their smartphones in 2011 will grow up to expect to have access to online prescription refills, mobile Web portals, and health-monitoring applications.

What does that mean for your practice? Get used to serving tomorrow’s patients today by getting cozy with mobile technology.

Armed with ideas and examples of how to do this, speakers at the HIMSS 2011 conference on Monday presented data to a room full of several hundred attendees to illuminate this trend.
“Mobile technology is cutting through everything that is healthcare,” said Brian Dolan, editor and cofounder of MobiHealth News, a publication dedicated to mobile technology in the healthcare industry.

Some examples:

• 86 percent of physicians with smartphones are interested in accessing EHR information from them, according to PwC Health Research Institute;

• 22 percent of U.S. physicians said they owned iPads, according to Chilmark Research’s 2010 study;

• 72 percent of U.S. physicians today use smartphones, according to Manhattan Research. By 2012, that number is projected to rise to 81 percent; and

• 9 percent of mobile users have an app on their phone that they use to track or manage their health, according to a Pew Research 2010 study.

Just taking a five-minute stroll on the HIMSS11 exhibit floor at the Orlando-based show is testament to this growth. On Monday, the show floor was teeming with vendor reps demonstrating apps and functions like e-prescribing on mobile devices.

“At the end of the day, the growth of mobile health will mimic that of the Internet,” said speaker Chris Catallo, executive director, web products and services, for Troy, Mich.-based CareTech Solutions, Inc.

Mobile health is also playing “a big role in the meaningful use movement,” Catallo continued, highlighting the growing practices of e-prescribing, sending mobile reminders for patients, and physician-to-physician patient collaboration.

The latter initiative, Catallo said, will become more widely practiced as physicians transition to Stages 2 and 3 of CMS’ meaningful use phases.

“There are so many different areas mobility can touch. There’s a lot of opportunity to say, ‘how can we give better care?’ It’s really important to put a strategic plan and a strategic roadmap in place," said Catallo.

Marisa Torrieriis associate editor for Physicians Practice. She can be reached at marisa.torrieri@ubm.com.

Check out the rest of our HIMSS 2011 coverage here.