Panel: mHealth link to clinical workflow still lacking

Doctors need to find a way to integrate mobile devices and the data they provide into clinical care, according to a panel last week at the Information Management Networks' Hospital Cloud Forum as reported by an article in eWeek.

Mobile devices connected to the cloud will be important in linking patient data with physicians' workflows, stated panelist Dr. Steven J. Davidson, senior vice president and chief medical informatics officer of Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

"I'd like to offer a vision as a longtime clinician that has talked to lots of patients over the years that the cloud is where patients and physicians are going to meet," Davidson said.

By allowing doctors to access virtualized services on mobile devices, the healthcare industry will be able to reduce readmissions or avoid admissions from the start, said Matthew Taylor, senior information and communications technology strategist and architect for Intel.

Nevertheless, John Moore, an analyst at Chilmark Research and moderator of the panel, noted that electronic health record adoption is still the first priority in healthcare before getting doctors to use tablets such as the iPad. Concerns about privacy and data breaches as well as adherence to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act weigh on doctors as they incorporate mobility into their practices, Moore said.

The ability for doctors to validate data coming from mobile monitoring devices will be an important consideration in incorporating them into clinical care, he added.

Likewise, Keith Toussaint, executive director of business development for global business solutions at the Mayo Clinic, said that it's been difficult for health organizations to understand how to connect mobile devices to clinical care.

"The gap is significant in regard to the large population of patients who are finding a way to seamlessly integrate data coming out of the mHealth experience into clinical care, and that's one of the things we're attacking directly," Toussaint said. "If we get to the point where we're able to marry the applications with effective biometric data capture that is well integrated with clinical workflow, that could change the story, but we're not there yet."

Still, in a recent survey, nearly three-fourths of healthcare providers said that tablets improve their workflow. The survey consisted of 152 healthcare respondents who use tablets on a regular basis, as well as tablet users in other fields, such as business, higher education and state and local government.

Overall, 84 percent of tablet users say the devices make them better at multi-tasking, and 91 percent feel the platforms improve their ability to access information from anywhere. According to the article, doctors who own tablets use them daily for more than two hours, which amounts to 26 percent of their total computing time. As a result, they say they gain 1.1 hours in productivity each day.

To learn more:
- read the eWeek article