Three Mobile Apps That Will Transform Healthcare in 2016
The speed at which technology is transforming health care is accelerating. Big Data is growing exponentially, and the 2015 phenomenon of “Mobilegeddon” has shifted global communications from the telephone booth to the palm of your hand. Over the past decade, the health community has been harnessing new digital tools to solve today’s pressing health problems. A fully functioning, all-digital, virtual health care delivery system is still a few years away, but 2016 promises to take big steps in that direction.
These digital game-changers are designed to address three of America’s most pressing health concerns:
- Improved management of diabetes (one of America’s biggest health problems)
- Getting critically needed healthcare services to the nation’s veterans and military personnel
- Empowering patients to be more engaged in their care coordination to help improve outcomes
1. Combating Diabetes with Data
In fall 2015, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) announced that it was using ICD-9 and claims data to develop an app to assist patients to better manage Type 2 Diabetes. The clinical data revealed negative but prevalent patient behaviors that, if changed, could improve patient outcomes. Type 2 diabetics may improve their medication adherence with an app reminder, and pharmaceutical refills, diet recommendations, glucose levels and exercise activities, could be easily tracked throughout the day.
The app would seamlessly connect all aspects of disease care through the handheld device. It is currently being tested, and the final version is expected to be released in early 2016.
2. Treating Veterans and Military Personnel at Home
The Department of Defense (DoD) has stepped ahead of the curve and removed previous barriers to at-home or portable treatment for its personnel. The Service Members Telemedicine & eHealth Portability (STEP) Act was fully launched in early February and removed limitations on eligible “locations” for treatment; the new list includes the patient’s home, and any “other location deemed appropriate by the treating provider.”
Veteran’s health services can now be accessed through a DoD-approved custom software platform that conforms to HIPAA. Patients will receive help from the Military Health System’s Telehealth Working Group to implement the telehealth apps in their homes and on their devices. Eligibility is dependent on the veteran’s medical and psychological capacity to engage with the technology, and a backup communication plan must be established should the technology link fail.
The DoD’s embrace of digital resources will certainly help to solve one of its most pressing human resource problems — providing up-to-date, timely care to the nation’s military heroes.
3. “Dr. IBM Watson”
What may evolve into the “master model” healthcare app is “Harvard Health Info.” A pilot project that combines the medical and technical chops of Harvard Medical School, IBM, Anthem Blue Cross and GenieMD, the app offers patients several pillars of medical support to keep them engaged in their health care throughout the day. A symptoms checker, access to personal health records and the patient’s medical team, medication assistance and even access to IBM Watson for medical related questions are included. The app is extendable to caregivers and healthcare professionals to coordinate care across the patients’ community.
Digital Technology Is Already Ubiquitous:
Current statistics confirm that every aspect of the medical community is looking to apps and technology to reduce the cost of doing medical business and improve patient outcomes. There are already more than 97,000 health and fitness apps available online, and by 2017, as many as 50 percent of smartphone users will have downloaded at least one health care app onto their mobile devices. More than 93 percent of physicians believe that mobile apps can improve their patients’ health.
Considering the technical advancements in every aspect of the healthcare industry, how do you plan transform your solutions and ultimately your business in 2016?
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