Have you had a doctor visit or used a mobile device lately? What if I told you that your next doctor visit could happen on one of your mobile devices? Now more than ever mobile technology and the virtual visit are powerful tools in healthcare delivery. According to Pete Celano, Director of Consumer Health Initiatives at Medstar, virtual visits are one of the trends pushing healthcare forward. Combined with innovation in mobile technology, virtual visits help to improve medicine by increasing the speed of communication between doctor and patient, providing convenient access to healthcare even in remote situations and connecting patients to healthcare in ways that would not be possible without mobile technology.
1. Speed in Communication
Virtual visits typically take place through “video and audio enabled [devices] that allow large amounts of data to be transmitted quickly.” While most virtual visits include video and audio, there are some who assert that “asynchronous email like messaging [an] app6 is just as good if not better than a video or audio visit because it allows the patient to communicate throughout the day instead of having to schedule time.” In any of these three scenarios, a mobile device with secure and HIPAA compliant software would be essential for success. Mobile technology does not only increase the speed of diagnosis and care during the virtual visit, but it also can enhance the hospital experience by providing patients with mobile self-service options while in the hospital.1 For example, patients can gain faster access to test results, care plans and the care team1, which can make the patients feel more empowered and involved.
2. Convenient Access to Healthcare
Would you switch doctors if it meant gaining access to a practice that provided virtual visits? According to the American Well Telehealth Index: 2017 Consumer Survey, 20 percent of consumers would switch their current primary care provider (PCP) if another PCP in their area offered telehealth visits.2 While getting to the patient’s doorstep3 is arguably a better form of healthcare, the virtual visit is as close to a home visit as some patients can get. Often, patients with chronic conditions need regular follow-up care. The follow-up care can pose a challenge if the patient is in a rural area or if mobility is an issue. These are reasons that secure mobile or cloud-based platforms are the best way to go. Virtual visits and other telehealth services can improve a patient’s quality of life by making it easier for them to see a doctor and thus, avoid emergency room visits or missed appointments.
3. Connecting Patients to Healthcare With Mobile Technology
Some patients use technology to improve their health, particularly when they have chronic conditions. Younger patients with chronic diseases can be particularly challenging to manage because they do not yet understand the need to live a healthy lifestyle. Mobile technology can help these patients stay connected with their healthcare team and better manage their illness. Particularly in younger patients, gamification and rewards contribute to keeping them engaged4in their treatment and care plans which yield better outcomes. Targeted personal messages seem to work better than general health suggestions and secure mobile integration with patient data make this kind of connection possible.
Technology has forever changed healthcare, and there is plenty of room for more innovation. Pete Celano said, “Healthcare is the greenest field today for innovators.”2
I couldn’t agree more!