Radiology, surgical systems shrinking, becoming more mobile, Waegemann says

Mobile healthcare clearly is booming. Just look at all the m-health conferences that are popping up around the globe. Obviously, we can't be at them all, but, fortunately, others can be.

One such event was the Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery (CARS) conference in Geneva, Switzerland, not an m-health meeting per se, but one keynoted by C. Peter Waegemann, VP of the Boston-based mHealth Initiative and, for a quarter century, leader of the now-defunct Medical Records Institute. He switched his focus from medical records to mobile health in 2009, and says the healthcare industry as a whole is headed in the same direction. "The next 25 years are going to be about restructuring radiology and surgical processes, restructuring the whole healthcare approach of clinicians, and integrating new technologies," Waegemann said at the CARS event, reports. "We are going through major change."

First and foremost, healthcare technology becoming smaller and more decentralized. "What I mean by big to small is from big expensive telemedicine systems to small mobile phone systems, to Internet systems, to low-cost systems," Waegemann said.

The shrinking of IT also means that information is getting out to more people and bringing more patients into the process of delivering care. Legacy systems simply aren't built to handle this sort of continuous communication and monitoring, and Waegemann believes "authority-centric" systems will lose out to networks of mobile devices. "We have to educate people, and we have to change the healthcare communication infrastructure in many ways as those ways come along," he said.

"We are moving toward what I would call participatory healthcare, and in the future it should be everyone from the school nurse to the chiropractor who should care for the patient and be communicating all the time," Waegemann added.

Addressing the specific audience in Geneva, Waegemann explained, "Radiologists should become active team members who discuss a case with colleagues. Radiology reports should not be the primary communication tool. Active, timely communication should replace in many ways what we have done in the past."

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