mHealth success hinges on security, workflow adaptability

The key to advancing mobile health technology into mainstream patient care is closing the gap that exists between health data and care coordination by reconfiguring workflow processes related to patient care, according to IBM's Dan Pelino.

That approach requires mHealth technologies, but there are obstacles to be overcome, Pelino, who heads up IBM's business in the healthcare and life sciences industries, writes in a column published at TechCrunch

Security, privacy, data protection are top challenges, according to Pelino.

In addition, mHealth apps not only need to provide specific solutions, but must do so in a secure manner as devices and platforms, Pelino says.

"When clinical apps are designed for mobile with the clinician and patient user experience in mind, mobile will deliver even greater value to our medical system," he says. "It will put the patient at the center of the system's mobile strategy--enabling users to efficiently share information among a patient's entire care team and to apply advanced analytics at the point of care."

Pelino stresses that revamping mHealth-processes and workflow to tap devices such as smartphones and tablets requires a highly secured network and ensuring data is stored in secure and private cloud systems that only provide access to authorized users.

Data security and patient privacy are top issues facing everyone in the mHealth landscape, with regulators assessing the need for more rules and oversight, lawmakers calling on vendors to tighten data sharing practices and physicians citing the two issues as reasons for not embracing mHealth technology. A recent study cites the healthcare sector as the most immature industry in terms of personal mobile device security, endpoint compliance discovery and remediation.

Pelino also says there are challenges in designing "job and role-specific apps" that can put data into providers' hands to enhance decision-making. 

"As our health system transforms to be more patient-centered, evidence-based and effective, mobile technology has been conspicuously absent from daily healthcare workflow," he says. "But if we truly envision a future in which patients are at the center of our health system, it's time for that to change."

To learn more:
- read the TechCrunch post

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