Janette Wider,
Editor

This month we are covering mobile computing with a roundtable of industry leaders. I am very impressed with the insight on how mobile computing is bettering the healthcare experience and with suggestions on training staff to be aware of the potential risks associated with mobile computing.

I know I’ve said in the past that I’m an old school millennial, meaning I can take or leave technology. But one thing I don’t like that is super typical of a millennial is waiting. Brad Brooks, CEO of Tiger Text, commented on how mobile computing is bettering the healthcare experience by saying, “For example, one area where mobile is improving the patient experience is communicating critical lab results in the hospital. Patients spend needless minutes or hours waiting for a physician to review test results and consult them on next steps. Those delays are attributed to a tedious volley of pages, phone calls, and voicemail messages between nurses, the unit secretary, the lab, and the ordering physician. The result? Anxious, frustrated patients and distracted, burned-out providers. Not an ideal combination for improving the patient experience—or outcomes or costs. A comprehensive, integrated mobile communication platform is the answer.”

I know from personal experience that waiting on test results is brutal. This is especially painful when the doctor is just seeing the results for the first time in front of you. Perhaps having an integrated mobile communication platform, like Brooks said, would be able to better prepare physicians so they’d be ready to tell you what’s going on at your appointment, rather than watch them read over the results right in front of you—which probably takes a total of a minute or two, but feels like an eternity when you’re being tested for something critical.

I’ve also discussed security numerous times in our publication, and I truly feel like staff members need to be better trained on security protocols. But Steve Baum, Vice President of Products for PatientSafe Solutions, has a perspective that I hadn’t considered before. He said, “…we all know at the front line of care, clinicians will do what is most efficient to get their work done. We believe the majority of the security burden should be on the mobile application, not on the clinical end user. The less training, the less security information that care teams need to remember, the better.”

I think Steve Baum is right. Obviously, staff members need to be trained on security protocols and have an understanding of what is safe vs. unsafe (like don’t share your passwords), but the mobile application should be safe to begin with. Clinicians have enough to worry about, like the well-being of their patients. Data security is likely one of the last things on their mind.

Greg Jones, Vice President of Technology for MobileSmith, hit the nail on the head when he said, “Mobile applications allow patients to take a more active role in their care through education, trackers, wearables, and reminders, elevating the conversation with their care team and advancing progress with increased data and analytics.”

Reading this comment reminded me of the recent news that Apple wants to put an iPad in the hands of every hospital patient. I think this is a great development, despite what I said in the past regarding avoiding technology in the healthcare field. I’m still wary, but I know I should be taking a more proactive role in my care, and utilizing technology is the way to do it—it is 2017 after all. Since I went through some medical issues myself last year, I feel more passionately about using my case to help others who are dealing with the same thing, which is where the data and analytics come into play. I’d be more than happy to track my progress through a wearable device or even enter a few comments into an app each day. I wouldn’t say I’m totally converted, but this month’s roundtable certainly made me a little more open minded.

As always, thanks for reading. I welcome your feedback at [email protected].

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