Why it's time to start building the mobile healthcare roadmap

The increasing use of mobile devices and the growing number of aging adults requiring medical treatment are compelling reasons to start constructing the mHealth roadmap and move past the planning and strategy phase, says a healthcare payer executive.

"We are reaching a unique and crucial point of convergence in this country and opportunities and timing are ripe for mobile health," writes Tom Barnett, VP, Health Information Technology for NorthShore University HealthSystem, in an article posted on the HIMSS website.

"As a result, mHealth is hitting its growth phase at the same time the healthcare industry is grappling with how to move from volume-based to value-based care funding models," he explained.

The news comes as development of a mHIMSS Roadmap model, crafted by the HIMSS mHealth community, continues to evolve. The strategic guideline debuted in 2012 and has undergone tweaking and updating with more changes expected later this year.

The goal is providing direction for providers in implementing mobile and wireless technologies as regulatory issues come into play and as more apps and devices are being developed. The number of organizations that offer patients and consumers mobile apps increased 13 percent in the last year, according to the results of the 3rd Annual HIMSS Analytics Mobile Survey.

"There are practices that can be leveraged from existing concepts like how pharmaceuticals are prescribed and how biomedical devices are integrated," writes Barrett. He believes a good mobile health strategy should consider device integration, data standards, data integration into the EMR system, physician workflow and usefulness as well as app usability by the patient.

"In short, there needs to be a practical use case with which to start and it always starts with either the patient or the physician," he writes.

No matter where it starts, or which digital pathway is taken, it's time to move forward, says the healthcare IT leader.

"Do you create a flexible strategy and then implement pilot projects within the framework? Or do you make one 'digital pathway' work from patient back to the EMR as a proof of concept? We all have a lot of work ahead of us. Now it's time to roll up our sleeves and get down to it," Barrett writes.

For more information:
- read the article at HIMSS

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