Research review finds mHealth tools increase physician workload, disrupt workflow

Mobile health tools have the ability to empower patients and providers. However, increased workload and disturbed workflow are seen are barriers to use, according to a new research paper published in Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA).

Providers often also fear that costs--from device purchases to long-term technology platform deployment and management--could be major headaches, the report says.

The paper looks into research reports and studies relating to mHealth. The authors, from CHU de Québec Research Center in Quebec City, Canada, note that while such technology is viewed as something that can reach anyone in any place and at any time, that ability isn't considered a win-win benefit. 

"While the findings of our review support this general idea, it was not necessarily seen as a benefit," they say. "Professionals in fact expressed the belief that mHealth brought quicker contact and communication and improved their access to colleagues, which could constitute benefits. Conversely, the increased workload and the disturbed workflow by colleagues were seen as barriers to their adoption of mHealth."

The research review is the latest to show that barriers to mobile healthcare must be overcome for the technology to reach its full potential. As Withings CEO and Co-Founder Cedric Hutchings said in an interview last month, greater evidence is needed on how patient engagements can lead to better health outcomes.

In addition, a recent Commonweath Fund research report notes digital technology is in the early stages when it comes to "safety net" deployments, yet such tools pose tremendous promise and potential in engaging patients in healthcare management. That report also notes key factors for strong adoption include technical support for integration and device management.

The JAMIA study notes that top adoption factors include interoperability and technology familiarity, as well as training and tech support by management. The authors also point out that healthcare workers believe mHealth helps patients gain better personal health knowledge and that the relationship between healthcare providers improves with mHealth technology use.

For more information:
- read the study

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