3 things CMOs should consider before taking mHealth "plunge"

Seven years ago, Nashville-based Vanguard Health Systems (VHS) "dipped its toes into the mHealth waters" by implementing mobile patient monitoring in labor and delivery. Now, the healthcare provider is exploring the integration of mobility "across the care continuum," according to an article by Dr. Mark Montoney, VHS' executive vice president and chief medical officer.

"To my fellow CMOs: while you should look carefully before leaping into mobility, the sea change in healthcare to value-base models increasingly means that mobility is no longer an accessory, but is rapidly becoming a must-have," wrote Montoney in mHealth News. "We believe that mobility can strengthen our ability to deliver state-of-the-art, clinically-coordinated, integrated and evidence-based care. We believe an mHealth strategy focused on outcomes and population health can support the shift to value-based care."

For those organizations considering "taking the plunge" into mHealth, Montoney recommends that they:

  • Examine how your mobility strategy would interface with other technologies enterprise-wide, especially in a multi-market system with several EHR vendors. Mobile technology should enable effective interaction across all systems.
  • Build a patient-centric mobile strategy. Mobile solutions should be adoptable and meet the workflow demands of the busy clinician. But it's not all about physician convenience. A user-friendly experience that complements clinical workflow helps ensure clinicians are using their mobile tools most effectively. When building a mobile strategy, keep in mind the ultimate goal is to improve patient care.
  • Thoroughly understand your process of care and specific pain points. In other words, don't buy a technology solution and then try to adopt it, because it looks cool or sounds good. 

In the case of VHS' use of mobile patient monitoring in labor and delivery, Montoney concluded that mHealth enabled safer and more effective maternal-fetal care well-received by physicians. Moreover, he found that in a number of cases, obstetricians are using mobile devices to intervene successfully in a patient's care from remote locations.

"Following this experience, we started to move toward mobilizing our cardiology service line in this same market," wrote Montoney. "When treating patients with cardiac disease--whether it is chest pain, acute MI or congestive heart failure--time is of the essence. Enabling our physicians with mobile access to minute-by-minute information improves their care processes and ability to effectively treat patients."

In related news, Alegent Creighton Health, headquartered in Omaha, Neb.--which boasts 11 acute care hospitals throughout the Cornhusker State and Iowa--was the first implementation in the Midwest of AirStrip OB, a mobile patient monitoring solution for women in labor. The OB system, developed by San-Antonio-based AirStrip Technologies, captures vital patient waveform data, including fetal heart tracing and maternal contraction patterns, in "virtual real time" and sends it to a physician's mobile device.

To learn more:
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