Mobile healthcare's role in Meaningful Use continues to mature

The role of mobile healthcare in Meaningful Use continues to grow and mature, and likely will be prominent in Stage 3 efforts, according to Joseph Kvedar, M.D., director of the Boston-based Partners Center for Connected Health, who spoke last week on FierceHealthIT's most recent webinar, "mHealth's Impact on the Future of Meaningful Use."

At present, Kvedar (right) said, the connection between mHealth and Meaningful Use isn't well established--but he anticipates government regulations will change that.

"In Stage 3 … we've got medical device interoperability and patient reported outcomes," Kvedar said. "I could argue very strongly that patient reported outcomes are ideally done on mobile devices because they're always on, always with you and always connected. If you have an outcome to report, you can do so in the moment either by text message or a mobile app."

Kvedar added that the push for electronic messaging between patients and providers called for in Stage 2 is an opportunity for organizations to use mobile technology in their Meaningful Use efforts.

"[There's] no reason in the world [patient-provider messaging] couldn't be done on mobile devices," Kvedar said. "It would be more powerful for both parties involved. Same thing really with online record access, but the secure messaging part is really a robust use case for moving into mobile."

Ted Eytan, M.D., director of Kaiser's Permanente Federation, who also spoke on the webinar, referenced a study showing the benefits of EHR use when coupled with electronic patient-provider messaging. The study, published in Health Affairs, found that blood pressure control improved significantly with the use of secure patient-physician email.

According to Eytan (left), such messaging today is even easier with the constant maturation of mobile technology and also helps the organization engage patients in their own healthcare data--another cornerstone of Meaningful Use.

"The [patient-provider] relationship, which is so important to us, is deeper because of mobile," Eytan said. "As of August 2012, 17 percent of all the access [to our online portal] is now happening via mobile devices."

That trend, as well as mobile enabled monitoring devices such as scales and blood pressure cuffs, and technology such as barcode scanners, are helping to redefine traditional care. 

"The days when it made sense to go to the doctor's office to monitor your blood pressure twice a year are over," he said." The payment models that are changing and the Meaningful Use requirements are enabling us not only to have these things out there, but to integrate them in care and make them a reality."

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