Trends in mHealth adoption

  May 16, 2013 8:18:55 AM

mHealth which translates to mobile devices driven Healthcare delivery is already the next big wave amongst all the major stakeholders in the Healthcare ecosystem – Providers and Pharma/Lifesciences organizations. Providers include care givers like doctors, nurses, paramedical staff and other players that aid in healthcare delivery like EMR/EHR system vendors, medical device equipment manufacturers. How is mHealth being adopted by these stakeholders – in what form and what is the impact ? In the first part of this blog, we will attempt to seek answers to these questions by analysing some of the major trends in mHealth.

  • mHealth Trend 1 : Improving efficiency – In the Healthcare Provider space, physicians and nurses are constantly challenged with increased patient volumes and the need to document their encounters with the patient, which is in turn driven by Healthcare regulatory reforms since Obama-care came into vogue since 2008. The EHRs/EMRs that are desktop based, thick client-server based applications that are still very commonly used across several hospitals/clinics have been designed back in the late ‘90s and rapidly implemented using languages like Visual Basic, Delphi which built cluttered user interfaces and difficult to navigate UI screens. mHealth is being adopted here to reduce the pain out of the physician and nursing documentation – a thorough usability revamp and user experience improvement have enabled these stakeholders to focus on care, than remember to fill forms.

In the Pharma/Lifesciences space, the typical drug development lifecycle spans from drug discovery to clinical trials to regulatory approval to market launch and finally ensuring drug safety, or pharmacovigilance. Clinical trials are hugely challenging – they are very time intensive, span large geographies and more importantly are subject to scrutiny by regulatory agencies and approvals, not to speak of finding an appropriate number of volunteers willing to participate in the trial. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinical_trial#Phases for more details.

IT usage in clinical trials is mainly in the form of EDC (Electronic Data capture) for recording and analysing data related to drug usage by volunteers, “eDiary” applications to collect Patient Reported Outcome (PRO) measures. These applications are moving towards mobile platforms which enable ease of data capture. In addition, the process of volunteer enrolment – screening, consent are also prime areas of mHealth adoption which increases efficiencies and eventually expedite the drug development lifecycle.

In the next part of our series, we will continue to analyse the other trends in mHealth …. watch this space.

Authored by: Arun Venkataraman

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