How physicians should embrace mobile device use

There are many reasons physicians should embrace mobile devices in their workday, from sharing and accessing data to real-time communications and fostering telehealth initiatives, according to John Smithwick, CEO of Nashville, Tennessee-based patient engagement and care-coordination platform company RoundingWell.

Smithwick, writing for Managed Healthcare Executive, says patients and consumers now expect instant communication, but adds that it's important that such efforts protects users' data and privacy.

"By deploying patient engagement technology, clinicians and patients can use mobile devices for secure, ongoing, two-way conversations that are more aligned with modern communication," Smithwick says, noting the ability for ongoing discussion helps eliminate barriers between caregivers and patients.

He also says that establishing ongoing communication can lead to earlier identification of adverse health events, and ultimately lower readmission rates.

"Have a diabetes patient who has just been discharged from the hospital after a life-threatening rise in blood sugar? Serve them with content that includes one low glycemic recipe a day," he says. "By using content to engage patients on a regular basis, clinicians can help proactively prevent readmissions and earn the trust of patients."

A recent study, for instance, reveals mHealth tools can boost adherence to medication by chronic heart condition patients. And in Africa, a mobile health point-of-care triage effort incorporating smartphones is helping foster quicker diagnosis of potentially deadly disease and illnesses and helping stem the number of children who die from various illnesses such as meningitis and pneumonia.

What's more, nurses also increasingly are using mobile devices as part of patient care strategies. A majority of nurses who responded to a recent survey say they are using their own tablets, mobile phones and other similar tools daily at work, for both communicating with care team members and sharing data relating to patient updates, tests, treatment and traditional vital sign monitoring.

For more information:
- read Smithwick's article