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Healthcare Mobility Solutions Support mHealth, Digitization

Healthcare mobility solutions are growing as organizations seek to mobilize and digitize their health IT infrastructures.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- The healthcare mobility solutions market is expected to grow significantly, reaching up to $227 billion by 2025, according to a recent Research and Markets report.

The report credits the growing healthcare mobility solutions market to the increasing digitization of health IT infrastructure. Healthcare organizations are faced with value-based initiatives and are embracing mobile devices to assist clinicians in treating patients efficiently and effectively.

“Despite sufficient funding and insurance programs, there has been a constant increase in health expenditure in the U.S., affecting services offered by providers,” report authors stated. “To overcome this, healthcare mobility services are the best solutions, which is anticipated to propel the demand for these devices.”

mHealth applications are expected to see the most growth over the forecast period. The report suggested that this growth will be propelled by the increased adoption of mHealth apps by patients and providers, as well as the growing rate of remote care and telemedicine.

Applications that improve workforce management and operations will also grow significantly through 2025.

Late last year, Red Hat surveyed over 200 IT decision-makers from public healthcare, private healthcare, life sciences, and pharmaceutical organizations and found that 83 percent of healthcare organizations have implemented a mobile strategy. Furthermore, 78 percent said they received a positive ROI from mobile applications.

The generally positive financial outcome of healthcare mobile applications indicates a spike in future healthcare app development, with 36 percent of respondents intending to develop additional apps over the next year.

However, organizations face challenges with the budget needed to fund custom applications through their entire lifecycle. Once an app is deployed, it still needs to be monitored for any bugs and updated along with OSes to ensure it’s optimized at all times.

The Red Hat survey concluded that despite limited budgets, healthcare app development was seeing growth due to the flexibility and convenience it gives clinicians.

Earlier this year, The Mercom Capital Group released its annual funding and mergers and acquisition activity report for health IT and digital health for 2016.

The report revealed that the most significant difference in change in invested technologies in 2016 over 2015 was mobile health IT initiatives with mobile health and telehealth both nearly doubling in funding over last year.

The mobile health trend continued through the top funded health IT technologies in 2016 with healthcare mobile apps dominating with $1.29 billion in funding. Wearable sensors were a distant second with nearly $6 million. Telemedicine, mobile wireless, and remote monitoring also made the top 10 funded health IT technologies with $5.3 million, $2.3 million, and $1.3 million, respectively.

Healthcare organizations are leaning toward mobilizing parts of their health IT infrastructures as digitization continues. Internet of Things (IoT) devices are also being implemented in healthcare settings, including connected medical devices such as physiological monitors, mobile medical apps, and MRI/CT/ultrasound scanners. Organizations need to manage the actual devices, but also the applications that go along with them.

IoT devices are also in need of apps and mobile management solutions to ensure that they are accessing EHRs and PHI correctly and securely.

Complete healthcare mobility solutions also support health IT analytics initiatives by properly collecting and storing patient data for future research. Mobility solutions can also help provide a better understanding of patient conditions and environments.

Organizations can choose to manage and monitor healthcare mobile devices with enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions which typically contain mobile application management, mobile content management, and mobile device management features.

mHealth solutions need to be properly monitored and managed to ensure that the technology being used works correctly and is secure to benefit the patient.

Mobility management solutions allow healthcare organizations to modernize patient care by providing secure tools in a more convenient way that supports innovative and more interactive patient care.