mHealth moves to accountable care, not just tech, experts say

A change in the culture of healthcare, particularly with regard to reimbursement, will be a major factor in the success of mobile healthcare in care coordination going forward, according to panelists who participated in FierceMobileHealthcare's executive breakfast Dec. 6--"Powering the Care Models of Tomorrow: mHealth's Pivotal Role in Care Coordination & Accountable Care"--at the mHealth Summit in Washington, D.C.

Audie Atienza, senior health technology advisor at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, said mHealth has become less about "cool and new" technology and more about the solutions.

"We're at the beginning of learning how mobile care can intersect with accountable care," he said. "[Mobile healthcare] has great potential, but there are a lot of moving parts," he added.

Specifically, West Wireless Health Institute Chief Strategy Officer Mohit Kaushal said mHealth's success in both care coordination and accountable care won't be only a simple cause and effect but a gradual shift over time. According to Kaushal, the problem with the system now is that we pay for volume.

"It needs to be about pushing the right information at the right time," he said.

A case in point is the mCare program developed for soldiers. According to Atienza, caregivers and sergeants, in addition to doctors, receive alerts about patients, but not all at once. Rather, if a problem escalates, information goes to various parties as necessary. "It's a more holistic view of care," he said.

From a hospital and a technology perspective, device agnostic mobile systems will help to provide such care, Virginia-based Inova Health System Director of Telemedicine Operations Steven Dean said. As more disparate parties are involved, interoperability for each provider or caregiver becomes more and more crucial to accountability.

"We're not there yet," Dean said. "Hopefully when it's all said and done, we will be."

For more:
- watch a video of the event

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