The case for mobility in healthcare is not new. We have been talking about it for a while. What new developments are happening in this area? Is technology adoption a problem or is it a resource/funding issue?
Healthcare mobility solutions are witnessing significant growth driven by the advantages they offer. Some key developments that have a symbiotic relationship with mobility in healthcare include:
- Growing access technology speeds: Both wide area network and wireless local area network technologies are ushering in higher data speeds. This is enabling rich data exchange, including patient care information over mobile platforms such as enterprise tablets, enterprise mobile computers and smart phones.
- Consumerisation of IT: Healthcare practitioners and patients are increasingly bringing their personal devices into the corporate network and expecting corporate networks to support them.
This Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is exerting pressure on healthcare IT. This is also conducive for the increased adoption of mobile devices in healthcare for streamlining various processes.
- Electronic Healthcare Records: The push towards adoption of national health records in many countries is an enabler of mobility in healthcare. In fact, most EHR providers and healthcare application developers are looking at leveraging mobile devices to run healthcare applications.
- Healthcare Ecosystem development: With increasing proliferation of mobile devices and with the move towards electronic health records, new opportunities are emerging in the area of healthcare application development. Governments are also encouraging the development healthcare ecosystem. A good example is the joint two-year programme between Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (iDA) and Motorola Solutions under the iLIUP programme started in 2011.
- Mobility as enabler: Healthcare mobility is fast gaining recognition as a panacea for improving the quality of care, to catalyse the delivery of standards based healthcare, to effectively reduce medical errors, to drive down healthcare cost, to improve the efficiency of care-givers, to deliver better patient experience, and to deliver healthcare services to remote geographies.
- Government regulation: Regulatory policies play a significant role too. Initiatives such as national health records that are critical to facilitating seamless exchange of patient information across the continuum of healthcare require governmental support. Such mandates also provide immense opportunities for healthcare mobility solutions, to facilitate better and consistent point of care.
Asia Pacific presents a diverse mix of markets, with different countries being at different stages of technology and economic advancement. As a result, the impact of the aforementioned developments and mobility trends in countries vary across the region. Developed nations typically are focused on improving the quality of patient care. They are looking to reduce waiting time, improve patient experience, enable mobile point of care and improve productivity and efficiency. Developing nations on the other hand are keen on technologies and solutions that are cost effective and cover a large portion of their population. Maximising returns on investment in the shortest possible time remains their priority.
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