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12Dec2013

The future of doctor-patient communication lies with mobile apps

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In the last few years we are seeing mobile technology dramatically expanding throughout the world and it is now at the point where global mobile traffic has doubled for the fourth year in a row and projections are it will increase even more, with more than 10 billion mobile devices in use worldwide.

Having said that, it is only natural that technological advancements have a big impact on the way modern society functions. Smartphones and tablets have transformed communications industry, commerce, the financial sector and entertainment, just to name few examples. Thanks to mobile technology businesses have improved on their service delivery and even more so they are, together with customers and entrepreneurs across the globe accessing information and handling transactions on the go.

And now mobile technology is on its way to innovate healthcare industry and the quality of doctor – patient communication. Technology offers a lot of benefits to patients, from engaging them in their own care to helping physicians improve documentation and disease management.

As stated by the Medical Economics, the real power of technology is within a practice and within the doctor-patient experience.

Examples how mobile applications are streamlining patient-doctor communication:

Secure messaging

App enabling secure messaging improve patients communicating with doctors and doctors communicating with patients, but, at the same time, provide doctors with the valuable information they need about the patient, when they need it most.

Appointment requests

According to recent research, about 85 % of patients would like to be able to request or schedule an appointment directly from their app. This system should be HIPAA compliant, so nothing is stored in your phone. Even more so, the database should be encrypted and the only way to access appointment requests and more is for the patient to give permission to the doctor.

Sharing lab results

An efficient app should enable a doctor to get and then share lab results with a patient. This is very practical as the doctor doesn’t have to be in his office, but he can do it wherever he is and whenever he has free time.

Documenting personal health information

This in particular can reduce mistakes. Some apps allow patients to scan information from their driver’s license or insurance card, so this way each time you go to your doctor’s office, you don’t have to keep filling out the same forms. The app should also have a place for insurance info as part of a patient health profile.

That’s a trend that is starting to pick up and that will become the norm in the future. It consists of patients being able to message with their doctors, share data they’re collecting about themselves, or home monitoring devices are collecting it about their daily lives and syndicating that information to the doctor. Knowing for example a patient’s blood pressure because they just checked in on their Wi-Fi-enabled blood-pressure monitor at home, and that’s set up to flow directly into their personal health record and then onto their doctor and the electronic health record, that’s a supremely valuable data point. In the long run and given that it is managed correctly, this way of doctor-patient communication will improve outcomes, reduce hospital-acquired conditions and lower readmissions.

  • 12 Dec, 2013
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