Mobile Health - the shift underway is global, human and accelerating

Posted by Randy Rountree on Mon, Jul 16, 2012

rb712 mobile health shift underway

Written by Randy Rountree, EVP of Global IT & Strategic Alliances

I began following mobility and medicine at least nine years ago when the research was on potential of PocketPCs, Palms and networks like LAN and WAN and we wondered if doctors would ever want a mobile device with them at all times.

Today, the shift to mobile health is a certainty. According to a recent study conducted for PwC GlobalHealthcare, “Widespread adoption of mobile technology in healthcare, or mHealth, is now viewed as inevitable in both developed and emerging markets around the world.” At the end of 2011, analyst firm Berg Insight calculated there were around 2.2 million patients using mHealth worldwide.

Patients First – Doctor, doctor, can you text me?

At one end of the push towards mobile medicine are consumers. A colleague shared with me the other day that there’s a sign at her physician’s office that says, “The Internet is a lousy doctor.” Like it or not, there’s no reversing that patients are demanding healthcare information online.

According to a Mercom survey of consumers, here’s how patients say they would use mobile medicine for their own healthcare:

rb712 cont mercom survey of consumer views
Source: Mercom

Patients have also shown they are willing to pay doctors a fee for a direct focus on “me.” Even I do it.

I’ve been going to same doctor for 30 years. A few years back he decided he wanted to overhaul his practice and started practicing concierge medicine - offering 24/7 direct phone and email contact with him. I pay more now to be his patient, because I have his mobile number. The last time I called him, I reached him duck hunting in Mississippi. I valued having his personal attention on my care, and I’m pretty sure he enjoyed hunting more than being hostage to a hospital or office.

mhealth for doctors - accelerating diagnostics and making life on-call livable

Doctors are also pushing for mobile health but their needs are for collaborative care, accelerated diagnosis and treatment and higher quality of life on-call.

A study of American doctors by Jackson and Coker Associates in 2011 revealed:
    • 75 percent of physicians have purchased an iPad, iPhone, or iPod.
    • 81 percent of physicians used some sort of smartphone.

What kind of healthcare professionals are adopting first? Take a look – this is usage in 2012.

rb712 cont healthcare professionals mobilityj

Globally - who's tipping fastest?

The next wave of demand for mobile medicine is coming from patients and physicians in China, India, Brazil and South Africa. We are a part of this shift. Our FDA-cleared ResolutionMD will be available in 10 languages at the end of this month.

Here’s a profile of patient demand for mHealth in developed and emerging markets:

rb712 cont patients who do not use mhealth

mHealth Outlook – saving and enriching lives with visibility and interactivity

The stats are illuminating and so are human observations. Working with our global partners, I’ve been able to hear how our technology on an iPad or smartphone is enriching healthcare.

Physicians talk about being on call and being able to see their kids. Oncologists share the difference of being able to stand bed-side with a seriously ill cancer patient and show on an iPad what's happening to their body, showing images of their tumor before and after treatment to give them some understanding and a sense of hope.

And there is the impact of how fast data can be shared and analyzed between physicians to speed diagnosis and treatment. In a stroke trial Calgary Scientific participated in with Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, our FDA-cleared ResolutionMD technology shortened treatment time by 11 life-saving minutes.

I look forward to the learning the latest news on mobile medicine at RSNA 2012 and the opportunity to share our vision.

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