The statistics on consumer mobile healthcare engagement are staggering and portend great potential:
- There are 320 million mobile phones in use today.
- There are 50 million smartphones.
- Smartphone traffic is expected to increase 144% from 2010 to 2015.
- Tablet traffic is increasing 216% in the same period.
- 78% of consumers are interested in healthcare apps.
- 90% of consumers ages 50 and older said they would adopt mobile health if it enabled them to live longer in their own home.
The data surrounding clinician mobile healthcare engagement also show the extent of the upward trend:80% of physicians use smartphones and medical apps. 40% of doctors believe that mobile apps can reduce the number of times they have to travel to the hospital. 88% of physicians would like their patients to use mobile technology to monitor their health at home. Doctors are 250% more likely than consumers to use smartphones. 56% of physicians who use mobile devices say the devices expedite decisionmaking, and 40% say they decrease the time they spend on administration.
A growing body of evidence supports the business case for mobile healthcare:More than 10,000 medical apps are available in iTunes. There are in excess of 1,900 mobile health-related businesses. There will be more than 1,000,000 health-connected devices by 2015. Mobile technology, as demonstrated in airlines and banking, can lower administrative costs by 95%, and can improve customers' experience by 200% to 400%.Costs related to data collection can be reduced by 24%.Payers are beginning to pay for mobile-related visits. The mobile health industry in the U.S. was worth $1.9 billion in 2011 and is expected to reach $4.6 billion in 2014.
Finally, support is growing for the clinical reach and efficacy of mobile healthcare:An estimated 25% of chronic disease patients participate in an online affinity group. 11% of Americans have a mobile health app. Remote monitoring utilization is doubling each year. Diabetes care studies showed a sustained drop in A1c when using mobile health. Costs in elderly care can be reduced by 25%.Maternal and perinatal mortality can be reduced by 30%.Twice as many rural patients can be reached per doctor. Tuberculosis treatment compliance can be improved by 30% to 70%.
Most healthcare provider organizations have yet to capitalize on this technological revolution. We are seeing some progress, but not enough. Does your CIO still use a laptop or PC? Is mobile health embedded in your strategic plan? This may be the first time that consumers and clinicians have outstripped our ability to support the demand.
Drive mobile computing in, or lose pace with and squander an opportunity to more effectively connect with patients and clinicians. No institution can afford to fall behind, especially as we navigate the new highways built by healthcare reform (think medical homes, value-based purchasing, accountable care, pay for performance, meaningful-use, population management—the list goes on).
Mobile health provides a platform through which we can influence quality of care, patient safety and financial results. Do you want to reduce costs while increasing quality? Do you want to stay on the road to profitability? Then leverage mobile for improved outcomes.
Chief information officer Texas Health Resources Arlington, Texas