The #1 Reason Why Mobile is Critical to the Evolution of Healthcare

When you realize that 40% of premature deaths are driven by poor behavior like smoking, alcohol abuse, poor diet and exercise, you have to start asking some hard questions about how to promote better care:

  • How can we make sure people are listening to their doctor’s advice once they leave the office?
  • How do we get people to take their life-saving medications after they’ve been discharged from the hospital?
  • How do we get insight into whether patients’ conditions are deteriorating so that we can make adjustments before they have to make a trip to the ER?

The optimal solutions for these kinds of healthcare challenges encourage patient engagement and incorporate insights. The ultimate tool for this is mobile technology. Why is that?

First, people have already voted with their wallets on which technologies they will welcome into their daily lives – smartphones and tablets.

Second, people are voting for these technologies with their time. A recent study indicated that people check their smartphones 150 times a day on average. Even if you’re on the low end of that average, you’re likely to admit that it is the one tool you use most frequently and find indispensable to your lifestyle.

That’s because you can select the apps you want and customize your smart device to your lifestyle needs, whether it’s for entertainment, news, maps, weather, finance, increasing productivity, etc. You have what you need whenever and wherever you need it. No wonder you’re engaged. So, why should healthcare try to create its own separate engagement tools when people have voted for mobile with their time and money? It shouldn’t. More importantly, it doesn’t have to.

Nowadays, our smart devices have integrated and finely tuned so many technologies that can be applied to healthcare. Some examples include:

1) Phone/Video – to connect to a clinical expert
2) Camera – to take high-resolution images of a wound or skin lesion
3) GPS – to identify a patient’s location on a hospital floor, in their house, or in their community
4) Accelerometer – to track how a patient is moving or not moving
5) Messaging – to send text messages that remind patients how to follow their care plan (i.e. when to take their medicine)
6) Connectivity – to pull information from sensors and wearables to collect biometric data

As importantly, companies like Apple and Google who build the operating systems for most of today’s mobile devices or Samsung, Nokia and LG who actually build many of those devices, are continuously going through the hard part of integrating all the latest great technologies into their products. Apple, for example, will be building biometrics and personal health records into its next generation of operating systems and devices.

The bottom line – people are highly engaged with mobile devices and the innovation opportunities for healthcare are only getting better. The time to leverage mobile for healthcare to engage patients and gain insights is now. Before your competition does.

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