Healthcare News & Insights

How to Incorporate Real-Time Technology Into Your Health Organization

gettyimages-489959662Today, doctor-patient communication is infrequent and asynchronous. Most people have one conversation with their doctors per year, and the average Millennial consults even less frequently. To provide quality care, doctors need better and more frequent patient medical data. In this guest post, Derek Frome, director of product marketing and content at a HIPAA-compliant data stream network, offers new ways to connect with patients. 

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When I suffered from asthma this summer, my doctor tested my lung function, prescribed a few medications, gave me a follow-up appointment for three months down the road and sent me home.

Since then, it’s been radio silence.

That made me wonder: How does my doctor know I’m OK or that my medications are doing the trick? And, in the age of connectivity, why would I wait three months to tell my doctor whether the treatment worked?

Better patient experience

Now, patients are turning to online resources for medical advice rather than consulting actual physicians. And many consumers are utilizing fitness-tracking devices and programs to improve their health instead of reaching out to their doctors.

So what do healthcare organizations need to do to get the doctor-patient relationship back on track?

The key is reaching patients where they are and communicating with them in the ways they prefer, which is why mobile healthcare apps are just what the doctor ordered.

Mobile apps allow patients to communicate with physicians whenever and wherever it’s necessary. Instead of playing phone tag or ignoring health concerns because they can’t make time for an appointment, patients can simply chat with a doctor through a mobile messaging app. For their part, physicians can use an app to send patients reminders about tests, appointments and medications that could significantly increase treatment compliance.

Mobile apps enable doctors to gather more data about patients’ health than ever before. With real-time technologies, doctors can monitor patients on an ongoing basis, share health metrics and even prevent health emergencies.

The technology has quickly become popular among patients and healthcare providers and health insurance professionals. Ginger.io, for instance, allows patients to connect with therapists for live video chats, while Glooko helps diabetes patients log metrics to keep their family and care teams updated. Jiff aggregates information from many of these apps into a single platform to connect employees with their health benefits.

Integrate into your facility

To integrate real-time healthcare apps into your organization’s communication infrastructure:

  1. Decide which benefits to focus on.Evaluate where apps could be used to strengthen your organization. Do you want to improve communication between doctors and patients? Would your patients benefit from regularly monitoring health stats? Or is drug compliance your organization’s focal point?
    Wake Forest Baptist Health chose the MobileSmith customizable app for its Comprehensive Cancer Center. The app provides patients with the tools they need to navigate the facility, connect with other cancer patients, try on virtual wigs and more.
  1. Find HIPAA-compliant solutions.Any app, program or technology your organization employs must comply with HIPAA rules on data security. Selecting an application that doesn’t protect your patients’ information creates unnecessary liabilities. So if it doesn’t meet HIPAA standards, don’t waste your time and money.
  1. Prioritize ease of implementation, but beware of all-in-one solutions.The intersection of healthcare and technology is changing rapidly. Today’s top apps might not even be contenders three years from now. To avoid going all in on a short-lived system, make sure the solution you choose is easy to use and works across popular operating systems like iOS and Android.

And watch out for companies that overhype their products’ capabilities. In the past year, a number of app developers – like UltimEyes, Mole Detective and MelApp – have been reprimanded by the Federal Trade Commission for misleading consumers.

With more and more patients skipping regular check-ups, it’s time to connect with patients in new ways. So if you want to rebuild your organization’s doctor-patient relationships, just remember – there’s an app for that.

Derek Frome is director of product marketing and content at PubNub, a HIPAA-compliant data stream network for real-time applications. PubNub enables customers to build, scale and manage real-time functionality for web and mobile applications and IoT devices.

 

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