- Healthcare organizations are gaining mobility as they continue to embrace advanced IT infrastructure technology. However, many entities still struggle with mobile strategy and how to best manage and use mobile technology in the face of value-based care.
Red Hat Director of Healthcare Craig Klein has observed healthcare mobile trends that organizations need to be aware of and what they should consider when looking to deploy mobile strategies.
“In healthcare, a lot of things are done in a lot of different settings; it’s not a fixed setting,” Klein explained to HITInfrastructure.com. “Although the hospitals and doctor's offices are fixed, organizations need to be able to take advantage of the information available and capture the information where the patients are.”
“What’s always been a stagnant setting is now mobile,” he continued. “Being able to bring the information there really takes the information to the next level which is needed to drive new payment models. Without success in a mobile environment it will be very difficult to be able to comply and get paid on what doctors are doing and be able to show outcomes.”
Mobile strategy is significantly impacted by value-based care because mobility allows many different systems to connect and share data.
“Value-based care has a lot of different reporting requirements and to succeed, organizations have a lot of things that need to be connected. Interoperability is one of the most difficult things to do in healthcare,” Klein stated.
“We're seeing more and more need to connect as organizations realize it's the only way they're going to be able to make sure all elements function currently in a value-based care environment is going to be to connect everything.”
Entities are looking for mobile tools to improve workflow and for mobile technology to benefit clinicians as well as patients.
“Healthcare organizations are looking to modernize what they're doing in their infrastructure,” said Klein. “They're also looking at how to make themselves more agile. Looking at all the changes that have happened that are happening in healthcare, organizations need to figure out a way to be able to stay as flexible as they possibly can.”
Organizations can also use mobile strategy to become more efficient which often results in cutting back costs. Klein suggested that the consumerization in healthcare is a good fit for mobility.
“Look at how physicians and nurses capture information and bring the information back in,” Klein explained. “If you have patients that want to be involved in their healthcare and be able to keep themselves healthier, a lot of these technologies revolve around mobile and the ability to have this information at someone's fingertips. That's a big upside in mobile and we're seeing a lot of adoption in the patient facing space.”
Klein added that the close ties between mobility and value-based care stem from capturing data that is being collected throughout the entire organization.
“Value-based care concerns many different payment contracts,” Klein noted. “These payments models are looking for information and this information for the most part doesn't exist in healthcare. Organizations are charged to find ways to capture that data and the data that’s being captured is happening everywhere.”
Entities need to determine outcomes and capture the data that is being produced all over the network. The only type of technology capable of effectively capturing all that data is mobile, according to Klein.
“More data can be used to determine outcomes and be able to drive these contracts so organizations can make more money,” he pointed out. “Mobile is a critical piece that allows organizations to make additional money, be able to have success with these contracts, and manage populations.”
Mobility is a critical part of health IT infrastructure, but entities still struggle with deploying a successful mobile strategy. Many organizations are still thinking backward when it comes to what’s most important in mobile deployments.
“Healthcare mobility is very line of business driven,” said Klein. “Someone wants to have a pretty app so they've built the front end to make it look good. The problem is, if it was done by a line of business people, it's not really integrated well into the backend systems.”
As a result, organizations deploy multiple applications that are not connected, he explained. Entities need to be fully integrated into backend systems to take advantage of these apps and use them to their full capacity for value-based care.
Organizations also need an architecture that includes a VPN and complex event processing to be fully integrated into the backend. This can also ensure the data is going to the correct place and can be used to make decisions.
“The decision-making process and tying it into the back end are things that aren’t always thought about,” said Klein. There are organizations that are disorganized. Their apps may look pretty, but none of them tie together.”
“The most important thing to make mobile work in healthcare is tying everything together in the backend,” he continued. “The pretty interface on the front end is the easy part. Organizations are going after it backwards because it was always an added tool but now it's a critical piece to have to get paid properly.”
Healthcare organizations are looking for deployment methodologies to develop fully integrated apps to fully leverage mobile technology for value-based care.
“Entities need platforms to build on,” Klein stated. “They need something that they don’t need to think about; a platform that is automatically integrated into the back end that they can develop on time and time again.”
This means that organizations need to look closely at their technology infrastructure rather than individual app developments.
Klein advised that entities looking to embrace mobility for value-based care need a solid mobile strategy. Building one-off apps then trying to implement a long term mobile strategy can cause problems when the already developed apps need to be integrated into the back end.
“It's about planning, knowing, trying to figure out what the goal is and develop to it,” Klein advised. “It’s also about making sure the technology can get there.”
“Don't just look at what has been done in the past. Look at a technology that's broader, rather than just point to something that’s been used in the past. It's about sitting down and taking the time to do it right.”