The increasing capabilities delivered by mobile solutions are causing health care organizations to evaluate the role of mobility in their organization and their interactions with medical professionals and patients. Organizations are not only aligning their mobile initiatives with their overall strategies but they are also evaluating whether they have the necessary resources to develop mobile health care solutions internally or whether they need to look for outside help. As the adoption of mobile health care solutions accelerates, some of the primary questions health care organizations must answer include who they would like to target with their mobile applications (i.e. health care professionals or the patients), what kind of capabilities they would like their solutions to have, and what types of problems they envision solving.
Based on our end-user questionnaire that we fielded in Q2 2011, the primary business initiatives that impact mobile computing solution investments include improvements in process efficiencies and customer service and satisfaction. Given the busy work schedules of physicians, clinicians and nurses, they not only would like to access the necessary information/ records anytime anywhere but they would also like to be able to have portable mobile devices that allow data input at the bedside. For the past couple of years CIOs and IT departments at health care organizations have been struggling with health care professionals bringing their preferred devices to work and asking for support. Demand for robust mobile security solutions continues to rise, and the numerous regulatory issues that impact the health care industry make ensuring the safety of patient records critical. While the BYOD trend has been picking up fast in other industries, more and more health care organizations are implementing mobile policies to gain visibility and control over costs, compliance, and the operational impact of their mobile assets.
Likewise, organizations see an opportunity in adopting next generation mobile solutions as they believe that they will offer them a competitive advantage in attracting the best physicians and nurses. Thus, the availability of patient-facing mobile applications is helping organizations to improve their customer service capabilities, as patients are eager to use tools that will allow them to enter and track their key health information and have their health care provider alerted should conditions that require immediate attention arise. Additionally, many health care organizations (such as Mayo Clinic and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center) are extending their existing web sites and/or newsletter to enhance communications among their patient community. The capabilities of mobile applications have grown from tracking closest ER locations and wait times into allowing remote access to patient care, recording vital health care information and providing access to reference information all of which are speeding care delivery to patients. We see evidence that solution providers such as WebMD, Allscripts, Epic Systems and Epocrates are gaining traction with their mobile solutions both among patients and medical professionals.
Health care organizations are hoping to reach more patients and consumers while building awareness for conditions that could affect their health with mobility solutions. By investing in mobility solutions to improve customer service and satisfaction, health care organizations are hoping to engender loyalty, increase efficiencies and realize bottom line improvements. VDC believes that the increase in patient-health care professional communication and collaboration among health care providers can help in reaching these goals since demand for timely and high quality health care is on the rise.
More information on the developments in mobile health care solutions can be found in our EMOB 2011 Health Care Vertical Market Report that will be published next week.