Mobile devices are playing an increasingly important role in clinical care, particularly as providers work to shift to value-based care. Sharing patient data, both to coordinate care and decrease duplicative imaging and testing, is a key component of value-based care. Today, providers recognize that smartphones and tablets make this patient data access convenient and efficient.
In the United States, the 2015 rate of stroke incidence was just under 800,000 people a year. A particularly disturbing contribution to this statistic is the increasing number of strokes among those aged 50 to 55, which has resulted in a corresponding increase in hospitalizations. With these changes, stroke is an increasingly important topic of concern for hospitals today as they focus on population health. One way that providers are improving care is to literally bring the hospital to the patient in a mobile stroke unit, or MSU.
The use of diagnostic imaging is increasing across the globe and the total market is expected to reach $45 billion by 2022. Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing segment of this market due to many of the same issues that have impacted the growth of imaging in North America and Europe. These factors include growth in incidence of chronic disease, aging populations and government healthcare initiatives for the modernization of healthcare infrastructures.
Today’s hospitals have infrastructure and systems in place so users can share and access electronic patient data. Unfortunately, just because clinicians can share patient data with other providers does not mean they do so. In fact, recent news from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) shows that only 18 percent of providers use data from outside sources to treat patients. 
Recent headlines of healthcare security breaches:
- Hackers breach 4,300 records at Massachusetts General Hospital.
- Millions of patient records for sale on the dark web. 
- 11 million patient record breaches make June worst month for information security in 2016. 
When Sajid Ahmed took the job as Chief Information and Innovation Officer at South Los Angeles-based Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital (MLKCH) he realized he had been handed an extremely unique opportunity: The chance to design a health information technology platform for clinical care from the ground up. Ahmed was the second hire for a project to build a completely new facility to replace a hospital that had been closed in 2007.
Studies of mobile devices and physicians show a continued growth of ownership and an increasing use at work. A 2015 study showed that 98 percent of physicians own a smartphone and 92 percent of them reported that they are useful for work.  Exactly how they use their devices while at work, however, differs significantly by generation. While every physician carries their smartphone with them today, the younger they are the more likely they’ll be pulling them out in clinical settings.
In 2015, there were three times as many smartphones sold than there were babies born every day. With a statistic like that, it’s no wonder that mobile technology is redefining all sectors of 21st century society, including healthcare. Today, mobile access to patient information, diagnostic tools and provider-to-provider communication is transforming care delivery at hospitals.
For many years now, radiologists have practiced their speciality on workstations in reading rooms, sending reports to referring physicians via email or other hospital communications systems. Unlike the days of film and light boxes, when radiologists and referring physicians would discuss patient care while viewing images, today’s radiology workflow rarely includes face-to-face meetings with other providers and almost never involves interactions with patients. This workflow, however, is increasingly under pressure to change. New research shows that in-person communications between radiologists and referring physicians improves patient care.
I’ve worked in medical imaging for over 25 years and in that time I’ve seen the industry take amazing strides forward on the road to better patient care. When I compare today’s technology stack, the clinical breakthroughs, image quality and support for interoperability to where they were when I first began my career, it’s remarkable how far we’ve come. Industry players have matured from a proprietary, don’t share anything approach, to embracing standards and interoperability focused on improving patient care and cutting health care spending.