More than 3.4 billion people will have smartphones or tablets with access to mobile health apps by 2017.¹ Mobile health is not only changing the way healthcare technologies are being developed, but it is also changing the way people on the front lines, such as doctors and nurses, are providing care.
mHealth and Nurses
No other healthcare members are as hands-on as nurses when it comes to using technologies, facilitating the access, involving the consumer, and communicating with physicians. So why not involve them in the creation and implementation or these new technologies? With faster, more convenient services come higher price tags and only by designing technologies that satisfy the end user experience can facilities get the most bang for their buck. The worldwide mHealth market is expected to reach $23 billion by 2017.
Benefits of mHealth¹
- Reduction of costs through interoperability of medical devices
- Improved caregiver coordination
- Improved adoption of electronic health record (EHR) data
- Reduction in medical errors and data-duplication thanks to caregivers’ more informed decision-making
- Ability to diagnose and treat patients in distant medical facilities or rural areas
Increasing mHealth Involvement
Older and younger generation nurses can find themselves at odds between utilizing ‘tried and true’ processes and utilizing ‘new and improved’ mobile health methods. So how can you increase mHealth involvement among nurses, both veteran and new?²
- Executive functions such as the Office of Innovation or the Office of Excellence have to be aware of the value in the nursing perspective especially in emerging technologies and workflow innovations
- IT and Strategic Teams are encouraged to collaborate with nurses and avoid working in isolation to solve problems
- Vendors should consider establishing ‘mock rooms’ in the hospital, allowing nurses to experience new technologies in a familiar setting and provide feedback that can only be sought while on-duty
- Hospital leaders can elect a ‘Nurse Technology Liaison’ — a nurse if is a designated, full-time go-between for clinical staff and IT
Patient involvement is also on the rise with hundreds of new mobile applications dedicated to assess medical conditions and improve overall health. Although not a substitute for professional health care, mHealth technologies geared towards patients can help in health and lifestyle changes and awareness.