Providers not yet comfortable with mobile platform, HIMSS survey suggests
The percentage of mobile technology users will continue to rise as more efficient devices and networks are constructed, but does the health care industry have what it takes to keep up with such fast-paced changes? The ability to connect with patients regardless of location should be a boon to medical professionals who are always looking for new techniques of patient engagement.
In particular, meaningful use stages are expected to forefront the accessibility of electronic medical record data to patients. However, a recent survey from the Health Information and Management Systems Society suggested that providers are still lagging behind industry adoption of mobile health strategies. Regardless if this is due to data security issues or other challenges, providers must step up to keep pace with the evolving world of mobile health.
Providers are falling behind
Though overall rates of mobile health adoption varied across the industry, the HIMSS survey specifically targeted providers as lacking in the sphere of data sharing and accessibility.
According to the results, 59 percent of provider groups have mobile health data security plans in place, while 29 percent reported they were constructing a policy at the moment.
Those numbers do not inspire confidence in patients who trust their sensitive information with provider groups, but so much more than data security goes into a successful mobile health strategy. For example, David Collins, senior director for the HIMSS, explained that mobile health should be leveraged to increase quality of care and profitability, just like any other medical tool.
"Not too many people are measuring [return on investment] yet, as well as total cost of ownership," Collins told Healthcare IT News. "That's a gap - one that kind of aligns itself with the gap of the number of people who don't have a mobile technology policy in place."
Though these gaps may not seem harmful to practices that already have well-functioning mobile health policies in place, greater interoperability of EMR systems in the future means that both types of health care organizations are likely to come into contact with one another.
In these cases, secured information that flows to an unsecured or cumbersome network will slow down the entire data sharing process, EHRIntelligence explained. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the industry to incorporate meaningful and effective mobile health policies in every organization that handles patient information.
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